The release of the latest Atlas Shrugged Part 2 film in theaters all across America has again touched off a firestorm of debate in the media, as the gate keepers of the political left have revealed how deeply entrenched many of the parasite destined proletariats of progressive propaganda wish to propel The United States. They have like demons thrashed about as if involved in an exorcism involving Holy Water and the incantations of a sorcerer priest to dislodge the evil spirit from the body of an unsuspecting victim upon hearing the simple words…………….Ayn Rand—or Atlas Shrugged. The most universal attack against Rand by these progressive thinkers is to say that she was selfish, and that all her work is a mindless manifestation of capitalism that stands at odds with global socialism, and it is not to be tolerated. The characters of Atlas Shrugged have been attacked for being one-dimensional, lacking emotional depth, being self consumed, and in general being angry—reprehensible—and entirely too self confident. In fact, such utterances about the new film version of Atlas Shrugged Part 2 would have viewers believe that the movie was just a boring discussion about the virtues of capitalism versus socialism—that the lovers of socialism find the message of ASP2 a threat to their core beliefs, and their screams over the plot have masked the real nature of Atlas Shrugged as a story—which is that of science fiction. Yet it is, Atlas Shrugged the movies, as are the books, very much about action, adventure, and the unfettered exploration of the human soul against the sands of time, where the villains are those who wish to prevent the full development of the individual imagination. The picture shown above is from the new film, and declares that Atlas Shrugged is not just about political philosophy, but is a magnificent work of science fiction, and the roots of it predate some of the most beloved movies in American culture. In fact, the picture above reminds me of another film that virtually every American knows well—a film that when I first read Atlas Shrugged I felt I had uncovered a long-lost Rosetta Stone from the past. And the most popular character from that film went on to become the most popular film series in history and is a character that is right off the pages of any Ayn Rand novel. The movie is Star Wars, and the character that is undeniably Randian is Han Solo.
Atlas Shrugged the novel was written in 1957 and a young George Lucas in love with Jules Verne novels, Flash Gordon comic strips, and Walt Disney films without question ran across the work of Ayn Rand. You can see her influence in his film THX-1138, and in Star Wars, Atlas Shrugged is all over the very first film A New Hope. Lucas being a smart businessman who knew how to play his cards close to his vest knew not to show too much love of Ayn Rand publicly because of her controversy, so he changed many of the themes and events of Atlas Shrugged and set them in “A Galaxy A Long Time Ago in a Land Far, Far Away” and used Joseph Campbell’s great book The Hero of a Thousand Faces to build mythic themes for his space saga that would tell the vast story arc of Luke Skywalker, the rise of a Galactic Empire, and the sad fate of Darth Vader as a failed victim and perpetuator of a vast and tyrannical political system intent to crush individuality. But Lucas wisely and quietly used the character of Han Solo played by Harrison Ford to help all the giant themes go down the mind’s eye with a character right off the pages of Atlas Shrugged. Han Solo is a combination of virtually every hero in Atlas Shrugged–he’s competent, self-proclaimed to be out for himself, and he’s unstoppable. Han Solo is one of the two most popular characters from Star Wars; the other is Boba Fett, the bounty hunter and nemesis to Captain Solo. Solo is a pirate in the Star Wars films, while Fett is an independent assassin. Both characters come right out of the Sergio Leone films that Clint Eastwood played so effectively—The Man With No Name—who are also the type of characters apparently very influenced by Atlas Shrugged in the 1960’s. Bill Whittle below covers an intense recent controversy of how there was a lot of Hollywood pressure to re-edit the scene from the original A NEW HOPE in a classic gun fight scene involving Han Solo inspired from those same Sergio Leone films to meet the modern temperament of progressive thought–much to the discontent of millions of fans.
