7 Star Wars Scenes That Turned Out to Be Based on Real Events

If we were to compile all Star Wars references and inspirations into one place, it would be an entire library. Or a Wiki. And it’s no surprise because George Lucas was a huge history buff, and his fascination with history greatly influenced the movies he made.

In the light of the upcoming Star Wars Day, Bright Side charted the galaxy far, far away across different times and places in our world. Take a look and may the Force be with you!

1. Darth Vader’s costume was inspired by samurai.

Darth Vader’s costume was primarily designed based on the armor worn by Japanese samurai. Furthermore, a specific historical figure worked as the basis for the infamous Sith Lord: the bloodthirsty samurai warlord Date Masamune.

Masamune shared a lot of biography beats with Vader. Both were partly disabled (Masamune lost vision in his right eye), both were raised by one parent, both skyrocketed through the ranks. Both were driven to the edge by the loss of a said parent. Both were feared by fellow knights — samurai and Jedi respectively — for their anger and ferocity. And both donned that cool black armor.

2. Space fights were choreographed after the 20th century’s aerial battles.

When designing the space battles in the movies, George Lucas was influenced by the real dogfights that took place in the middle of the 20th century. Most of the spacecrafts’ designs were modeled after real planes, including the Millennium Falcon, whose cockpit looks almost identical to the nose of a Boeing B-29.

The Falcon’s iconic sound, too, came from the engines of a real aircraft. Star Wars’ sound designer traveled to the air races in the Mojave desert in the mid-’70s specifically to record the noises of planes for the movie.

3. Jedi Order was based on the Knights Templar (and not just them).

The Jedi were generally inspired by Japanese samurai warriors and Shaolin monks: who had a code of honor that was close to samurai Bushido, a peace-keeping ethos, and an instinct for protecting life. But the politics behind the Jedi were lifted from the monastic military order — the Knights Templar. Like the Jedi, the Templars practiced austerity, chastity, and obedience. Jedi clothing resembled the hooded white robes of warrior-monks.

The top-ranking Jedi Knights, who sit on the Jedi Council, mirror the Templars who were governed by a 12-piece council of elders, with a grandmaster at the center (say “hi” to Master Yoda here). And much like the Jedi Purge ordered by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, the Templars were wiped out by France’s King Philip IV.

4. Yoda’s look was modeled after Albert Einstein.

One of Yoda’s most marketable features (though, all his features are fairly marketable) — is his wisdom. Perhaps it somehow relates to the fact that his facial design was modeled after Albert Einstein. Yoda’s creator drew inspiration from Einstein’s portrait that was hanging in his office, specifically his eyes, white hair, and wrinkles.

5. Lightsaber fights were influenced by the martial art of kendo.

Kendo, a Japanese martial art that involves fighting with bamboo swords, bears a striking resemblance to the lightsaber, the weapon of the Jedi Knight. Star Wars includes a lot of kendo-style fighting, stances, and strikes. Kendo also carries its spiritual aspect into movies: the special rhythm and the balance between body and soul.

Mark Hamill, AKA Luke Skywalker, even lived in Japan for the last 2 years of high school taking kendo classes.

6. The Galactic Republic was designed after Ancient Rome.

The Star Wars prequel trilogy as a whole is a retelling of the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire in its place. Throughout the trilogy, the Galactic Republic slowly loses its grip on democracy and falls into the hands of a dictator, who starts the reign of the Galactic Empire.

The institutions of Star Wars — Senate, Republic, and Empire — as well as Latin-sounding names such as Palpatine obviously reference ancient Rome. The architecture on the planet Naboo also resembles that of the Byzantine Empire, the remains of the ancient Roman Empire.

7. Luke and Vader echoed George Lucas and his father.

The relationship between Vader and Luke sits at the heart of the Star Wars movie, and there’s so much of George Lucas’s personal life in it. George Lucas’s own father was an overbearing figure who had his son’s life planned out for him, and he strongly disapproved of George’s filmmaking career. As result, the 2 were estranged and had nothing to do with each other.

Just as George’s dad wanted him to stay in the family business, Darth Vader also called Luke to join him on the dark side. Just as George refused, so did Luke. But in the end, the 2 ultimately reconciled, Luke finding it in himself to forgive his father and Vader saving his son and redeeming himself. Do we even have to say that George and his father mended their relationship as well?

What is your favorite Star Wars scene or moment, and why?

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