So there’s an element of the original Star Wars trilogy that has stuck out in my mind before, and I figure I’d finally try diving deep into the subject. Certainly I won’t be the first or the last person to address this, but nevertheless, here we go. It all revolves around the line: “I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”
With that statement from Empire, I began to wonder to whom or what Vader thinks Lando should pray to for salvation from his ever changing deal? The dark side of the Force? The light side of the Force? The First Church of Calrissian? And furthermore, does a true “religion” (as we’re familiar with the term) centered around the Force even exist in the Star Wars universe? I’d argue that it does, and that it unequivocally must be at the very core of a spiritual belief structure for all of the “civilized” areas of the galaxy.
From a certain point of view, which Obi-Wan considers to be true, there are three key aspects I see that lend credence to the idea that the Force must be at the heart of a unified “galactic church”.
Number one: This is the biggie – the Force clearly exists. Period. Most of the time it can only be sensed by a select few, while at other times it can allow little green men to toss around starfighters like trash, or some dark side Space Pope to hit Mark Hamill with lightning. While the Force might be mysterious, even to those who use it, it is something that definitively exists for the residents of the galaxy far, far away.
Number two: Belief in the Force helped shape organized views on religion. Just take Han Solo’s opinion for example. Han’s just a regular guy, cruisin’ about the stars and smuggling to make ends meat. What thoughts does this average dude hold regarding religion? Well, I believe he calls such a belief system “hokey” (he is kind of a terrible person, so I guess his intolerance shouldn’t be such a shock). However, and this is important: he doesn’t flat out deny it’s existence.
The Jedi and Sith seem to steal the spotlight in the movies and books. They’re interesting, and consist of people who not only believe in the Force, but have the power to manipulate it to their own ends. However, I prefer to look to Han and his agnostic-Force views as a better gauge of the galactic perspective. That aside, when the guy who’s running the Empire is also the evil Space Pope, it is a bit hard to deny the reach of the Dark Vatican.
Number three: Denizens of Star Wars seem to have some minor impact on the Force by making places more or less dark side-ish depending on their level of being a dick to one another. However, their belief in it’s existence is almost totally irrelevant. Allow me to direct you to one Admiral Motti. He’s just your regular career military type, working most of his life to climb up the Imperial ladder. He may be a little rough around the edges, but hey, you don’t make admiral by giving out hugs.
Motti’s viewpoint is that the Force is a stupid little superstition which doesn’t seem to impact his life at all. He’s doing pretty damn good actually: he’s got a high ranking government job, probably a nice pension and I’d like to think owns a quaint B&B by a lake. His only mistake was to voice his thoughts on the relevance of the Force to one of the four people in the whole galaxy who could show him the err of his ways.
Regardless of his actions the Force, as it seems to operate, didn’t seek out vengeance against Motti or anyone else. Hell, around the same time Motti was being choked Solo was making similar comments to Luke and Obi-Wan. Yet, he was able to finish his sentence without so much as a gasp. All of this leads me to believe that when someone suggests that you start praying to anything in the galaxy of Star Wars, that thing should probably be the Force.
And if nothing else Lando, do it anyways because it’s probably best not to piss off the magical cyborg with a fucking laser sword.