The Plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Basically 1978’s Battlestar Galactica
Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues to divide fans upset with the creative choices it made. For some, Luke Skywalker being a reluctant recluse didn’t feel right. To others, the Rose-Finn romance felt forced and annoying. And don’t get us started on Snoke. But while many of the creative choices felt like writer/director Rian Johnson’s original ideas (the light-speed ramming and the green milk scene, for example), a whole lot of them seemed familiar. Especially if you’ve seen 1978’s Battlestar Galactica.
Fans who favor the more recent reboot often dismiss classic Galactica, probably because the TV series had many cheesy moments. But the pilot –experienced by those of us who grew up overseas as a standalone movie — was something else entirely. With elaborate models, expensive effects, a large cast of memorable characters and a clear desire to compete with Star Wars, it was epic.
Somehow we suspect that Johnson agrees, because The Last Jedi has a lot more in common with OG Battlestar Galactica than you might suspect.
A Rag-Tag Fleet on the Run
Both movies begin with the premise that the enemy has wiped out the homebase for our heroes. In The Last Jedi, the Republic was taken out in the prior movie, and now the Resistance base has been destroyed as well. In Galactica, it’s the 12 Colonies, who fell for a peace offering by the Cylons. Naturally, the evil Cylons had no intention of keeping their word. The end result is the same: all of the remaining ships form a convoy to find safe haven before the Cylons/First Order can catch them. The Galactica is guided only by the legend of a place called Earth. The Resistance likewise hope that someone, somewhere will come to their aid. Although that hope was fairly nebulous, if we’re being honest.
A Hero’s Eyes Are Opened With a Cross-Class Love Interest
Straight-arrow Apollo and reckless Starbuck were clearly based on Luke Skywalker and Han Solo back in the day, but they make decent mirrors for Poe and Finn as well. Apollo, a Colonial pilot who nonetheless comes from privilege, learns about the suffering of the underclass when he tries to distribute food among all of the ships that have joined their group. That’s where Apolo falls for Serina, a broadcaster and refugee who shows him how civilians are suffering. Together, they empower a small boy — Serina’s son, Boxey — who will one day become a Colonial Warrior himself when the show becomes Galactica 1980.
Finn, a hero who comes from the First Order, learns about the suffering of the underclasses from Rose, a working-class tech who falls for him. Together, they empower several small children, including one strongly implied to have future Jedi potential.
A Rival Authority Figure Threatens to Undo Everything
The results here are different, but the twist is similar. Sire Uri, who believes the Cylons are no longer a threat, overrules Commander Adama. In The Last Jedi, Admiral Holdo appears to overrule a comatose General Leia. Holdo turns out to be right, Uri dead wrong, but both result in subterfuge by the best pilots on hand.
A Cute Space Animal, Mostly Irrelevant to the Plot, Steals the Show
Yes, it’s true. Porgs are the Muffit II of the 21st century. Though we daresay there’s a touch of BB-8 in the robo-Daggit as well.
The Main Villain Is a Traitor Who Runs Afoul of His Boss
Like Baltar, Kylo Ren once lived in good-guy civilization. But Kylo cemented his turn to evil by leading the destruction of a key base (in this case, the Jedi Temple). Although when Baltar runs afoul of Imperious Leader, it’s Imperious Leader who wins. However, Baltar proved so popular that the show retconned his death and the evil alien spared him for future episodes. We’ll see what they do with Snoke next movie, but suspect a partial retcon of some sort.
A Casino Planet Has a Dark Underbelly
Go figure. You mean casinos, which seem fun, are also exploitative? Granted, that’s an obvious enough metaphor for anyone to grab on to. On Canto Bight, the rich get richer while happyily selling weapons to both sides. They also abuse the animals and children living down below. On Carillon, gamblers from all corners of the galaxy, good and bad, can’t believe their luck until the elevators go to the basement. That’s where they find themselves cocooned to become insect food.
The Bad Guys Beaten With a Bluff
When the Resistance appears cornered on the planet Crait, and Kylo Ren approaches, Luke Skywalker fakes him out by pretending to be standing in front of him, ready to attack. Kylo buys it just long enough for the Resistance to escape.
When the Galactica team appears cornered on the planet Carillon, and a Cylon Basestar approaches, Starbuck and Apollo fake it out by pretending multiple viper squadrons are approaching, ready to attack. The Basestar buys it long enough to change course, and gets too close to the exploding planet’s surface. The Galactica escapes.
They’re Still a Rag-Tag Fleet, Now With Optimism
Both The Last Jedi and Battlestar Galactica had to leave room for more. They do so in the same way. The last survivors of a great civilization, pared down and still on the run, know that somewhere out there they’ll find hope. Even as their primary enemy remains alive and determined to wipe them out somehow.
Do these similarities make The Last Jedi a complete rip-off? No more than the original Star Wars was a “rip-off” of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Of course, the original Galactica faced a lawsuit for its similarities to the first Star Wars. Regardless, the parallels between The Last Jedi and Battlestar Galactica are numerous enough that we suspect it was a strong influence, conscious or otherwise.
How do you feel about the parallels between The Last Jedi and the original Battlestar Galactica? Let us know in the comment section below!