The greatest revelations throughout Star Wars history have been based around family and, when the battles are over, it is to family – both genetic and found – that our heroes return. It is the theme of connection – reflected in every aspect of the narrative, including the Force – that anchors the universe for the audience, because connection is something that is a basic need in human nature. We all need to feel connected to something, and in Star Wars, the characters are as connected to each other as they are to the galaxies through which they travel.
This is why, ultimately, so many people feel connected to Star Wars, and so many people have flocked to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The prequels – The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith – were less successful because the sense of connection within the stories was less palpable, and did not have the necessary amount of emphasis. JJ Abrams has reignited that theme with aplomb, though, and in doing so, has expanded the Skywalker family tree even further.
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In seven films, released over 38 years, we have been introduced to four generations of the same family, and these generations have determined the course of the Star Wars universe. The Skywalker family is the beating heart of the franchise – sometimes warm, sometimes ice cold, but always there, anchoring the narrative. Like all families, they are filled with dark secrets and estrangements. They express love, loathing, trust, distrust, loyalty, betrayal, pride and shame.
They exist in extraordinary circumstances and are faced with fantastical challenges – but they remain a relatable dynasty. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has introduced welcome new blood into the family fold, so now is an interesting time to explore some Skywalker genealogy.
Be warned, however – inevitable, giant spoilers lie within.