This post was originally published by In A Far Away Galaxy.
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What do the names of the Star Wars movies mean?
Call us ‘Captain Obvious’ but we thought it might be fun to explain the names or titles of the Star Wars saga films.
Just in case you missed a trick…
For many, the first sequel was fairly confusing as to its interpretation…
The Phantom Menace
Using his cunning, he manipulated various parties into the blockade action against the planet of Naboo. While it was a real blockade, it was a ‘phantom’ menace in that Sidious was using it as a means to an even greater end.
That end, of course, is to strengthen his political position as part of his plan to build an Empire.
Another way to look at it is that he himself is the Phantom Menace in that he’s part of a ‘whispers and shadows’ campaign.
He’s a cloaked figure to many parties after all and his true identity is unknown. He is thus a phantom…
Attack of the Clones
The Clone War was a further step in Sidious’s path to greater power.
Revenge of the Sith
It’s totally on the agenda.
The destruction of the Jedi via Order 66 serves as an act of literal visceral revenge by bringing the Sith back into control of the galaxy as they had once before.
Fact fact: Return of the Jedi was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi so Revenge of the Sith was an opportunity to get that theme back on the agenda.
A New Hope
Originally Star Wars was just known simply as that.
In terms of the title’s meaning, the new hope for the galaxy is clearly Luke Skywalker.
After all the troubles that befell Anakin, Obi-Wan sees Luke as the new hope in response to Vader and the Emperor taking over the Galaxy.
The new hope being the one who will bring balance to the Force. Obi Wan was however wrong on that point and Anakin was actually the Chosen One.
Given the ending of Rogue One, ‘hope’ can also refer to that which came from Princess Leia receiving the Death Star plans.
The Empire Strikes Back
After the Rebels destroyed the Death Star I, the Empire had hunted high and low around the galaxy and in finding them, they turned up the heat! Han Solo being frozen in carbonite found it cold however – it did serve as an example of the Empire winning back some ground against the Rebels.
Vader taking Luke’s arm is a physical manifestation of the Empire ‘striking back‘ too. The psychological effects on Luke must have been quite indelible on him – given how close he was turning to the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi.
Return of the Jedi
You could be forgiven for thinking of Luke as being the Jedi who returned but you would be wrong.
So, it’s impossible for Luke to be ‘returning’ as he has never been a Jedi.
However, if you look at it in the sense of Jedi as a collective, you could well argue that the Jedi (as a plural collective) have returned when he says to the Emperor:
Luke: I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
Palpatine: So be it… Jedi!
The real Jedi returning is Darth Vader.
When he decides to save his son in preference to Emperor Palpatine, he becomes a Jedi again. Listen carefully to the music that plays just as he’s throwing the Emperor down the shaft, it is the Force theme (AKA Binary Sunset).
It is marking Vader (now actually returning as Anakin Skywalker) bringing balance to the Force!
In short, Vader is the returning Jedi (singular), Vader and Luke together are the returning Jedi (plural).
The Force Awakens
Rey is a ray of hope.
A new one.
She is also a ray of light.
The light side of the Force.
The Force has awoken in her. She’s able to learn the ways of the Force just by an initial thought.
As a guess, she chances her arm with a Jedi mind trick. She can summons a sabre to her open hand just by thinking about it. All in less than 2 days worth of action and adventure!
We think this is a reference to three things.
The first is that it is the military call sign of the ship Jyn’s crew leave for their mission on.
The second is a reference to Jyn Erso’s personal nature and the third reference is the fact the movie is set somewhat outside of the Skywalker family saga.
Check out Rogue One’s meaning in more detail.
The Last Jedi
A cold read suggests the title is referring to Luke Skywalker who is the last known to be living Jedi.
Here’s some trivia from the Solo movie.
The Rise of Skywalker
This film title one has a double meaning too.