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Given all the classic sci-fi trappings found in the Star Wars films (spaceships, laser weapons, giant insects, aliens, etc.) did George Lucas in fact consider Star Wars to be science fiction?

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    Hmmm, in the absence of any evidence that there is any justification for not regarding Star Wars as SF, I don't think the question can be redeemed in this way. Why on earth would Lucas not think it's SF? – Christi Dec 18 '13 at 9:01
  • @Christi It's just the old question of "Is it sci-fi (spaceships and aliens) or fantasy (magical Force)?" reframed. In the absence of evidence we don't know. – Izkata Dec 18 '13 at 11:37
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    "As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. But instead of reading technical, hard-science writers like Isaac Asimov, I was interested in Harry Harrison and a fantastic, surreal approach to the genre. I grew up on it. Star Wars is a sort of compilation of this stuff, but it's never been put in one story before, never put down on film. There is a lot taken from Westerns, mythology, and samurai movies. It's all the things that are great put together. It's not like one kind of ice cream but rather a very big sundae." - SW:ANH novelization introduction interview – phantom42 Dec 18 '13 at 12:10
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    Two Words. Space. Opera. – jacen.garriss Dec 18 '13 at 20:49
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    It always seemed to me that Lucas considered Star Wars a gold mine. – KorvinStarmast Jan 21 '17 at 16:10
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George Lucas has gone on the record to describe it as a sort of combination of genres - including science-fiction, versus some of the "harder" science-fiction that he grew up with.

From an interview included as part of the introduction of the Star Wars: A New Hope novelization:

"As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. But instead of reading technical, hard-science writers like Isaac Asimov, I was interested in Harry Harrison and a fantastic, surreal approach to the genre. I grew up on it. Star Wars is a sort of compilation of this stuff, but it's never been put in one story before, never put down on film. There is a lot taken from Westerns, mythology, and samurai movies. It's all the things that are great put together. It's not like one kind of ice cream but rather a very big sundae."

However, in the annotated screenplays, he acknowledges that what he has created was never really "science fiction", per se.

I knew from the beginning that I was not doing science fiction. I was doing a space opera, a fantasy film, a mythological piece, a fairy tale. I really thought I needed to establish from the start that this was a completely made up world so that I could do anything I wanted."

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No. Lucas often used the term Science Fantasy. He never referred to it as only science fiction. Star Wars doesn't hold itself to use science: space craft bank in a vacuum like airplanes do in air, there's the Force (a type of magic or at least metaphysics), .... Star Wars is about epic story telling and not one to get caught up in details such as physics and using the scientific process to solve a problem. This is also why it's felt that JJ Abrams is a great choice for directing Star Wars movies, much more so than Star Trek which spent much effort on not violating laws of physics or at least having a really good technical explanation why something works. Star Wars doesn't attempt to use science to solve problems where as science fiction series such as Star Trek expose science to the audience in an attempt to engage them as to the difficulty of the problem, some possible solutions, and how to conduct experiments to decide upon a solution.

  • This answer would be better if (a) it included some quotes from Lucas calling Star Wars "science fantasy" and (b) spent less time talking about Star Trek – Jason Baker Dec 18 '15 at 21:23
  • Regarding (b), it's nice to have contrasting examples. :-) – Lancer Kind Dec 23 '15 at 23:23
  • Regarding (a), I agree. But unfortunately my source is a documentary film about Star Wars and I can't find an online reference to a manuscript. – Lancer Kind Dec 23 '15 at 23:25
  • Star Wars is set "a long time ago, and in a galaxy far away" - plainly a fantasy setting, giving Lucas his license to handwave all the technology in his space opera. Star Trek is depicted as Earth's future. It is also very much space opera, but is somewhat obligated to anchor some of the science and technology in reality. While there are attempts in Trek to explain sciency and techy things, the explanations often bog down or expose the flights of fantasy more than anything else and don't really add to the stories. All it really does is attempt to make the world the characters inhabit feel real – Anthony X Jan 21 '17 at 16:58
0

It combines elements of both and I have heard it referred to as Science Fantasy.

Lucas seemed to view it as having Sci-Fi and Fantasy and even tried to remove some of the ambiguity with his, disastrous IMHO, attempt to qualify the force as a symbiotic relationship pushing it more towards Sci-Fi.

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When I was watching a making of Star Wars video George Lucas said; "It's more of space fantasy." He took lots of fantasy things but put them in space. There's the hero, Luke; the smooth serious guy cool guy, Han; the old man that guides the hero, Obi-Wan; and the damsel in distress, Princes Leia.

  • This is not a very good answer. For one thing, a space fantasy is not necessarily separate from science fiction. Secondly, none of the character tropes you mention are exclusive to any genre. – James Sheridan Apr 22 '14 at 5:49
  • Sci-Fi tends to try to build a much more reasoned approach to its stories, where as fantasy would be of a more magical approach. Just because the setting is futuristic, rather than medieval, does not make it a sci-fi. – user001 Sep 18 '15 at 8:19
  • Princess Leia wasn't really a damsel in distress. – Rogue Jedi Sep 18 '15 at 10:27
  • She was definitely a damsel in distress in the eyes of the crew of the Millennium Falcon. Little did they know her combat training, yet she still needed help. So in this respect, she falls well within the Mario/Zelda "Princess in distress" category in my opinion (even if these plotlines superceded SW, it's still a category). – John Bell Sep 18 '15 at 14:52
  • In fact, she's even mentioned on this page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damsel_in_distress – John Bell Sep 18 '15 at 14:56

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