Lucas after his box office flop THX-1138 knew it was possible he’d never make another movie but his friend Francis Ford Coppola helped him make American Graffiti, forcing Lucas to learn to sell his ideas disguised behind contemporary plot devices. Coppola, was the director of The Godfather and it was the producer of those fantastic movies Albert Ruddy who purchased the rights to Atlas Shrugged in the mid 1970’s just before the release of Star Wars, and worked heavily with Ayn Rand to bring her book to the big screen. The deal almost worked, except Rand insisted on final script approval which Ruddy couldn’t give her. The film was killed eventually when Fred Silverman rose to become president of NBC.
Lucas watching all this activity by his film mentors placed into his Han Solo creation all the gallant traits of Ayn Rand’s classic heroes. But he sold it brilliantly on the screen by having Solo interact with the idealistic youthful Princess Leia, who represented the progressive feminist movement, and served as a vehicle for the audience to fall in love with Solo, just as the young princess did. Also there is Luke Skywalker, who represents the silly yearnings of all young people and their impractical quests built off good intentions. However, it is always Han Solo who saves everybody in the end. It is Solo’s bold rescue of the princess lured by Luke exclusively over money that would eventually save the entire rebellion effort against the evil empire, and Solo would save Luke on many occasions just at the right moment. Han Solo was chastised by Leia and Luke in the film for being selfish–conceited—recklessly bold—and a menace to the life of all mercenaries, but such accusations never pierce the thick skin of Solo.
At the end of A New Hope while the rebels are fighting to destroy the dreaded Death Star Solo is told by Luke that he’s “only out for himself” as Solo takes his reward and threatens to leave rather than get killed attacking the dreaded weapon of the enemy. In the end, Solo saves Luke without violating the rules of self-interest. Solo likes Luke and saves the kid out of self-interest without giving up his reward, or his independence. In fact the Death Star in A New Hope serves exactly the same purpose as Project X does in Atlas Shrugged. And Solo during The Empire Strikes Back would go through a very similar torture scene as John Galt had to undergo in Project F, near the end of Atlas Shrugged. Lucas had done with Han Solo something that no filmmaker in Hollywood has been able to do since; he brought to the screen the best rendition of Ayn Rand’s classic characters since Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood in a work of fiction that would sell the ideas without the contemporary fuss that we see in 2012. Without question the same people who criticize Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged as being a loathing work of selfishness and capitalist propaganda, most likely love Star Wars, and secretly love best Han Solo or Boba Fett—two of the space sagas most “selfish” characters.
George Lucas is a brilliant man. There are not many like him and nobody working in Hollywood today can match his unique ability to create characters like he has in his films. The later Star Wars films produced from 1999 to 2006 did not have a character like Han Solo in them to keep the audience interested in the story, and the films suffered as a result. In fact, there have been few movies made since The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 that have had characters anywhere close to being as strong and personally confident as Han Solo. Solo in the end solves his problems on his own, he wins the girl, and gains his wealth on his own terms, and he stays loyal to the causes he deems are important. When Lucas tried to appease the idealistic side of his sensibilities which he shared with many other Hollywood types then and since, Star Wars lost some of its power. In The Return of the Jedi where Luke saved Han Solo from the vile gangster Jabba the Hut, something ends up lost in the story. The movie was still fun, but it lacked the honesty and punch of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back—primarily because Han Solo was turned into the role of the victim. Solo also let his old friend Lando fly his beloved Millennium Falcon on another Death Star run which was a form of sacrifice that psychologically was rejected by millions in the audience. Another story failure was the scene on Endor where Solo showed Princess Leia that he could be “compassionate,” by giving her a hug when she was in a state of turmoil. Lucas was by this time trying to show the Han Solo had “evolved” as a character, which is standard fare in progressive Hollywood. He tried to show that Solo had learned to think of others more than he thinks of himself, and the story suffered as a result. Sacrifice as a theme in Star Wars is only accepted superficially in the standard dialogue that religions function. Deep in people’s hearts, it is Han Solo that holds the entire story together which Lucas seemed to learn as he progressed through the story. For Lucas, what started out as a simple plot device inspired by Ayn Rand’s classic novel became the glue that held the entire thing together and separated Star Wars from every other attempt in film history to duplicate, including Star Trek. If not for Han Solo, Star Wars and Star Trek would have very few distinguishing characteristics to separate one from the other. In Star Trek there is The United Federation, which is a socialist idea, and in Star Wars there is the rebellion against individual conquest. However, the means to get there is not through organizations, Jedi Councils, rebel Leaders, and these tend to always fail as they are rooted in collectivism. It is always through rogue pirates like Han Solo, and his belief in himself, for his own preservation that directly results in the success of everyone in his wake. It is because of him that rebellions succeed and wealth is created.
