Star Wars: The Search for a Real Man

Han Chewy

***Spoiler Alert***

Yes, I am writing about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If you are one of the people who has not seen it yet, I encourage the six of you to avoid reading this post. Also, I am killing time and just blabbing right now so that the first paragraph doesn’t accidentally reveal anything in the opening blurb. I figure this is enough time.

Moving on…

I have seen the new Star Wars movie. Twice.  I loved it. It was beautifully done, fun to watch, decent, and a great homage to the original Star Wars. (Which I still can’t quite call #4.) Most everyone I know really liked it. It has an audience score of 91% on RottenTomatoes, with a critic score of 94%. Pretty much a solid consensus that it is a really good movie.

Somewhere during my second viewing (Which, I might add, I enjoyed more than the first viewing because I picked up on more things) I noticed something that has been bugging me a little bit. Now this is not a blanket condemnation of the movie or the Star Wars franchise, because I love them all – but I  have a question:

Where did all the real men go?

Seriously? Is it part of the “Jedi Code” that when the going gets tough, you run away?  Think about it – go all the way back to 1977. Where did we first meet Obi Wan Kenobi?

Ob-wan desert

That’s right. Hiding in the desert.

Next movie: Where did we meet Yoda?

Yoda Swamp

That’s right. Hiding in a swamp.

Fast-forward 40 years, and the tradition continues. Where do we find Luke Skywalker?

That’s right. Hiding on a mountaintop. On an island. In the middle of nowhere.

What’s with the brave Jedi? Sure, they all hit a rough patch and had some failed students, but is that how a real man responds? (I am defining “man” loosely, because I don’t know what Yoda is.)

I was looking around for a cross-stitch hanging on one of their walls that read:

“Use the Force: And if That Doesn’t Work- HIDE!”

And these are the GOOD guys.

The BAD guys are all examples of good guys who were raised right, trained in a better way, and then turned their back on it and became evil. Sure, I will grant you that Darth Vader had a brief flash of goodness when he tossed the Emperor – after destroying entire planets – but these villains – including Ben Solo/Kylo Ren – decided to chase after power and glory, and entertain their base emotions rather than just be good and noble. (It’s like D&C 121 gone horribly wrong in space.)

Which brings us to Han Solo. One of the all-time great characters of cinema. The man every guy wants to be, and the man every woman wants to rehabilitate.

Han Solo

Han! Bubby!  Please say it ain’t so. Please tell me that the coolest guy in the galaxy didn’t abandon his wife and his duties and return to a life of crime, just because he had a falling out with his son. Please say it ain’t so!

Did they really have to do that? Princess Leia “manned-up” and took on the duties of General, fighting the good fight. But Han? He went back to smuggling and palling around with his buddy from his single days. C’mon man! Don’t those vows mean anything? It made me sad.

I must admit that Leia didn’t seem to broken up about it – she knew who Han was when she married him. (Note to Women: Don’t go into a marriage expecting to change your spouse.) I imagine Han was hard to live with, and I’m guessing having Chewbacca hanging around would wreak havoc on the furniture and the plumbing. But still.

So, we find ourselves at the end of Episode VII, with all of our original male heroes effectively losing their Man Cards, What are we left with? Captain Morgana hanging tough. An awesome new girl, Rey, who (hopefully) will use the force for something other than finding a good hiding place.

There is hope in the horizon for some men we can count on. Finn might be that guy, even though he spent the first half of the movie trying to run away and hide. Poe, the pilot, seems to be a real man, willing to fight the fight, even if there is a little bit of Maverick in there.

But, overall, “In a galaxy far, far away” we don’t find a lot of honorable men. But perhaps…there is another.


Yes, I am aware that I will get plenty of hate and explanations why I am wrong from Star Wars fanboys. That’s OK. I just remind myself that they are Star Wars fanboys, and that makes me chuckle.








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  1. Let’s be clear about this guys. We can go looking through all of Star Wars for a real man. But what we really have to admit is that Princess Leia was ALWAYS more man than anyone else in the cast. That was always the point. I give that we want to see men who stand up, but there is something wise about a tactical retreat. Leia is always the hard charger. It’s always Luke and Han trying to reign her in. And that shows manliness too.

