Star Wars/Arthurian Legend Comparison
This is less of a theory and more of a comparison to the Arthurian legend.
Some may recall my having posted this in a thread it TheForce.Netís literature forum.
There I refereed to it as a twisted version of both the over all Star Wars saga, as seen in
the movies and novelizations, and the Arthurian legends. It is actually more of a
confusing tale. If you follow the Arthurian legends, and even if you donít, you should be
able to follow the Arthurian portion of this tale with easy. It is more the Star Wars version
that becomes difficult to follow. That is, the Star Wars portion can get a bit confusing
because characters, the Force, organizations, etc. tend to play more than one role. So at
times you might find yourself asking just who is this Star Wars character within the
Arthurian legend at this time For instance, during their duel aboard the second Death Star,
Luke is Arthur, Sir Modred, and Sir Bedivere all at the same time while Vader is both
Arthur and Sir Modred at this time.
The table below will give you some idea of who or what some of the Star Wars figures
represent within the Arthurian legend. Mind you, it is only a partial list for some of these
characters while for others it may well be a complete list. Within the tale, you will find
even more changes occurring for some characters. Just try to think of the table as a
stepping stone to better understanding the tale.
|Star Wars Character
and Other Star Wars
|Arthurian Character or |
|Anakin Skywalker ||Arthur, Lancelot |
|Darth Vader || Arthur, Sir Modred|
|Palpatine ||A dark Merlin, Sir Modred|
|Shmi Skywalker ||Igraine, Sir Ector|
|Qui-Gon Jinn||Merlin, Sir Ector, the sword in the stone|
|Padme/Amidala ||Qwynevere, Queen Margawse, Princess
|Luke Skywalker|| Arthur, Sir Modred, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad,
|The Force ||Excalibur, Qwynevere, the Holy Grail(the light side only),
Merlin, King Uther
Now that you have seen the table and gotten some idea of how things can get confusing,
lets move on to the little Star Wars, Arthurian legend comparison tale I put together. On
last thing before you get started. Parenthesis are used to identify the Star Wars character
or material that is represented by the Arthurian character, object, or event.
Of course we have an immaculate conception, according to TPM (The Phantom Menace),
of Anakin. The speculation is that it was the will of the Force that Shmi conceive Anakin.
Again, I say this is speculation because we don't truly know for certain. Perhaps that is
what happened, or perhaps Shmi was drugged so as to be unable to recall how the
conception actually takes place. But for this tale's purpose, weíll say that the father was
the Force. So Merlin (the Force) disguises King Uther Pendragon (the Force, later
Anakin) as the Duke of Tintagil so that he may lie with Igraine (Shmi, later Padme),
whom he covets.
Uther and Igraine conceive a son, Arthur (Anakin Skywalker). Yet because of his deal
with Merlin, the two are not able to care for their son as they may wish. Merlin takes the
babe and places him in the care of Sir Ector (Shmi) until the day comes when he shall rise
to the throne.
The day comes when Ector brings both his son Sir Kay (SW character unknown, perhaps
it's Shmi or Padme, or even Anakin) and Arthur to a tournament proclaimed for New
Year's Day. Kay finds his sword is missing at the tournament site and begs Arthur to
return to their lodging and fetch it. Unable to get in, Arthur remembers seeing a sword in
a stone in the church yard and goes to get it. He effortlessly takes the sword in the stone
(Qui-Gon) and brings it to Kay. Kay claims he drew it, but Ector knows the truth of who
Arthur is and who the sword was meant for. Ector (Qui-Gon) tells Arthur (Anakin) who
Many of the kings (the Jedi Council) within Arthur's kingdom refuse to accept Arthur as
the chosen successor (the Chosen One) to Uther (here Uther is actually the prophecy of
the Chosen One). It is Merlin (Qui-Gon) who tells them that Arthur (Anakin) is the
rightful king, and that he is destined for greatness. Merlin then begins instructing Arthur.
Arthur defeats the rebellious kings and proves himself to be the true king. But after a
time, while riding through the forest one day, Arthur comes across King Pellinore (Darth
Maul). The two fight, and Pellinore manages to break the sword Arthur had withdrawn
from the stone within the churchyard (Qui-Gon). It is due to Merlin that Pellinore does
not kill Arthur. Merlin (Obi-Wan) brings Arthur to a nearby lake where the Lady of the
Lake (SW character or reference unknown, could be the Jedi Council, the Force, or
Obi-Wan. Most likely Obi-Wan) presents Arthur (Anakin) with a better sword, Excalibur
(both training in the light side of the Force and a lightsaber).
Prior to all this, Arthur has unknowingly slept with his own aunt, Queen Margawse
(Padme). The result is the conception of Modred (Luke). After it, Arthur weds
Until the treachery of Nyneve (SW character uncertain based on where one looks, the Jedi
Purge and turning of Anakin makes it Palpatine. Vader is also Nyneve, both when he kills
Obi-Wan and when he kills Palpatine), Merlin (Obi-wan. After the turning of Anakin,
Palpatine) continues to be a guiding force to Arthur (Anakin, and later Luke). He helps
mold Arthur into a just king.
Eventually, Arthur (Anakin, later Luke) is forced into a war with the Roman Emperor
Lucius (the Jedi order, later Palpatine). With the aid of many of his best known knights,
including Sir Lancelot (Imperial troops, later Han), Arthur manages to defeat Lucius (the
Jedi Order, later Palpatine) and becomes the next Emperor of Rome.
