Star Wars certainly has plenty of subtext. There are political undertones, romantic underpinnings, and notions of social justice (which have been there since 1977, Kathleen Kennedy haters; don’t pretend they haven’t). One of the most prevalent themes, however, is also of the least talked-about. The Star Wars Universe wouldn’t be much without the underlying issue of parental attachment/detachment. What better time than Mother’s Day to explore the mommy issues of Star Wars.
We knew back when the original Star Wars first hit theaters that Luke Skywalker was an orphan. His Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru cared for the son of Skywalker. It ultimately cost them their lives. Their relationship with Luke, especially between Luke and Owen, showed plenty of signs of detachment and resentment. Further, Beru, though a maternal surrogate, seemed to support her husband over her nephew. That likely didn’t earn her any homemade Mother’s Day cards from her nephew.
Happy Mother’s Day… Except in Star Wars
No, Mother’s Day isn’t what you would call a high holiday in the galaxy far, far away. Anakin Skywalker’s almost Oedipal attachment to his mother Shmi has a huge, contributing factor to his eventual downfall. Likewise, Padmé’s complacency in Anakin’s murderous ways didn’t exactly extol her maternal virtue, either. She’d go on to bear him two children. Like Beru, she’d lose her life for the privilege of caring for Skywalker offspring. Her Mother’s Day was also her last.
The theme of maternal detachment continues through the sequel trilogy. Rey’s search for her parents, and her identity, is a driving plot point of the final films of the Skywalker Saga. Additionally, Kylo Ren is an angst-ridden pile of mommy and daddy issues. He literally killed his father but seemingly maintained some kind of attachment to his mother. Thus, his mommy issues continue to fuel the conflict within the grandson of Darth Vader and Padmé Amidala. Mother’s Day in the Solo household? Awkward….
Maternal Detachment a Prevalent Theme throughout the Franchise
There are plenty of other characters with parental issues in Star Wars, too. First there’s Han “I have no people” Solo. While he references his father in Solo: A Star Wars Story, there’s no mention of his mother. And then there’s Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels. He’s another trying to find his sense of self without any maternal guidance.
I understand that there is a certain adversity born from a lack of maternal influence. And yes, it can be challenging, and life-affecting, having no one with whom to celebrate Mother’s Day. Still, one wonders why this particular issue is so prevalent and present throughout the Star Wars franchise. Perhaps George Lucas had some deep-seated mommy issues of which we’re unaware.
Whatever the reason for the pervasive mommy issues in Star Wars, there’s no denying the fact that they’ve made for some good story lines.