  2. They headed the promptings of The Force and retreated to rethink, regroup and analyze. What the heck middle aged mormon man? Examples of the men charging in while listening to The Force and also not listening to The Force or an older, wiser and more experienced Jedi: Luke ran into a potentially dangerous situation after he realized the droids had led the stormtroopers to his aunt and uncle but run he did to make sure they were safe even after Obi wan told him not to. It was Luke’s idea to rescue princess Leia when he realized the Millenium Falccon had been pulled onto the same ship where she was being detained. That was a successful rescue that had workings of The Force written all over it. Luke listened when he went to see Yoda and was learning a lot but then disobeyed him to save his friends. He charged straight into Cloud City to rescue his friends and ended up getting his hand chopped off. Luke really never finished his training even though Yoda said there was nothing more for him to learn, after all he was busy dieing at that moment and probably knew hard headed Luke wouldn’t listen anyway. Maybe that is why Yoda insisted that Anakin was too old to train. Same temperment as Luke who also started training after his bullheadedness and stubborness had set on a certain path. (guided too much by fear) Luke saved his friend Han from gross Jabba the Hutt. Confronted Vader right in front of Darth Sidious. That would have been scary for anybody, we all would have peed our pants. For Heaven’s sake Vader can crush neck bones by pinching the air and Sidious can zap people like moths. Windu went after Sidious which is courageous but stupid without enough backup, after all he was a Sith Lord. Should have taken a step back from that one to listen to Force promptings about how to go about caging that nasty man. Luke used The Force to disable the Death Star the first time. Charged right in as a pilot and listened when he was told to use The Force by Obi Wan. Obi Wan did indeed stay on Tatooine to look after Luke and he says so right before taking the new born Luke to his step aunt and uncle. Yoda knew the Dark Side had the upper hand after the conflict with Sidious and it was time to retreat. Most of the Jedi had been murdered and it was time to wait for a new group to appear. Same with Luke. The new generation of Jedi were murdered by his nephew. Time to retreat to rethink, wait for a new group, analyze mistakes and tap in to a better Force frequency. He needed to heal and make sure hate was not driving him. There is a lot more but I’m done for now. LOL

    1. (Thanks for proving my point.) It is quite obvious that over the arc of the 7 movies that the dark side is much more adept at using the Force than the good side. Oh, and only cowards hide out for decades then call it “Regrouping.” How many planets full of people were killed while Luke was “rethinking?”

  3. Haven’t seen it. One day I probably will. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed your well timed one liners!

  4. “I was looking around for a cross-stitch hanging on one of their walls that read:

    “Use the Force: And if That Doesn’t Work- HIDE!””

    Oh gosh. You’ve given me an idea for my next craft project.

  5. I think Obi-Wan was hiding out on Tatooine for two reasons…one was to keep the identity of Luke & Lei safe (no mind extraction on him) and two, to keep an eye on Luke from a distance.

  6. Not to put Jedi on the same level as prophets or Jesus! I’m not THAT big of a Star Wars nerd:)

  7. I see your point but even biblically good men/prophets took time out. Moses to Sinai, Jesus to fast for fortydays. Maybe these Jedi are doing likewise?

  8. Dear MMM,

    First the admission, I haven’t seen the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I loved the first trilogy (IV -VI) but the second trilogy installment kind of let me down. This isn’t the place to air the reasons for my disappointment, but rather to comment on your post.

    I love your insight into a subtle message in this much beloved series, that has previously escaped my notice. I guess I always assumed that Luke would retain his man card, especially with the way Return of the Jedi unfolded. Alas, from what you’ve said, he seems to have followed in the footsteps of Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda. (I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Obi Wan did step up and do the right thing after his sojourn in the desert, so maybe there’s hope that others will reclaim their man cards as well.)

