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Haruki-kun
2011-11-26, 03:46 PM
it's something that came to my attention, but apparently there seems to be some disagreement on who should be considered the main character of Star Wars. When I saw the movies (Original Trilogy) for the first time, it was Luke Skywalker, but then there was the Prequel Trilogy, in which Luke is not present.

Someone pointed out that in a way, Star Wars is "The life of Anakin Skywalker." Which implies that Anakin/Darth Vader is actually the main character.

The only characters who are in all 6 movies are Anakin and Obi-Wan (aside from R2D2, and C3PO), but Obi-Wan has a very minor role in V and VI, and even in Episode II and III was not much of a protagonist.

So I come to the Playground in the interest of hearing opinions on this: Who is the true main character of Star Wars?

Note: I have only seen the 6 movies, and nothing else.

ThePhantasm
2011-11-26, 03:48 PM
Does there have to be a "main" character above all others? You could argue that either Frodo or Aragorn (or even Sam) is the main character of LOTR for example.

Anarion
2011-11-26, 03:53 PM
Depends on how you conceptualize the story. You have a young man who falls to corruption and then his son succeeds where he failed and redeems him. So, does that make the son or the father the main character?

Also, you can clearly go by movie. Luke Skywalker is the protagonist of Episodes IV, V, and VI and Darth Vader is the antagonist. Episodes II and III have Anakin as the protagonist, and Episode I arguably has no protagonist whatsoever (don't say it's Qui-Gon Jinn, please, just don't).

TheCountAlucard
2011-11-26, 03:54 PM
Luke was the protagonist in the original trilogy, but since then, George Lucas has hamfistedly tried to force Vader into the spot.

And no, it did not work well - it has been argued before that, for the first two films of the Prequel Trilogy, there is no protagonist. Maybe, maybe, Anakin and Obi-Wan could be considered to be the protagonist of Episode II, but even that's debatable.

...crap. Now I'm gonna go watch the Plinkett reviews again. :smallsigh:

Yora
2011-11-26, 03:56 PM
And even though the numbering creates the illusion of one big pre-existing storyline, many of the details were created only as they were going. Luke being related to Vader was created after the first movie was out, and that Leia was also involved came even later.

But the main character is R2D2.

Starbuck_II
2011-11-26, 03:57 PM
R2D2 and C3PO, obviously, because they were in every movie.

Haruki-kun
2011-11-26, 03:59 PM
Episode I arguably has no protagonist whatsoever (don't say it's Qui-Gon Jinn, please, just don't).

Hmmm..... if I HAD to pick a protagonist for Episode I, it would be Padme. Episode I kinda is about her trying to protect her planet from the Trade Federation. The other characters got caught up in it.

Aotrs Commander
2011-11-26, 04:30 PM
Personally, I found that for the prequels in particular, I found treating the bad guys as the protagonists (i.e especially Palpatine) and watching the rise of the Empire (rather than the fall of the Jedi and the Republic) made it much more enjoyable.

And in the Heir to the Empire trilogy, it was totally all about Thrawn...!

Tiki Snakes
2011-11-26, 04:34 PM
Luke was the protagonist in the original trilogy, but since then, George Lucas has hamfistedly tried to force Vader into the spot.

And no, it did not work well - it has been argued before that, for the first two films of the Prequel Trilogy, there is no protagonist. Maybe, maybe, Anakin and Obi-Wan could be considered to be the protagonist of Episode II, but even that's debatable.

...crap. Now I'm gonna go watch the Plinkett reviews again. :smallsigh:

Pretty much this.
Except of course that the two trilogies don't even take place in the same universe. :smallsmile:

Dr.Epic
2011-11-26, 04:47 PM
Tragically, Anakin is the main character if you're viewing the series as a whole. Personally, I like to think of it as Luke is the main character because I as many people have disregarded the prequels.

Forum Explorer
2011-11-26, 04:53 PM
It depends on how to define main character or if you even feel that it needs to be focused onto one character.

I would say that Luke is the main character of Star Wars. The prequel series is basically a spinoff of the main storyline of Star Wars, in this case exploring the history of one of the villains. But ultimatly the prequels will only ever be a spin-off of the main 3 movies.

Of course I would rather say that Luke, Leia, and Han are the main characters as the story revolves around those three in various amounts.

TheThan
2011-11-26, 05:22 PM
The Star Wars prequel trilogy could easily be dubbed “the rise and fall of Anakin skywalker”. That is what the main emphasis of the story is supposed to be about, the rest, the war and stuff is supposed to be the setting, background info etc.

The original trilogy is supposed to be about the rise of Luke Skywalker, how he becomes a Jedi and defeats the villains that “won” the previous story. Along the way he helps “finish” Anakin’s story by helping him redeem himself.

