Our mission at SAW is to foster conversations about this thing we all love (or love to hate): film/TV. Many of our features are designed with you in mind. Your opinions, to be more to the point. You have ’em. We want to hear ’em.
Question of the Day (QOTD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a film/TV-related question that we put to you, the reader. The comments section below is like the feedback box at work; except, in this example, we actually read what you write and care about what you have to say.
It’s a quintessential nerd question right up there with Who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman?
Is Star Wars sci-fi?
Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe.
Categories are useful. We couldn’t survive without categories. But categories can be limiting. A thing that fits into one category may also fit into another. Hell, it may fit into several others. You see this with genre fiction all the time, and I think it’s the case with Star Wars. Is it science fiction in the same way that 2001: A Space Odyssey is? No. But neither is Blade Runner or Mad Max. But if you look either of those films up on Letterboxd, you’ll find science fiction listed as one of a few genres that they belong to.
I’ve heard people describe Star Wars as a fantasy set in space. Okay. I don’t disagree with that description. But the science in the Star Wars franchise is not entirely incidental. In fact, technology as a theme is examined through Anakin/Vader, General Grievous, and the dichotomy between the primitive Ewoks and the technologically advanced Empire. Star Wars is not Asimovian in its approach to science fiction, but to deny that it doesn’t belong to the genre at all is to be a bit too precious about the genre.
So is Star Wars science fiction? I think it is, but I also think the question is pedantic. Hell, even George Lucas seems unsure what’s science fiction and what’s woo woo mysticism in the Star Wars universe. He famously caught hell from fans when he tried to explain the Force as some kind of genetic mutation in The Phantom Menace.
But enough about what George Lucas and I think about it. What do you think? Is Star Wars sci-fi? Tell us why or why not in the comments!