Adoption themes abound in the Star Wars trilogies. Luke and Leia were adopted, of course. Anakin didn’t have a father and was taken from his mother. Boba Fett was his father’s clone (literally). Finn was taken from his family. Rey was abandoned. With so few parents around, it’s no wonder Disney bought the rights! Being an original trilogy Star Wars fan and a big believer in open adoption, I thought I’d write down some of the adoption themes you may have missed.
1. Institutions can’t compare to families.
The whole saga is based on the existence of the Jedi, a monastic group that follows The Force. Jedi are identified as young children—younger than age nine—and taken from their families to be trained in the ways of The Force. Jedi are forbidden from marrying and procreating. Here, you have this group of mostly men (although apparently there are some women Jedi other than Princess Leia) who are supposed to give up everything for The Force.
2. Darth Vader has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).
The saga really hinges on Anakin Skywalker. Anakin’s mother is a slave, and his father is magic—his mother said that a presence entered her body, and she found herself pregnant. Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi take this to mean that Anakin is a direct descendant of the midi-chlorians – “microscopic, intelligent life forms that live within the cells of all living beings.” Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are able to “win” Anakin, but not Anakin’s mother. Soon after, Qui-Gon, who was supposed to be Anakin’s teacher, is killed by Darth Maul. Frankly, it’s no wonder the kid goes off the deep end. Frightened by the idea that he could lose his (forbidden) wife, Padme Amidala, Anakin turns to the Dark Side.
3. If you don’t know the truth, you might end up kissing your brother.
The Star Wars community is split as to whether Leia knows she’s adopted. Many point to her dialogue with Luke, in Return of the Jedi, when he asks her if she remembers her “real mother.” Leia says she does, but only a little. When Luke reveals that they are siblings, Leia replies, “Somehow, I’ve always known.” Well, except that time on Hoth when Han Solo was acting all cocky so Leia planted a definitely passionate kiss on Luke. Eew.
4. Even in a galaxy far, far away, transracial adoption is controversial.
Stormtrooper FN-2187 doesn’t even know his name. He says “[I was] taken from a family I’ll never know. And raised to do one thing . . . ” The existence of a Black stormtrooper freaked out a lot of hardcore (and at least slightly racist) Star Wars fans. Stormtroopers were supposed to be clones. In the new movies, stormtroopers seem to be the result of a massive kidnapping à la the Egyptians and Hebrews, only without so much immediate death and with more body armor.
5. There’s a difference between adoption and kidnapping.
Wait a minute there, number 4! Finn wasn’t adopted, he was kidnapped, and those are not the same things. Indeed, that is very true. Not only is there a difference between being placed for adoption in a loving family versus kidnapped by an evil empire, there is a difference between how Finn feels about his life and how Luke and Leia feel about theirs. It will be interesting to see if Finn’s family is revealed (he better not be Lando Calrissian’s son) and how he pursues and handles the information, versus the ease with which Luke and Leia accept one another as family.
6. Family means the people in your life who accept you for who you are.
There are adoption themes among the lesser characters as well. Jango Fett is the bounty hunter and warrior who serves as the genetic source for the clones involved in the Clone Wars. Jango asked to keep one of his clones, acting as that clone’s father. Young Boba Fett sees his father decapitated by a Jedi and immediately joins a team of bounty hunters.
7. Adoption, or lack thereof, does not automatically mean you’re wounded.
Rey, last name unknown, is the protagonist of The Force Awakens. Her parentage is an open question. All we see of Rey’s origins is a flashback of her being abandoned. She gloms on to the first even remotely sentient being who is interested in her—BB8—and gloms onto Finn even more. Nonetheless, she’s probably the strongest character in The Force Awakens. She’s certainly stronger than Luke “I just can’t deal with responsibility and expectations” Skywalker. She’s also stronger than Kylo “I turned to the Dark Side because my parents gave me to my uncle so he could teach me the Force” Ren. Rey is totally bad ass, while still craving the love that comes from a family.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s May the Fourth Be with You blog post. Be sure to tune in next year, when we may explore such questions as:
- Did Leia know she was adopted? If so, why did she kiss her brother?
- Does Chewbacca think he’s adopted Han Solo?
- Rey’s true parentage aside, is Leia going to adopt Rey?
- Why is Luke such a crybaby?
- Where are Padme Amidala’s parents?