What do Star Wars and Avatar have in common?
At first glance, not much – except for the fact that they are among the most successful films in movie history.
But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that they are surprisingly similar, because both are stories of transformation. The development of the two main characters is very similar, only in the opposite direction in each case. The young Anakin, who is very much alive and who stands up for others, becomes Darth Vader, who is traumatized and mutilated. He seems like a robot, has lost contact with almost everything alive and has joined an imperialistic, oppressive regime.
Similarly, at the beginning of the movie Avatar, Jack Sully is sent to help humans exploit the planet Pandora and oppress the Na’vi. Jack has been maimed by a war injury and is in a wheelchair. He too is trapped in his body and feels lost and isolated. Step by step, through his new avatar, he regains his freedom and his vitality. At the end of his transformation, he manages to establish an intimate relationship with the Na’vi and with his environment, to save the planet from invasion and to finally transform into his avatar.
Using film scenes, the lecture From Star Wars to Avatar will trace the transformation of the two main characters and show remarkable parallels between the two stories and motifs.