May the Fourth be with you...Or has it always been with you? We look at eight ways Star Wars seems to be an extension of Arab culture...
Today is May the Fourth and on televisions across the world, TV personalities attempt to prove they are culturally in touch opening their shows with “May the Fourth be with you.” If you do not understand this reference then what are you doing clicking on this? Since May the Fourth only happens once a year, we figured today would be the perfect day to explore all the Arab influences incorporated in the globally beloved Star Wars franchise.
Is it Jedi or Al-Jeddi?
If you heart is pure and wishes to bring balance to the force then you aspire to be Jedi. However, what many may not know is the word for Jedi was arguably derived from the Arabic word Al- Jeddi, which describes a person as a master of the mystic-warrior way. The Arabic term was used centuries ago during the forgotten age where Sci-fi literature blossomed in the Arab world.
Training to be a Jedi is a Lot Like Training to Be a Sheikh
For Muslim scholars to become sheikhs they must learn from a Sheikh for years in order to gain the permission to teach others about Islam, sort of how like how Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda, respectable Jedi masters, trained Luke Skywalker in the mystic warrior ways of the Jedi.
Tatooine isn’t Just Skywalker's Home Planet; it’s a Town in Tunisia
For many die-hard fans, Tatooine can be found on the outer edges of the galaxy and will always be better known as the home planet of Luke Skywalker. However, for some Tunisians the desert planet found in the binary system can be visited without having to acquire a star ship. Lucas picked the name after deciding to film Luke’s home world in the town of Tataouine. For many die-hard fans, this barren desert town has become somewhat of a Star Wars pilgrimage.
The Sand People/Tusken Raiders Are Inspired by Nomadic Arab Tribes
Scattered across Arabian deserts are several nomadic tribes. Their beliefs and fashion seem to have inspired the same Sand People/Tusken Raiders that appear in the franchise. Wearing similar robes, the nomadic tribes have been known to ignore conventional laws much like ISIS who is currently spreading terror in the Middle East. Report of ISIS kidnappings and executions dominate the news almost daily and are very reminiscent to the lawless Tusken Raiders who tortured and killed Anakin’s Skywalker’s mother in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In vengeance, Anakin decided to kill them all including women and children, which ultimately lead him down the path to becoming Darth Vader.
Episode II: Attack of the Omar Sharif References
Many Star Wars fans believe that the style of filming and part of Lawrence of Arabia’s plot can be found in the beloved Sci-Fi series. In Episode II Attack of the Clones, Padme walks around the Theed Palace in Naboo chatting with Anakin. The scene is shot in the Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain, which is the same filming location that acted as the British army headquarters in Cairo in Lawrence of Arabia. Coincidentally Padme and Anakin retreat to an estate called Varykino, the same name as the Gromeko family estate in Doctor Zhivago. Obviously, Omar Sharif didn’t inspire Star Wars, however we figure its worth pointing that this Egyptian actor had leading roles in both Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.
If Admiral Ackbar Wasn’t Fictional He’d Likely Be Dead.
Ask a Muslim who is ackbar and the immediate response would be Allah of course, you infidel. In Arabic, Ackbar (Akbar) means great/greatest and usually follows any mention of Allah. In the film series Admiral Ackbar is a heroic character and military commander who helps Luke and the Rebel Alliance to repel Darth Vader’s Galactic Empire. Some will say that this connection is too loose and blasphemous, however is not the only Arabic word used to derive a name of a place or person in the franchise. Jamilla is Arabic variation on the word beautiful and so happens to be the name of the Queen Jamilla who appears in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Darth Vader’s home planet is called Mustafar, while in Arabic Mustafa means chosen one.
Is Yoda Inspired by Prophet Al-Khidr?
Al Khidr is a mystical figure that some believe is described in the Quran as a righteous servant of God possessing great wisdom or mystic knowledge. In various Islamic and non-Islamic traditions, Khidr is described as a messenger, prophet, wali or in some cases as a deity who takes the worldly place of God. In Arabic, Al-Khidr translates to ‘the green one’ and in Star Wars Yoda is considered one of the most powerful and wisest Jedi, who ultimately guides Luke on the righteous path... and just happens to be green.
Jabba the Hut Arab Inspired Addiction
Jabba the Hut is a vile creature despised by all in the galaxy much like Mortada Mansour is unanimously despised across Egypt. Always seen smoking some sort of shisha like device we imagine that the hookah inspired Jabba’s vice of choice and that Mortada Mansour himself inspired Jabba’s loathed character traits.