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The Dark Side Explores the Disturbing Parts of STAR WARS

Welcome back to the Dark Side, Bizarros! This week, Andrew Bowser and Jessica Chobot are digging in to the Dark Side of…Star Wars.

No, not that Dark Side. This episode is all about the unbelievable true stories, weird history, and creepy tales from a galaxy far, far away.

Kicking things off: George Lucas based Stormtroopers off Nazis. The Nazi Paramilitary was called “Sturmabteilung,” which literally translates from German to English as “Storm Detachment.” So much for Subtlety, George, Nicknaming your Imperial soldiers after Nazis. That’s almost as subtle as naming an important father figure “Darth Vader.” There was another wing of the German military that was also referred to as Stormtroopers – a bit farther back, in World War One. These troops moved in smaller groups and relied on stealth tactics.

The comparisons to Nazi Germany in Star Wars don’t stop there. Lucas referred to Imperial officers as “Nazis” in the commentary for The Empire Strikes Back, when describing their costuming: “The Nazis are basically the same costume as we used in the first film and they are designed to be very authoritarian, very Empire-like.”


The Nazi imagery is also present in the new era of Star Wars films. Star Wars sequel director and number one Spielberg fanboy J.J. Abrams has referenced Nazis directly when describing the First Order, which is the Empire reborn. In an interview with Empire Magazine, Abrams described the First Order as “What would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again?”

Moving on to a different nefarious group: ISIS was causing some trouble in the real life Tatooine. The Tunisian town of Tatouine, which George Lucas based the planet of Tatooine on, was being used by ISIS for passage into Libya. There was also a (proven false) rumor about ISIS using the old Lars homestead, but that set is safe and has since been opened to a music festival, according to the Tunisian government.


On the subject of Tatooine – apparently, George Lucas wanted the ending of Return of the Jedi to be much darker! According to J.W Rinzler’s comprehensive “Making Of” book, George Lucas pitched a complete heel turn of an ending to the writers and producers. During that meeting, Lucas said: “Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing — and then Luke puts it on and says, ‘Now I am Vader.’ Surprise! The ultimate twist. ‘Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe.’” Pretty shocking, right? Although this ending would have been interesting on a storytelling level, we’re glad Luke is still a good guy.

Another real life Star Wars connection are the “Star Wars” Murders. Several employees of the British company Marconi died in mysterious and unexplained ways, after they worked on the American Strategic Defense Initiative, which the press had nicknamed “Star Wars.” While these deaths were never officially connected, the creepiness persists.

Finally, Chewbacca has a connection to Bigfoot! While shooting Return of the Jedi, Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew had to walk to and from set with security in brightly colored vests to ward off errant Bigfoot hunters! Thankfully, the production went off without interference.

So there you have it – besides Star Wars canonical Dark Side, there’s a lot beneath the surface in the world of weird. Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below!


Images: Lucasfilm

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