The Influence of History and Politics in Star Wars, Foundation, and Dune

TLDR Star Wars, Foundation, and Dune incorporate elements of history and politics, drawing inspiration from the Roman Empire, Nazi propaganda, American anxieties, and Western imagination. These cultural artifacts reflect the era in which they were created and provide allegories for various political conflicts and societal themes.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Star Wars, a cultural artifact of the 1970s, reflects the era of Vietnam and Watergate and was created by George Lucas, a nerdy filmmaker influenced by the disillusionment of the time.
05:09 Star Wars, created by George Lucas in the 1970s, was influenced by his nostalgia for the 1950s and the cultural sensibility of his generation, with the evil Emperor Palpatine possibly being based on Nixon, and the film incorporating elements of mythology and references to other films.
09:14 Star Wars incorporates elements of Roman iconography and Nazi propaganda, with references to the Roman Empire and the Nazis throughout the film, including the portrayal of mass rallies and stormtroopers.
13:37 Star Wars incorporates elements of Roman history and Nazi propaganda, with references to the collapse of the Roman Republic and the abolishment of the Weimar Republic, as well as the portrayal of Governor Tarkin as a Nazi officer.
17:56 Star Wars incorporates elements of Roman history and American anxieties about the collapse of a republic and the rise of an autocracy, and George Lucas may have responded to the scholarly and fan interpretations of these themes in later films.
22:22 The emergence of Palpatine in Star Wars parallels the rise of Augustus in Rome, with Palpatine being given emergency powers by the Senate and orchestrating a series of purges, ultimately leading to the reorganization of the Republic into the first galactic empire.
26:45 Star Wars incorporates linguistic paradigms from Roman epics, with American heroes and British villains, reflecting the identification of Britishness with empire and oppression, while also serving as an allegory for various political conflicts such as the Cold War and Nixon's Republicans.
31:18 Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, directly inspired by Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, follows the decline and fall of a galactic empire and incorporates elements such as imperial planet potentiaries, interstellar barbarian kingdoms, and a foundation founded by a psycho historian.
36:54 The Foundation series revolves around the idea of "Selden events" where a psycho historian can predict catastrophic events that others cannot, similar to the concept of the Thucydides trap in American universities, and the second novel introduces a twist where a character called the Mule emerges and conquers the galaxy, which is seen as an echo of Muhammad and the unexpected emergence of Islam.
41:21 The idea that Mecca was a center of spice trade and the context from which Mohammed emerges is a projection of an orientalist fantasy onto the understanding of Islam by Western scholars, and this idea is echoed in the plot of Dune with competing clans and aristocracies fighting for control of the spice trade.
46:00 The use of Roman themes and imagery in science fiction and fantasy, such as in Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Hunger Games, adds a sense of glamour, recognizable iconography, and class to these stories, while also reflecting the underlying Western imagination and political creeds.
Categories: History

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