Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Star Wars Prequels, Pt. 3: Costumes and Cities

Jedi knights don't dress like this:

That's the outfit Obi-Wan wears when he's playing the old hermit on Tattoine. It's also how Luke's uncle dresses; essentially, it's the "Tattoine man" uniform.

Jedi knights dress like this:

Imagine Sam Jackson done up like that.
Also, one of the major differences between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy is that most of the action in the former takes place in beautiful, classical cities, while in the latter, it's almost all space stations, ships, and very sparsely populated planets and their spaceports. I like the contrast, but I think it demands explanation. When and why does the Empire seem to decamp, permanently spreading its power through its fleet? The Death Star isn't just a planet-destroying weapon: it's also a mobile and nearly impregnable fortress to project power. In the early stages of the rebellion, did the Imperial fleet level cities? In the absence of the Jedi, did social order dissolve? Did the Emperor grow paranoid like Dick Cheney? These questions demand answers.


Gavin said...

You're right that Lucas made a bonehead choice when creating his Jedi costumes, but that's not necessarily to say that Luke's outfit in ROTJ is meant to be or useful as a model for Jedi dress. Remember that Luke is almost entirely on his own in shaping himself as a Jedi, and is likely to thus create an entirely new model for Jedi appearance rather than inhabit the old tradition.

It's exactly right, though, that Obi Wan's outfit in SW doesn't make any sense as a disguise if it's what he always wore as a Jedi, and it doesn't make any sense for Uncle Owen to be running around in what is basically Jedi dress.

Star Wars literature makes the argument that Jedi dress during the Republic is meant to be humble, and to mimic the dress of the surrounding culture rather than act to separate the Jedi, but if that is true, then nearly every Jedi should dress differently, based on their native culture. They shouldn't all dress the same.

And the "native dress" explanation doesn't really fit in with SW, where the Jedi are described as mystics and clerics. Luke's dress in ROTJ is based on a priest's outfit, which is consistent with SW's model of the Jedi, even though, perhaps, it shouldn't be.

(In short, the Jedi should be warrior monks, not diplomats, and while the prequel Jedi dress actually fits the warrior monk model, it doesn't make any sense for the "international diplomat with a big sword" role that they inhabit.)

Claudia said...

My son is a great fan of Star Wars Costume. He visited your site and he really love that
Jedi Costume. He wants that costume for the Halloween.