Star Wars’ fathers common thread

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Mark Hamill stars in a scene from the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. PHOTO: CNS

Since becoming part of the Disney brand, the last three live-action additions to the Star Wars Cinematic Universe share a common theme.

All three shows feature a male, childless protagonist who, through a turn of events, takes on the mantle of fatherhood and fulfils traditional fatherly roles.

Disney might have a so-called “not-so-secret woke agenda”, but The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi seem to sidestep whatever agenda Disney may have for the time being by emphasising the role of the father embodied in the one who protects and serves those who cannot protect or help themselves.

Din Djarin (Mando) in The Mandalorian serves initially as merely a protector and guardian for Grogu (also known as “Baby Yoda”).

But, as the series progresseses, as with real fatherhood, Mando becomes more than a guardian and also becomes a provider for Grogu’s needs.

For instance, Mando educates Grogu in societal norms – how else is Grogu to learn it isn’t polite to eat the last eggs of a dying species?

The narrative of fatherhood weaves together the first six cinematic episodes in the broader Star Wars galaxy. Photo: CNS, Lucasfilm
The narrative of fatherhood weaves together the first six cinematic episodes in the broader Star Wars galaxy. Photo: CNS, Lucasfilm

The writers further emphasise that the relationship between Grogu and Mando is familial-like in their side-story in The Book of Boba Fett.

Grogu, now undergoing Jedi training under Luke Skywalker, must leave his family to train in the Jedi ways, as must all Jedi. The Jedi never again see their family, a point with consequences emphasised in their side-story.

The Book of Boba Fett features the lone bounty hunter, Boba Fett. Fett, the audience learns, serves as a just protector for the people in his district of Mos Espa on Tatooine.

However, his role as a father figure comes only after his adoption into a Tusken Raider tribe by the Tusken Chieftain, where he not only fights with and for the Tusken tribe, but he also teaches them new ways.

Currently streaming, Obi-Wan Kenobi finds the disillusioned Jedi rediscovering the Jedi code to rescue and protect the 10-year-old Princess Leia.

In Episode 3, Obi-Wan and Leia pretend to be father and daughter in order to escape Vader’s Dark Inquisitors.

The fatherhood arch climaxes when Anikin, now Darth Vader (“Dark Lord Father”), rediscovers his lost fatherhood when he refuses to let Palpatine kill his son, Luke, and redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save his son.
The fatherhood arch climaxes when Anikin, now Darth Vader (“Dark Lord Father”), rediscovers his lost fatherhood when he refuses to let Palpatine kill his son, Luke, and redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save his son.

In the broader Star Wars galaxy, one might argue that a narrative cord of fatherhood weaves together the first six cinematic episodes.

The first three episodes depict the fall of the fatherless Anikin Skywalker and how the lack of a father figure further pushes him to the dark side.

Obi-Wan’s brotherly relationship with Anikin was not enough to prevent Anikin from falling prey to the evil Palpatine, a faux father figure to Anikin. Anikin needed a father more than a brother.

Reclamation of lost fatherhood undergirds Episodes 4 through to 6.

The fatherhood arch climaxes when Anikin, now Darth Vader (“Dark Lord Father”), rediscovers his lost fatherhood when he refuses to let Palpatine kill his son, Luke, and redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save his son.

These stories may all take place in a galaxy far, far away, yet the role of fatherhood and the impact of its presence or absence may not be that different to our own.