(It should be noted that this war has two SW reference points to it. The first, with Vader
as Arthur, is the Jedi Purge. Here, though Merlin is by now lost to Arthur in the legend,
Palpatine claims the role of Merlin to Vader's Arthur. The second is the Rebellion, with
Luke being Arthur and Palpatine is Lucius.)
While seeking adventure after a feast, Lancelot (Anakin) ends up feasting with King
Pelles (essentially, the Naboo. However, this could also be Qui-Gon, through whom
Anakin first meets with Padme). During the feast, he observes an interesting scene. A
scene of which he gets his first ever sight of the Holy Grail (Anakin's introduction to the
Force thanks to Qui-Gon). Pelles is determined that Lancelot should be with his daughter
Elaine (Padme). Lancelot is put under a spell (Anakin's love for Padme) and goes to
Elaine, believing she is Qwynevere. They conceive a son, who will be knighted Sir
Galahad (Luke) when he is old enough. It will be Galahad who finally recovers the Holy
Grail (the light side of the Force returned to the fore).
Eventually, Modred (Luke, also the Alliance) begins stirring up trouble for Arthur (Vader,
also Palpatine and the Empire). He proves Lancelot (the Jedi order) and Qwynevere (the
light side) are having an affair. Lancelot manages to escape while Qwynevere (the light
side) is convicted of treason and adultery, and sentenced to be burnt at the stake the Jedi
Purge, which nearly succeeded in snuffing out the light side). Lancelot (Luke), learns of
this and rescues Qynevere (the light side).
While Arthur (the Empire) and Lancelot (the Alliance) wage war with one another,
Modred attempts to take Arthur's throne. Arthur (Vader) learns of Modred's treason and
rushes back to deal with him. Modred (Luke) leads his forces into battle with Arthur's
(Vader) forces. As the two opposing forces do battle Arthur (both Luke and Vader) and
Modred (again, both Luke and Vader) meet in mortal combat. Arthur (Luke) manages to
kill Modred (Vader). Yet Modred (Palpatine) deals Arthur (Anakin) a mortal blow. Sir
Lucas and Sir Bedivere (Luke) move Arthur from the battlefield. Sir Lucas dies from
wounds he received in battle and Arthur (both Anakin and Vader), knowing he is about to
follow his loyal knight, commands Sir Bedivere (Luke) to throw Excalibur into a nearby
lake. After twice failing to do as ordered, Bedivere (both Luke and Anakin) finally casts
Excalibur (Luke's lightsaber) into the lake. He returns and tells Arthur the deed is done.
Arthur dies shortly there after.
(It should be noted that Luke is the Modred who kills Vader in the guise of Arthur. At the
same time he is also playing Bedivere as here Excalibur is represented by returning
Anakin from the dark side. When Anakin returns, Vader dies. Thus Luke as Modred kills
Vader as Arthur. And seeing what he has done to his father and banishing his anger
causes Vader as Arthur to kill Luke's Modred. Luke is Bedivere when he casts his
lightsaber, which is Excalibur, aside and then causes Anakin to purge himself of Vader,
thus killing Vader.
Also, Luke becomes Arthur's throne when he begs Vader to save him from Palpatine,
who is now Mordred. Anakin Skywalker returns after seeing what Palpatine has done to
both him and his son. Anakin, who is now Arthur, kills Palpatine's Modred, but suffers a
mortal blow thanks to him. By having Luke act as Bedivere, Anakin has him remove his
mask, which is now Excalibur. The removal of the mask is the equal of Excalibur being
cast into the lake and returned to the Lady of the Lake. In this case, the Lady of the Lake
is also a mark of Anakin's return to the light side and of his becoming one with the
And there you have it, my sometimes confusing Arthurian legend/Star Wars comparison
tale. Yes, some things may need further explanation as they do not exactly happen this
way in the movies and novels. Remember, part of it is how you look at it. For example,
Anakin and Padme are supposed to get married. Prior to that, neither is related. Nor does
love, acting as Merlin or another spell caster, make Anakin think Padme is anyone but
Padme/Amidala. He knows who it is he's in love with. And Luke is not a bastard child as
Galahad is. But it is the context which they fit into the Arthurian tale that makes things
seem wrong. Lancelot did not know who Galahad was when he first met him, just as
Vader did not know he was flying against his own son during the Battle of Yavin.
And a final note, my twisted little tale is based on Sir Thomas Maloryís Le Morte
The following came from a discussion in TheForce.Netís Literature Forum in which an
element of the latest New Jedi Order book was being compared to the Sword in the Stone.
I was responding to a comment on who was actually the Star Wars equivalent of King
Actually, there is no true "Arthur" of the EXPANDED UNIVERSE.
Various characters have played various Arthurian roles at various times. Luke has been
Arthur, Modred, and even Excalibur. Most recently he's also played Merlin. Anakin
Skywalker has been Arthur, Modred, and even Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father.
Lightsabers have been Excalibur, the Force the Sword in the Stone, the pod race in which
Anakin wins his freedom becomes the Sword in the Stone, Qui-Gon Merlin, etc. If you've
read Malory's Le Morte DíArthur, you know that there Excalibur and the Sword in the
Stone are two separate swords. Arthur receives Excalibur there from the Lady of the Lake
after the Sword in the Stone is destroyed in battle with King Pellinore. Which then make's
Obi-Wan the Lady of the Lake when he presents Luke with Anakin's lightsaber, which
represents Excalibur at this point and Luke's introduction to the Force and his heritage
become the shattered Sword in the Stone.
Added September 3, 2001.
Updated November 13, 2003