Everything about Star Wars screams superhero movie. This classic Sci-Fi franchise was developed in such a way that contains the core elements that define a “superhero” movie such as an action-packed universe that pits evil villains, bent on universal domination, against noble heroes, who are destined to bring balance to the Force. Star Wars is an immersive story with a unique background in comparison to what we believe to be a superhero movie today.
The George Lucas brainchild started off as original movies, then later was adapted and extended in various other forms of media such as comic books and novels. Stars Wars may not have roots in the comic book medium but it clearly has many elements of a traditional, superhero story. In fact, Star wars may have pioneered the success of superhero movies.
I consider Star Wars a superhero movie because it falls under the umbrella of what superhero movies are at heart. The Star Wars universe contains humans and numerous aliens dealing with the evil threat of The Dark Side. Jedi are considered the superheroes in this universe, due to their ability to utilize the Force, which is pure energy that connects all living material. Jedi use their seemingly psychic abilities, acrobatic prowess, and lightsabers (laser swords), to protect the citizens of the Republic from those who practice the dark side of the force, known as Dark Jedi or Sith.
When working on my previous article, “Zero to Hero: Superhero movies of 2017 ranked by gross domestic income”, I discovered that it was somewhat difficult to classify what to truly consider a superhero movie.
Typically, superheroes are primarily associated with individuals with superpowers who use their powers to save the public. Flying, super strength, and psychokinesis are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to known abilities of notable superheroes. A character having a superpower is a clear indication that you are dealing with a superhero story. But do you need superpowers to be a superhero? Of course not!
Batman and Iron Man clearly have no powers. Batman takes the route of being a costumed crimefighter with gadgets and ninja skills, while Iron Man uses his expertly designed, robotic, battle tuxedo to blow away foes and travel first class. Utilizing their intelligence and deep pockets, Wayne and Stark are able to fight toe-to-toe with some of the universe’s deadliest super villains.
Many superheroes are easily recognizable, as such, because they often originate within the comic book medium. Comic book universes are often expansive and contain heroes that share the same universe and ones who do not. These heroes and heroines are consistently making their way to the big screen, mixing in with action and sci-fi productions. Movies, such as Hancock, even show that superheroes are not required to originate in the comic book medium, having no comic related predecessor before its movie premiere.
So why should Star Wars miss inclusion into the superhero genre? At its heart, Star Wars is as much as a superhero movie as the Avengers and with the purchase of Star Wars and Marvel by Disney, we may see the two universes collide!