"The Last Jedi" & Self-Referentiality: "Flash Gordon" to "Blade Runner"

The Star Wars saga is remarkable for being overwhelmingly self-referential, and that may account for the duration of the franchise, the first Star Wars movie having appeared in 1978. Most science fiction movies are hardly about the future; they are recycling of ancient and contemporary allusions. The frame for “Blade Runner” was cinema noire and references to race relations in the United States, the artificial life creatures taking the place of American Blacks as those who are hounded down and killed for going off the plantation. The frame for the Terminator movies, for their part, was the Jesus and Mary story, a person from the future fathering a child whose mother protects him so that he can be the salvation of the world even though people think she is crazy for believing this story. H. G. Wells had the prospect of World War II in mind when he created “Preview of Things to Come”, fleets of aircraft destroying cities and civilization, when the war that came proved surprising in that cities such as Berlin remained as organized communities even as their buildings were overwhelmingly destroyed. “The Last Jedi”, the latest story in the Star Wars saga is noteworthy for how true it remains to the basic storyline, it’s imagery, and its own mythology and has few contemporary concerns. This self-referentiality constitutes a kind of originality, however much the Star Wars saga still remains something considerably short of art.

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