A Queer Reading of "Star Wars"
In the lead up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there has been one burning question: where is Luke Skywalker? The speculation has led to a pretty popular theory that Luke has turned to the dark side and is actually the primary antagonist of the new film. Should this turn out to be true, it once again proves that JJ Abrams' "Mystery Box" thing is pretty meaningless because of the Internet. Spoilers don't actually spoil movies, bad storytelling spoils movies. Perpetuating fan theories creates expectations; expectations lead to disappointment; disappointment leads to...suffering?
Anyway, while this theory isn't really based on anything more than a couple of trailers, it has caused me to reexamine the original trilogy and develop my own reading of Luke Skywalker's journey. Though this reading may very well be debunked in the coming film, the interpretation adds a lot of depth and intrigue to the original story. Of course, I'm referring to the idea that Luke Skywalker is gay and that the original trilogy signifies his coming out story.
Now I know that many people would merely dismiss this interpretation as adding unnecessary sexuality to seemingly asexual characters...
|"Fucked a lot of prostitutes, I have."|
|"I can't believe my twin brother has been gay this entire time."|
Let me reiterate that this is in fact a reading of Star Wars, not a statement of fact. Lucas probably didn’t plan this and I’m sure JJ will challenge some of this theory in Episode VII by giving Luke a wife and kids or something like that (...though the existence of children doesn’t necessarily debunk my reading). But watching the original trilogy this way doesn’t ruin Star Wars, it makes the saga more complex. So lets look at the general evidence of each film in the trilogy.
Firstly, there's the most obvious metaphor: “the force.” In A New Hope, Luke is introduced as an introverted orphan with clear daddy issues. The only woman in his life is Aunt and his Uncle is kind of a dick. Luke is then told by a fashionable old man with a beard that he’s special. This force is something deep inside him that he has to tap into in order to realize who he really is (a "Jedi"). Later on, he hears his voice saying "Let go, Luke" during the battle to destroy the death star...a scene in which Luke flies down a narrow corridor in order to shoot into a narrow hole. Seems like a first sexual experience to me.
|That's an anus and this movie is ruined for you.|
In The Empire Strikes Back, we finally see Luke interact sexually with a woman. And it's his sister. She is clearly in control of the situation and Luke plays along because he's still in the closet at this point. He's putting on a face to impress his masculine friend Han Solo.
|"He's buying that I was into that, right?"|
|"Great, kid! Don't get cocky." That's this scene, right?|
Other stray observations:
- Phallic symbols galore! Lightsabers, blasters, X-wings, Vader's helmet. All dicks.
- Luke sees his face in Vader's helmet on Degobah. Luke is wearing a mask, hiding his true self, as represented by his evil father. Luke knows, however, the whole time that there is still good in him.
- Luke is constantly rescued by masculine men. Obi Wan Kenobi, Solo at the end of A New Hope, Lando at the end of Empire. He literally falls into Lando's hands in the end of Empire.
Does viewing Star Wars as a massive coming out story hold up as a legit interpretation and make the films more interesting? I sure say so. People criticize the prequel trilogy for the wrong reasons. The reason they suck is that there simply isn't a big gay metaphor.
You're surprised I didn't mention R2 and 3PO at all, aren't you? Well here ya go: