10 Aspects Of Star Wars That Actually Make It A Fantasy Movie (Not Sci-Fi)

starwars is one of the grandest sagas the realms of fiction have ever known. Stretching far beyond the Outer Rim of the galaxy far, far away, this world of Jedi, Sith, smugglers, and droids has delighted and entertained millions of fans for decades. But for all its starships, aliens, and journeys to other planets, there are more than a few things that keep it from being a purely science-fiction experience.

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For every blaster and spaceship, there’s a bit of sword and sorcery right behind. Although the series is set in a distant galaxy of various planets and other space-themed imagery, starwars could just as easily become an epic fantasy if the focus was shifted.


Its “Far Away” Setting

When fans think of the setting of starwars, Images of various planets and starfields are probably the first visions that come to mind. But in a wider sense, the universe Yoda, Kylo Ren, and R2D2 inhabit isn’t a futuristic setting seen in most sci-fi, but another realm altogether.

So many fantasy stories take place in kingdoms “far, far away,” but the one factor that keeps this universe leaning more towards fantasy is the absence of Earth. Where many sci-fi tales, even interplanetary ones, feature some version of Earth or remnants of it involved, starwars does not. Meaning that the saga very well may take place in another realm.

Medieval Armor Influences

Mando and the Armorer in The Mandalorian

Armor is a common element in both sci-fi and fantasy but is perhaps used for different environments, occupations, and purposes. There are certain cultures and sects of the galaxy’s denizens that take greater influence from more medieval than tactical or ballistic inspiration though.

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A great example of this are the Mandalorians seen across different pieces of starwars half. With their armor forged out of steel and their helmets resembling barbute helmets of the knights of old, it’s clear to see the warriors that inspired their battle-focused culture.

Warriors Fight With Chivalry-Like Codes

Yoda sat on the Jedi High Council through much of the High Republic

Jedi, Mandalorians, Tusken Raiders, and the Knights of the Round Table all have a bit more in common than novice fans might realize. Across genres and even in history, famous warriors have relied on some form of code or sacred creed to separate themselves from the crowd, and that is also seen in the starwars universe.

The Jedi and Mandalorians are perhaps the most prominent examples, each having rules regarding combat, the mind, the body, and the soul. It’s practically impossible not to compare them with other fictional orders, brotherhoods, or fellowships seen in fantasy.

Dueling Is A Prevalent Theme

By dueling, this is of course referring mainly to those consisting of lightsabers, but other weapons have been permitted as well, such as the recent duel for the Darksaber seen in the Book of Boba Fett. So many iconic confrontations in fantasy have been presented as duels to the death, and the minds behind starwars definitely noticed.

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Whether it’s the final confrontation between Kenobi and Vader or something as simple as the Pod Race on Tatooine, duels are heavily used pieces of symbolism that capture the ongoing struggle of good and evil that weighs so heavily across various pieces of fiction. The image is simply one that never goes out of style.

The Symbolism Of The Sword

DIn Djarin with the Darksaber in The Book of Boba Fett

From the early days of Excalibur to the meaning of the infamous Darksaber, swords have been symbols of power and authority both in and out of fiction. Where the biggest and baddest guns, mech suits, and spaceships might be what empowers other sci-fi cultures, blades still seem to be heavily prevalent in a realm of blasters and Death Stars.

Lightsabers are the franchise’s biggest symbol, and they can be as elegant or as over-the-top as the warriors that wield them. Whether they are practiced duelists like Obi-Wan and Count Dooku or powerhouses like Grievous and Kylo Ren, blades are still the tools of the trade for mighty heroes and villains alike.

Many Monster Designs Are Fantasy Inspired

Sando Aqua Monster in Star Wars The Phantom Menace

Sea monsters, giants, yetis, and mysterious hooded beings all sound like things that would be more at home in a Tolkien novel or a d&d campaign rather than a sci-fi space opera. And yet, the Opee Sea Killer, Rancors, Wampas, and Jawas are some of the most recognizable creatures in the galaxy.

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Granted, there are just as many species in the universe that are strictly starwars, such as Wookiees, Ewoks, and Hutts, but the comparisons to races and beings seen in the fantasy genre are definitely there. For all the fans might know, there might even be a planet of elves, dwarves, and orcs somewhere in the Outer Rim.

Elegant Royals And Castles

Star Wars The Phantom Menace Theed Palace On Naboo

For a universe built on bright-lit cities, space stations, and intergalactic cantinas, there certainly are a lot of castles, palaces, and elaborate fortresses scattered across the galaxy. Though the series does have its own designated designed form of architecture, some structures can’t be called anything less than fantastic.

Such great examples include Darth Vader’s Castle on Mustafar, the Queen’s Palace on Naboo, and even Maz’s place of operations at Takodana Castle. All are large, elaborate, and imposing symbols of rule that could fit more on the cover of a DM screen than a faraway planet.

There Are Literal Dragons

The franchise has been one of the primary symbols of the sci-fi genre for ages, but for such a figurehead of the genre and its community, the galaxy certainly has more dragons than the average fantasy kingdom. While some might write the Krayt Dragon off as a singular occurrence, they aren’t the only species in the galaxy.

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The Krayt, the Carnellan, and even the mighty Mythosaur are all creatures of draconic origin in their design and behavior. Even the first canonical appearance of Boba Fett featured him riding on the back of a Panna Dragon in the Life Day special.

The Jedi Are Wizards

Alex Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977)

While George Lucas admitted to basing the Jedi on the Samurai, seasoned fantasy buffs can’t help but make more comparisons to the masters of the mystic arts than shoguns and daimyos. Apart from their “weapons of a more civilized age,” they have much more in common with characters like Merlin than the creations of Akira Kurosawa.

Consider the elements that make a basic wizard and that of a Jedi. They wear long flowing garments with large hoods, draw their powers from a mysterious source of energy, and can control elements, thoughts, and individuals through mastery of their art.

The Force Is A Mystical Energy

Yoda deflects Force lightning in Attack of the Clones

In the most basic of terms, the Force is this universe’s magic. It’s an energy that flows throughout the universe and connects all living things, and those who are in tune with it can use it to perform miracles or destruction. The same rules and inflections can be said about various other mysterious energies that flow throughout different realms.

Magic in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Mana in various novels and tabletop games, and other forms of inexplicable energy all share similarities with the Force. While mastery and tools of the trade might differ, it’s possibly the single most important fantasy distinction the series has to offer.

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