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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Last Jedi & Waffen-SS

Skellig Michael, the very real island of the last Jedi. PHOTO: Jerzy Strzelecki

Spoiler alert! Here follow some reflections about the real history (planet Earth history) in the latest episode of Star Wars.

In "The Last Jedi" there is a lot going on, some of it really amazing and fun to watch. Like most scenes on the Irish island of Skellig Michael - what a magnificent filming location - I think it can only be compared to Tunisia or Norway as a Star Wars location.

However, the movie also has some stuff that can disturb fans like me - who basically only really appreciate the original trilogy but cannot abstain from the rest. By disturbing stuff I mean e.g. some of the new characters, several battles and what happens to Princess Leia in space. The joke about General Hux is sort of fun the first time, but then...

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo i.e. Laura Dern (remember her in "October Sky"?) is nice, but why was she not allowed to act more officer-like and wear something a bit more officer-like? I could bore you with more questions like that, but instead let me end with two planet Earth things in the new Star Wars episode:

Not General Hux but SS-general Sepp Dietrich, wearing a cuff title on his left arm. PHOTO: Bundesarchiv

1. Several of the bad guys are wearing Waffen-SS style cuff titles, but without German S├╝tterlin script or Latin letters. Instead, they are adorned with words that I could not read. as they are written in what I suppose is the Aurebesh alphabet, the most common script seen throughout Star Wars. Perhaps someone more into Aurebesh could tell me what they say? Cuff titles could be seen already in the previous episode, on General Hux, but for some reason he has zero letters on his double (!) cuff titles. In "The Last Jedi" you get to see the two types of cuff titles many times and quite up close too.

2. Last but not least, the word ´"Godspeed" is uttered, twice. That word is really old English for "May God cause you to succeed". Pretty weird for a galaxy far, far away a long time ago. "May the Force be with you" would be more natural, like? On the other hand, as a Christian, it was rather nice to hear that unexpected non-Force word. Those of you who have really payed attention will also know that already in 1977, in "A New Hope" (Episode IV), there is a reference to Christianity when "Ben" Kenobi talks to Luke while handing over the light sabre. Kenobi utters "crusade", a word that started with the cross of Jesus. Interestingly, in "The Empire Strikes Back" (Episode V), the word hell is mentioned, when Han Solo says "Then I'll see you in hell". So, besides lots of Japanese and Chinese religious ingredients in the Force, the Star Wars movies do contain some grains of the Abrahamic religions.

Interested in what remains in the Tunisian desert and mountains of Norway from Star Wars? Check out my old blog post Lars Wars.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a bit more info on the cuff titles used by the First Order, as seen in TFA and TLJ:

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rank_insignia_of_the_First_Order

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