This past weekend I rewatched the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. I had not watched it since I was probably six years old, and watching it got me so excited for the release of the live action film in March. What really blew my mind, however, is that Beauty and the Beast is a Star Wars movie.
Okay, in the strictest of senses it might not be a Star Wars film. There is no Force, lightsabers, X-Wings, etc. But the themes and ideas in both the galaxy far, far away and 18th century France are extremely similar.
First and foremost is the theme of love. In Beauty and the Beast, love manifest in the relationship between Belle and the Prince turned Beast. Belle’s love for Beast runs so deep that she goes back, in the midst of an attack by the villagers, to save the Beast. Much like Luke going into the bowels of the second Death Star to save Anakin.
I also could not help but think about Rey and Kylo Ren, especially with the recent news of starwars.com speaking of their “strange connection.” Is it possible that Rey, like Belle, could be the one to pull the Prince out from inside the Beast? Despite the anti-Reylo shippers, it is hard to argue that it would not fit in with the love theme prevalent throughout Star Wars.
Love is not the only thing that links these films, though. Sacrifice is essential to both tales as well. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle sacrifices her freedom in exchange for her father’s life. This is much the same as Obi-Wan giving his life for Luke, Han, and Leia to escape the Death Star. Or the Rogue One team all martyring themselves for the larger Rebellion. Or Darth Vader sacrificing himself for his son.
There are many other things that link these films, from strong female characters to the need to build your own family to the music. One could go on for days. However the number of links is not as important as the fact that there are links, because the fact that there are links shows the brilliance of George Lucas as a storyteller.
Lucas brought together so many great themes and ideas that have been present throughout storytelling for generations. The Greeks spoke of these same ideas. Shakespeare spoke of these same ideas. Chaucer, Langston Hughes, J.K. Rowling and almost every writer and creator to ever tell stories has spoken of these same themes.
What makes Star Wars so special then? Why has it lasted now for 40 years when other stories have faded away?
The bottom line is that Lucas was able to bring together the most important themes and ideas of humanity under one roof. But more than that, he was able to make it so flexible and pliable that anyone, and in fact everyone, can see him or herself in the stories. Whether your Han or Luke, Leia or Rey, R2-D2 or Ugnaught number three, everyone has a place in the Star Wars galaxy. And that is something we all can relate to…