Despite what Lucas would have us all believe. There are two different stories involving two different groups of people. The characters are interconnected but it is NOT one large story.

TheCountAlucard
2011-11-26, 05:28 PM
I'm just so glad that the Original Trilogy went through the initial Executive Meddling - it would've been horrifying if Star Wars had gone through in its initial incarnation. :smalleek:

Abies
2011-11-26, 05:59 PM
This is a question I've considered for a long time, long before the prequel trilogy came out. Even in the absence of episodes 1-3 I came to the conclusion that Anakin/Vader was the protagonist of the original trilogy. The ultimate victory is his to be had at the end of RotJ, and be accomplishes it. It is Anakin's triumph over Darth Vader that ensures the Rebellion's success. Luke is an instrument through all the movies to help Anakin fulfil this victory.

That used to be one of the most beautiful and interesting things about Star Wars, the author managed to tell a story about a character seen on-screen for perhaps less than 1/4 of the total viewing time. Then came the dark times... The prequels...

TheCountAlucard
2011-11-26, 06:09 PM
I'm going to disagree with you there.

Vader, at least in the first movie, wasn't important. Importance was shoehorned into his character after the fact. You see him taking commands, getting talked down to, and going out in a fighter during the Battle of Yavin, where he could be easily killed.

George clearly improvised his way through the series at the time.

Mando Knight
2011-11-26, 06:52 PM
You see him taking commands, getting talked down to, and going out in a fighter during the Battle of Yavin, where he could be easily killed.

He took commands from one man, threatened the life of the other officer who talked down to him, owned the scene wherever he appeared, personally shot down more fighters than either the turbolasers or the other TIEs (while flying a craft clearly marked as the leader/ace fighter), and would have claimed victory if not for the last-second intervention from the Millennium Falcon. Even then, he was able escape despite basically every single other villain in the film being incinerated.

He may have not been technically in charge, but his presence was clearly greater than that of any of the other characters.

TheCountAlucard
2011-11-26, 07:05 PM
The Millennium Falcon didn't save the day - it was that TIE fighter pilot in the back. :smallamused: (http://www.cracked.com/article_18719_the-tie-fighter-pilot-who-saved-day-in-star-wars.html)

Kindablue
2011-11-26, 07:06 PM
He took commands from one man, threatened the life of the other officer who talked down to him, owned the scene wherever he appeared, personally shot down more fighters than either the turbolasers or the other TIEs (while flying a craft clearly marked as the leader/ace fighter), and would have claimed victory if not for the last-second intervention from the Millennium Falcon. Even then, he was able escape despite basically every single other villain in the film being incinerated.

He may have not been technically in charge, but his presence was clearly greater than that of any of the other characters.

Which is exactly why he became a more important character in the other movies. :smalltongue:

Trazoi
2011-11-26, 08:32 PM
The protagonist in the original trilogy is Luke.

The protagonist in the prequel trilogy is Mr. Plinkett.
(Technically while the main character is Mr. Plinkett, the protagonist is arguably Nadine. But now we're splitting hairs and spoiling the joke.)

danzibr
2011-11-26, 08:53 PM
Protagonist in all six is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

In all seriousness, I agree with those that say Luke for the first trilogy and Anakin for the second trilogy.

Tengu_temp
2011-11-26, 09:12 PM
Ronald Reagan.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-26, 09:25 PM
The protagonist is obviously this guy:

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/wp-content/uploads/jar_jar.jpg

Please don't hurt me.

Trazoi
2011-11-26, 09:33 PM
The protagonist is obviously this guy:

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/wp-content/uploads/jar_jar.jpg

Please don't hurt me.
There's a real case to arguing he's the protagonist of Phantom Menace. If he wasn't so universally reviled I suspect Lucas would have written proper arcs for him into II and III as well.

Comrade
2011-11-26, 10:00 PM
The Millennium Falcon didn't save the day - it was that TIE fighter pilot in the back. :smallamused: (http://www.cracked.com/article_18719_the-tie-fighter-pilot-who-saved-day-in-star-wars.html)

THAT'S IT.

HE'S THE PROTAGONIST.

Marnath
2011-11-26, 10:39 PM
The Millennium Falcon didn't save the day - it was that TIE fighter pilot in the back. :smallamused: (http://www.cracked.com/article_18719_the-tie-fighter-pilot-who-saved-day-in-star-wars.html)

I always saw that the exact opposite way- he sacrificed himself to knock Vader out of the way of a kill shot. Just because Han took out the wingman instead of Vader doesn't mean he wasn't going to shoot the other two right after that. That's just silly, Cracked.

thubby
2011-11-27, 08:29 AM
R2D2
he's at or near every major event, we're always aware of his location and activity (within reason), everyone would be dead several times over but for him, and everyone empathizes with him.

