Perfect Moment Monday: A New Hope

July 6, 2009

This week’s Perfect Moment is more of a process than a single moment.

I’m a geek in many ways, but I’m not especially a Star Wars geek. I like Star Wars as much as any girl born in the 70s — well maybe just slightly more. After all, I own Star Wars Monopoly, and on years when we celebrate Christmas, there’s a Boba Fett ornament on the tree. Some of the following information is common knowledge or available through careful movie viewing, but some requires deep backstory research.

Although it contains universal (ha ha) themes like finding your niche, connecting to others, and searching for truth, Star Wars doesn’t have storylines that particularly resonate with most people. Your arch-enemy turns out to be your father? That person with whom you have a strangely strong connection turns out to be your twin? The murder of your adoptive parents is engineered by your biological father (who is the stepbrother of your adoptive father) and carried out by clones who once fought alongside your mentor? Not so universal.

I’ve always been aware, in a casual sense, that there are adoption themes in the story, and the boy-girl twin connection was been brought to my attention by more than one friend when we announced our babies’ sexes, but it was only last week as I watched all 6 movies on TV that the extent of the ALI themes has really emerged for me.

Boy-Girl Twins
Everyone with a passing awareness of Star Wars knows that Luke and Leia are boy-girl twins, separated at birth.

Only a few people know, since it’s part of the Star Wars universe outside the movies, that Leia and Han Solo later become parents of “Jedi twins” Jacen and Jaina. (It’s not as cute as it sounds — Jacen eventually turns evil and Jaina has to kill him.)

When we announced that we are having boy-girl twins, our normally geeky friends said, “Luke and Leia!” and our extra-geeky friend said, “Jedi twins! Jacen and Jaina!”

It’s a key plot point that when Luke and Leia are separated at birth, they are each adopted.

Kin adoption: Luke is adopted by his uncle Owen and aunt Beru. Owen is the step-brother of Luke’s father Anakin. Luke is aware that they are his aunt and uncle, but he is told that both of his parents have died, when in fact his father is alive but is a threat to Luke’s survival.

Open adoption and closed adoption: Leia is adopted by Prince Bail Prestor Organa and his wife Breha. In Revenge of the Sith, Prince Organa says that he and his wife have “always talked of adopting a baby girl.” This is open adoption in one sense — the Organas are aware of their daughter’s origins and knew both of her birth parents. But, it’s closed adoption for the rest of the triad. It is not open for the birth parents because the birth mother dies in childbirth and does not know the fate of her children, and the birth father does not know of Leia’s existence because he was not aware of the twin pregnancy. (What, they can fly through space at light speed but they don’t have ultrasound?) It’s also not open for the adoptee because although she knows she was adopted, she does not know the identities of her birth parents nor the existence of her twin brother.

There are also informal adoption themes, with many references to people being “like a son” or “like a father” as part of a mentoring relationship.

Reproductive Technologies
The stormtroopers are clones of Jengo Fett, genetically modified for accelerated growth and docility (except for one unmodified clone, whom Jengo kept to raise as a son, and who later went on to become my Christmas ornament). Although most of us don’t deal directly with issues of cloning or genetic modification, there are a lot of debates right now about genetic selection and modification, particularly as they relate to reproductive technologies. The media (and public at large?) seems pretty freaked out about human cloning.

Infertility and Pregnancy Loss
This is the part that I didn’t learn until this week, because it requires delving into the Wookiepedia (yes, that’s what it’s called). The Organas had “always talked of adopting a baby girl” because they were infertile, and had lost at least two pregnancies. Breha was told that another pregnancy could kill her. A couple of years pass before Leia enters their lives.

The full quote from Prince Organa when he agrees to adopt Leia: “We’ve always talked of adopting a baby girl. She will be loved with us.” Now, his statement resonates so much more.

Perfect Moments
We already knew that people dealt with adoption, loss, and infertility everywhere on earth, but it turns out that these themes are also prevalent in a galaxy far far away.

Perfect Moment
It’s your last day to vote for always-inspirational Lori from Weebles Wobblog for the Most Inspiring Blog Award.


15 Responses to “Perfect Moment Monday: A New Hope”

  1. Um…I may be the ONLY person in the free world who has never seen Star Wars. It’s not something I’m proud of. šŸ˜‰

  2. kat Says:

    I love this post! I am a Star Wars fan…but not quite as hard core as my husband…I will definitely have him read this tonight. (For my daughter’s 5th birthday my DH got her Leia ear muffs).

  3. Kristin Says:

    What a great post. I have to admit that I knew Han and Leia had twins but I didn’t know their names.

  4. Sheri Says:

    I wandered over from WeeblesWobblog: to see your Perfect Moment Monday post.

    I have only seen about 1/2 of the Star Wars movies and it’s been a long time. It may be time to rent the entire series and watch them in order to really get the story lines.

    This was very interesting! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  5. Lavender Luz Says:

    What a terrific post! I am bookmarking it to share with Reed someday, if he’s ever in need of processing. This certainly taps into one of his passions.

    Cracking me up about the Christmas ornament and the u/s.

  6. I adore this post.

    Still, now this brings up the question: “Really, they can clone Storm Troopers, but they still haven’t figured out how to get around all forms of infertility?”

    I imagine that if the Star Wars films and books were written today then the Organas would’ve hired a surrogate.

  7. Carrie Says:

    I loved this! I am a little late for Star Wars, but my older brother loved it. I was absolutely terrified of Darth Vader and still am. I will have to go watch all the movies in a row while I am resting during the pregnancy. Now I can look for all of these themes you so astutely point out. šŸ™‚

    Hope you are feeling well! BTW, I’d love to see a picture of that ornament for Show and Tell sometime.

  8. Cara Says:

    I, like the few 80’s born, also never got into star wars but now I think that I might watch straight through — just to see.

    As always, a moving post.

  9. chelle Says:

    This post makes me smile. šŸ™‚

  10. samcy Says:

    I love Star Wars but never thought of it like this – although when I watched the last one and he said the thing about the adopting a girl I did wonder what pain they had gone through on that path… life imitates art?


  11. Dora Says:

    Love this post. Adorable geekiness! šŸ™‚

  12. shinejil Says:

    I’m laughing at the light speed, but no u/s comment. Or maybe even in fantastically hi-tech societies, some dudes still won’t feel like going to prenatal appts?

  13. loribeth Says:

    This post was very cool but it also gave me chills. Friends of ours from our pg loss support group were Star Wars fans who had named their stillborn baby girl Leia while in utero. When her brother was born, they naturally named him Luke. : )

    Dh & I caught the end of “Return of the Jedi” the other night on TV. I can never watch those movies now without thinking of these friends & their children.

  14. strongblonde Says:

    B loves Star Wars. I do, too, if I’m honest. šŸ™‚ We got the same thing when we announced our boy/girl twins!!

  15. MLO Says:

    Hrm… I’m a sci-fi fan from way back. I never got into the Star Wars novels – more the Dragonlance (fantasy, I know) and Star Trek universe with lots of Asimov, Asprin, Bujold, and Butler shown in. (Yes, I never made it to the later part of the alphabet…)

    I think the public at large is largely unaware of even the basics of IVF, artificial insemination, gestational surrogacy, and outside of certain busybodies in religious (I include the radical environmentalists here) institutions, nobody cares what technology can do until it affects them directly.

    Of note, Reagan’s widow who after her husband outlawed much of the research in IVF and stem cells is now a proponent.

    Most SF readers are more annoyed the tech isn’t already here than that it will cause some great cataclysm. (Again, religious busybodies being the exception.)

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