Here's a Dilemma That Will Upset Any Star Wars Fan

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 12:24PM
Star Wars
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 12:24PM
Here's a Dilemma That Will Upset Any Star Wars Fan
What is the difference between fantasy and sci-fi? There have been many (and conflicting) opinions circulating the internet in the last year or so, and there are no hard-and-fast rules. And there are many works that fall somewhere in the middle; Star Wars, for example, is considered a classic sci-fi franchise, and yet it has enough magical elements that it is technically fantasy. So here's an upsetting dilemma for Star Wars fans: either Star Wars is not sci-fi, or we all have to stop worrying and learn to love midichlorians.

Again, the definition of sci-fi versus fantasy is somewhat subjective, but I'll give it a shot here. While there are tropes associated with each genre, a work is actually sci-fi if the rules of the universe dictate that there is a scientific explanation for everything. So even when the scientific explanations are ridiculously implausible, as long as the work advances one, it's sci-fi. If the explanation doesn't go any further than "it's magic, dumbass," then it's fantasy.

For the most part, Star Wars is sci-fi. There are scientific (or pseudoscientific) explanations for everything, from Tatooine's two suns to lightsabers to the astrobiology of giant space slugs. The only exception is the Force, which by definition is a mystical trait that singles out certain individuals as "special." It's romanticized and mythologized enough that it doesn't lend itself to a purely scientific explanation, which is why everyone hates midichlorians with a fiery passion.

I mean, we all hate midichlorians, right? It's a flimsy answer to a question that no one was asking, if only because it quite literally takes all of the magic out of the Star Wars universe. But here's the thing: if we all just sort of functionally forget that midichlorians exist (that's what I do), and keep operating under the assumption that Star Wars has magic, then it's not really proper sci-fi, at least not in my book. Seemingly "magical" things in other sci-fi works, like Superman's powers for example, are always given some sort of explanation based in some kind of science. So if we reject midichlorians, we reject the one thing that makes Star Wars entirely sci-fi.

So there you have it. Either Star Wars is a space fantasy, and decidedly not sci-fi, or we all love Jar Jar Binks accept midichlorians as canon. Happy hump day, everyone!
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars

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