The Masters: Lucas
I am naming the second of the three fantasy masters of our time as George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars film series.
Lucas has a magnificently large imagination. He also had the genius to tap into the imaginations of others. Lucas is unique in that he drew a broad framework and then allowed others to add their imaginative input. This took the form of a variety of details in the films, with animals and aircraft and everything in between carefully imagined and portrayed. It also took the form of books–the set of books he authorized for the time period after the fall of the Empire, as Luke and Leia enter adulthood. The assistance of others gave Lucas’ work a breadth that it would not have had otherwise, unless he had devoted his life to the story as Tolkien did. Lucas’ resulting set of tales spans many centuries and worlds.
In contrast to Tolkien, Lucas is not a Christian. His galaxy long, long ago and far, far away has a deity of sorts, the Force, which can act for good and for evil. It appears that Lucas is offering an Eastern idea of God, which sees the life force as equally good and evil, yin and yang. This is also not a personal God as we Christians truly know Him to be.
But we all know “the force” isn’t real. This is fantasy, a backdrop for the story. Lucas isn’t trying to sell his audience on a new religion. Lucas’s characters behave in moral ways, good guys fighting against overwhelming odds to defeat evil in the end. Then there is Lucas’ keynote plot twist: that the ultimate evil villain turns out to be the father of the young hero. This tale has picked up a lot of resonance in our culture.