Mauve Shirt
2011-11-27, 10:05 AM
I can't cite my sources because I don't remember them, but I heard something like "Star Wars is the story of the most powerful force-user ever in the galaxy", which I think was taken to mean Anakin. Luke was the most powerful Jedi, but not the most powerful force-user.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-27, 02:19 PM
You know, with the expanded universe, I think you would make a case for anyone to be the main character, and my vote goes for Porkins. Rest in peace comically named character.

Haruki-kun
2011-11-27, 07:22 PM
R2D2
he's at or near every major event, we're always aware of his location and activity (within reason), everyone would be dead several times over but for him, and everyone empathizes with him.

My dad pointed out several years ago that "R2's little key thing fits into any machine anywhere, it's just incredibly convenient." Now I realized R2 just had the Star Wars version of a USB.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-27, 07:27 PM
My dad pointed out several years ago that "R2's little key thing fits into any machine anywhere, it's just incredibly convenient." Now I realized R2 just had the Star Wars version of a USB.

Yeah, but can he check Facebook and play Angry Birds?

Trazoi
2011-11-27, 07:30 PM
You know, with the expanded universe, I think you would make a case for anyone to be the main character
It's like who originally stole the Death Star plans. (Answer: everybody.)

H Birchgrove
2011-11-27, 07:59 PM
It's like who originally stole the Death Star plans. (Answer: everybody.)

Poor Bothan spies.

Mando Knight
2011-11-27, 08:47 PM
It's like who originally stole the Death Star plans. (Answer: everybody.)

Which Death Star?

Dr.Epic
2011-11-27, 09:14 PM
Which Death Star?

Death Star? You mean the Giant Hurt Ball?:smalltongue:

Trazoi
2011-11-27, 09:17 PM
Which Death Star?
Either but particularly the original. Especially in the games. Every Star Wars game character has to steal the Death Star plans. It's part of the initiation ceremony or something.

Then the prequel movies got into the action. I'm surprised if there's anyone around between Eps III and IV who didn't have the Death Star plans at some point.

Trixie
2011-11-28, 05:04 AM
I'm just so glad that the Original Trilogy went through the initial Executive Meddling - it would've been horrifying if Star Wars had gone through in its initial incarnation. :smalleek:

Yes, Ep IV and V owe far more to Lucas ex-wife, Lucas producer, and his old filming teacher than to G. L. himself, sadly :smallannoyed:


(don't say it's Qui-Gon Jinn, please, just don't).

Hm? :smallconfused:


it's something that came to my attention, but apparently there seems to be some disagreement on who should be considered the main character of Star Wars. When I saw the movies (Original Trilogy) for the first time, it was Luke Skywalker, but then there was the Prequel Trilogy, in which Luke is not present.

What Prequels? :smallconfused:

And anyway, yes, IMHO, that was Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, with a villain protagonist of sorts in Vader.


Hmmm..... if I HAD to pick a protagonist for Episode I, it would be Padme. Episode I kinda is about her trying to protect her planet from the Trade Federation. The other characters got caught up in it.

By that standard, isn't Leia or R2D2 protagonist of the Trilogy? Or Death Star plans? :smallconfused:

I personally saw Padme as more like plot device...

Shadow of the Sun
2011-11-28, 07:39 AM
I can't cite my sources because I don't remember them, but I heard something like "Star Wars is the story of the most powerful force-user ever in the galaxy", which I think was taken to mean Anakin. Luke was the most powerful Jedi, but not the most powerful force-user.

At least according to things Lucas has said, Anakin never achieved his true potential. Whether this is due to the stupidity of midichlorians and his body not having as many as Luke did due to half of it burning off or due to a lack of spiritual attainment, Luke is the most powerful Force user.

Certainly not the protagonist, but the films are the story of the rise and fall of Palpatine. Palpatine is the most important character; none of it would have happened without him. And if you take EU stuff into account, Palpatine rivals even Luke for sheer power in the Force.

Jade Dragon
2011-11-28, 11:13 PM
Somewhere deep in space, this could all be happening right now.

A lone protocol droid who gets caught up in the middle of the schemes of an evil conquerer bent on total domination is forced to take action. By worrying a lot while the other guys do things. For six whole movies.

TL;DR: It's C3-P0. :smalltongue:

Anarion
2011-11-28, 11:27 PM
Seems like the disagreement stems from varying definitions of protagonist. Two big questions.
1. Can a character be the protagonist if he or she is not getting a certain amount of screen-time?
2. Can a character be the protagonist if he or she was not the cause of major plot events?