    All in all, your post has touched on something that has been troubling me for years now. To some extent our society has turned its collective back on the masculine traits that once defined the best of what it meant to carry a man card. Respect for womanhood, a desire to protect and provide for your wife and children, a level of commitment to marriage and family that said you would stick with it no matter how hard it got, even if it quite literally “killed” you. I suspect I’m a bit older than you, but these are character traits and attributes that were taught to me as a child, and held up as examples to be emulated by those who were adults at the time. Admittedly, there have always been a host of other traits attributed to the “masculine” gender that are less desirable, but the ones I’m talking about, the ones that meant you were a “real man” were evident in abundance in the way Christ lived his life.

    I know such sentiments are no longer politically correct, but I long to see society recognize and embrace the differences between men and women, at least as once defined by traditional roles, and realize that humanity and civilization is stronger when our differences complement the roles and traits of the opposite gender. I would love to be able to practice the chivalry of my childhood without being looked down upon. To do something as simple as holding a door for a woman, without the question of whether or not she’ll take offense at what is meant as a courtesy and show of respect. (David O McKay lived an example I strive to emulate. I’m not wheelchair bound, but after 39 years of marriage I still open the door for my wife.)

    Bottom line, I’d love to see more entertainment that promotes the positive differences between the genders, the benefits derived when people become the best man or woman they can be. Entertainment that inspires us to develop personal integrity, and display the grit necessary to “man” up, or “woman” up to the potential our Heavenly Father has endowed us with. For whatever it’s worth, that’s my 2¢.

  9. I love your thoughts and your posts. My 1st thought was Moroni. He ran from the lamanites and ended up alone… For the greater good. If Luke hadnt then there would be no hope… Just a thought.

  10. Did you know Mark Hamill is the same age (63) in The Force Awakens as Sir Alec Guiness was in the original Star Wars movie?

    With that in mind, this fangirl agrees with you about the man card mass surrender in The Force Awakens. It mirrors the dramatic changes men have experienced in our lifetime as part of the mass social experiment that started in the 1960’s.

    Many men growing up in the 70’s had fathers/grandfathers who served in WWII, who taught moral values to young men as living examples: working to financially support the family, setting family rules/boundaries and enforcing them, enjoying time spent with male friends over hunting, fishing, golf, etc

    Fast-forward through the rising divorce rate from 1970-1990 as single women became head of household until today where it is THE most common type of household in the US. An entire generation of men grew up with their mother, rather than father, as their primary role model.

    This generation also voted in Obama (twice).The guys see themselves as Pajamaboy. They introduced us to the Brony phenomenon.

    But young women today, like Rey in the movie, adore the Real Man as represented by the 1st edition Han Solo (not the post-modern, feminized version seen in the movie). Can those men ever return?

    PS. Past participle is manned up, not ‘maned up’, which is what made me start thinking about MLP in the first place.

  11. Great observations. It seems that Hollywood can’t figure out how to make strong female characters other than by making the men weak. Sad.

  12. I agree with you. I kept wondering why Luke was hiding. He’s the last Jedi. He needed to step up and train the next generation. Unless, of course, Rey is is daughter, and in order to hide her from the Knights of Ren, he hid her on Jakku and then hid himself, so that nobody could Force-extract her location from his mind. It’s a stretch but possibly a good motive for hiding. Other than that, you’re right. There is a real shortage of good men in the Star Wars universe. Then again, there’s a shortage of good men in our universe too. Luckily we have the Force’s true inspiration, The Priesthood. The priesthood does a much better job of teaching boys to be men than the Force ever did, and it’s real.

  13. I just had a very similar conversation with a coworker. I pointed out that many of the Eastern philosophies that are inspiration for the Jedi have a tradition of the guru waiting or hidden for the chosen student to find them.

    But really, when it comes down to it, I totally agree. Its funny that Han bothered me more than Luke. I mean, I can make up potential excuses for Luke. “He was seeking for new students/more education/a secret weapon/some other McGuffin.” But Han, not so much.

  14. Totally agree! I watched it first time and came away knowing I would tell my boys I was disappointed in how the men were portrayed. So grateful they see strong men in their lives through family, church and school everyday because the media has forgotten they exist.

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