Han Solo

In a memorable scene from The Empire Strikes B...
Han Solo and Princess Leia. Fair Use rationale, via Wikipedia

Han Solo is a character in George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, played by actor Harrison Ford.

Han Solo represents the ‘ordinary guy’ who through meritorious ethical choices and outstanding deeds becomes a nobleman. In the so-called Star Wars ‘expanded universe‘ (which includes comics and games), Han Solo is understood to have probably married Princess Leia (played by actress Carrie Fisher).

Solo and Leia’s union could be seen in terms of what mythologers and depth psychologists call a ‘sacred marriage.’ The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung says that a symbolic union of opposites is fundamental to most mythic cycles. And psychologically speaking a union of opposites apparently takes place after many astounding and abhorrent adventures in the psychological underworld–at least, it takes place if a person is successful in overcoming the negative powers of the destructive archetypes.

However, there is really no universal agreement about the difference between myth and symbol. So some scholars of mythology advocate differentiating a myth, itself, from subsequent attempts to symbolically interpret it. This distinction between a myth and its interpretation is, nevertheless, questionable because many believe that human beings always interpret.

In this vein, postmodern thinkers would say that an academic treatment of myth creates a new kind of ‘myth’ about myths. While some academics tend to use authoritative words like “methodology” and “analysis,” a postmodern thinker – or any sociologists worth his or her salt – would argue that these words are really a smokescreen. They try to legitimize a discipline by making it sound important and scientific.

A portrait of George Lucas, Pasadena, Californ...
A portrait of George Lucas, Pasadena, California, USA by Joey Gannon via Wikipedia

Some scholars welcome this critique and embrace it in their work. But some second rate thinkers get defensive when their apparently rock solid “methodology” is proved to be a pile of sand.

As for those who think I’m taking the Star Wars saga too far into depth psychology, they’d do well to remember that George Lucas says his work owes much to the celebrated (and Jungian influenced) scholar of mythology Joseph Campbell.

Lucas had the keen insight to realize that his sci-fi story would work better if it had a genuine mythic ring to it. By adapting Campbell’s ideas, Lucas hoped that the Star Wars epic would resonate with the masses. And that it did.


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