Although the abstract answer is probably yes to both questions (we could all come up with a weird enough hypothetical movie), I think that screen time in particular is important. A movie is a visual medium and it has to show you what it's about. If one character caused a bunch of events but makes almost no appearance in the movie, they're playing some role other than the protagonist. To me, that rules out Darth Vader from being the protagonist of movies IV, V, and VI. He simply does not play a large enough part in the story and we really don't know much about him until the latter part of Empire Strikes Back.

On the other hand, Han Solo and Princess Leia both get a secondary position to Luke over the course of all three movies. There's an argument that each gets a unique role, giving the movie three protagonists, but I think Luke gets the lion's share of focus out of the three, especially during his training in Empire.

The Succubus
2011-11-29, 06:38 AM
I remember watching an interview with Lucas where he stated that the working title for the Star Wars series was going to be "The Tragedy of Darth Vader" - think it's on one of the DVDs.

For my republic credits, I always got the impression that the Original Trilogy was about witnessing events unfold from the point of the 2 droids. I don't know whether this makes them protagonists or merely passive observers. I have to agree that Luke was the centre role of the Original Trilogy.

It's too bad they never made any prequels, or filmicised the Timothy Zahn novels.

Eldan
2011-11-29, 10:30 AM
Wasn't the original title of Star Wars something like "The Adventures of Luke Starwalker"?

Edit: Apparently:

In 1971, Universal Studios agreed to make American Graffiti and Star Wars in a two-picture contract, although Star Wars was later rejected in its early concept stages. American Graffiti was completed in 1973 and, a few months later, Lucas wrote a short summary called "The Journal of the Whills", which told the tale of the training of apprentice C.J. Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy.[22] Frustrated that his story was too difficult to understand, Lucas then wrote a 13-page treatment called The Star Wars, which was a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.[23] By 1974, he had expanded the treatment into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller. For the second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications, and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Skywalker. Anakin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. "The Force" was also introduced as a supernatural power. The next draft removed the father character and replaced him with a substitute named Ben Kenobi, and in 1976 a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars.[24]

Tiki Snakes
2011-11-29, 10:44 AM
I remember watching an interview with Lucas where he stated that the working title for the Star Wars series was going to be "The Tragedy of Darth Vader" - think it's on one of the DVDs.

For my republic credits, I always got the impression that the Original Trilogy was about witnessing events unfold from the point of the 2 droids. I don't know whether this makes them protagonists or merely passive observers. I have to agree that Luke was the centre role of the Original Trilogy.

It's too bad they never made any prequels, or filmicised the Timothy Zahn novels.

I can imagine him saying that. I'm also quite happy to believe that it's a complete and transparent lie, though. Silly George.

Trixie
2011-11-29, 11:17 AM
I remember watching an interview with Lucas where he stated that the working title for the Star Wars series was going to be "The Tragedy of Darth Vader" - think it's on one of the DVDs.

Then it's a complete lie, seeing DV as Luke's father was (99% sure) a brainchild of Kurtz and Kerschner, not Lucas, and the original screenplay for Episode VI did not include Leia as Luke's sister. Alas, by Ep VI Lucas was too important and tired of SW, so just took an axe to the plot, sadly.

Edit: checked, and the final plot was actually the work of Lawrence Kasdan, Irvin Kershner and Gary Kurtz. Lucas had input in the script conference, but seeing he was on the verge on nervous breakdown then and actually did very little work, as he later admitted, I still think the full credit should go to above three.

Jade Dragon
2011-11-29, 01:02 PM
Wasn't the original title of Star Wars something like "The Adventures of Luke Starwalker"?

Edit: Apparently:

So Anakin was meant to be a protagonist originally, but he was meant to be the mentor, not the hero.

Darthteej
2011-11-30, 01:49 AM
Edit: checked, and the final plot was actually the work of Lawrence Kasdan, Irvin Kershner and Gary Kurtz. Lucas had input in the script conference, but seeing he was on the verge on nervous breakdown then and actually did very little work, as he later admitted, I still think the full credit should go to above three.

The more you look at the production of the original three movies, the clearer it becomes that George Lucas had very little role in any but the first one(and even then the first cut was axed). Contrast this to his plans for the prequel movies, where apparently he would have had complete creative control. I'm still sad they axed those projects, wouldn't it have been interesting to see the man behind A New Hope taking the reins for three movies?

Anarion
2011-11-30, 01:55 AM
It's too bad they never made any prequels


I'm still sad they axed those projects, wouldn't it have been interesting to see the man behind A New Hope taking the reins for three movies?

Suddenly, it feels like this is a Planescape:Torment thread.

Darthteej
2011-11-30, 02:02 AM
Suddenly, it feels like this is a Planescape:Torment thread.

Nahhh, we've just all seen XKCD 566 (http://xkcd.com/566/).