Han Solo is so important to Star Wars that even after over 200 books written since Return of the Jedi when Solo and Princess Leia go off to supposedly live happily ever after, Solo is still alive in his 80’s and still flying his Millennium Falcon, gun slinging bad guys and performing acts of death-defying bravery. His kids, his wife, his brother-in-law Luke, along with all their friends are all magical Jedi with super powers that defy logic. But Solo is always there when courage is needed and logic is in short supply. He has gifts that no magic Jedi can utilize and no author can overcome in plot necessity. If a story wants to be successful it must have characters like Han Solo, and since Star Wars came out in 1977, there have been watered down versions that were enjoyed, but never achieved quite at the same level of love as Han Solo. It was the character of Han Solo that made Harrison Ford a star, and without Solo, there would have never been an Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford would have lived out his days as a carpenter trying to get work in Hollywood as a bit player. Han Solo is the ultimate producer, the fearless advocate of individuality, and the bridge between common sense and fantasy. Without him Star Wars is just another mythic tale that would hit the movie screen, make a little money, then disappear from the minds of mankind forever.
But because Lucas wisely intentionally or unintentionally made Han Solo to resemble Ayn Rand’s classic characters Star Wars will forever be as loved as Ayn Rand’s books are. The film makers of the modern Atlas Shrugged films know they are doing something special and their enthusiasm comes out in scenes like the one shown in the picture above. When I saw the mysterious plane taking off in Colorado trying to escape from the pursuit of a hunter, I thought of the Millennium Falcon piloted by Han Solo blasting off from Mos Eisley in Star Wars: A New Hope. The modern filmmakers however are businessmen, so they tend to focus on the politics and business aspects of Atlas Shrugged. Lucas however being a lover of history, comparative religion and world mythology captured wonderfully the essence of what Ayn Rand created in her novels in the much beloved film series called Star Wars. But it doesn’t change the fact that the rules of plot dictate a severe discrepancy between what progressive media types and film makers acknowledge as truths, and stories that show strong characters in a reality that is subconsciously understood. This later idea is where Ayn Rand was functioning from, and this has caused much anxiety from the social reformers who wish to socially engineer these traits from the mind of all human beings. It is the same people who root for Han Solo to win in Star Wars who also try to commit society to the schemes that gave rise to the evil Empires in that galaxy far, far way—a long time ago. Their duality is a result of social sickness that has not yet come to terms with their inner workings and instead have attempted to achieve the work that creative people like George Bernard Shaw, and H.G. Wells tried to create—which Lucas attacked in Star Wars. Atlas Shrugged as a novel was the first of its kind to show what the potential of man can be, and George Lucas was the first to successfully place on the movie screen a character that Ayn Rand would have written if she had been the author of Star Wars. Instead the torch was handed down to the next generation, and yet again a new generation is struggling to maintain such heroes for the preservation of ideas that will propel into tomorrow the magnificent potential of the human race—personified by characters like Han Solo. It is that fight and tendency that critics of the new Atlas Shrugged film scream about in protest, and is also why there has not been another character like Han Solo in any film since 1980.
For the record, Han Solo SHOT FIRST and it will be up to the next generation to make sure everyone remembers it so that all the great heroes of the future can “Live Long and Prosper.” (Star Trek) George Lucas in the quiet of his home I think would agree, and it will take filmmakers like those producing the modern Atlas Shrugged films to help make a Hollywood who will defend Han Solo along with all the men and women like him, and not try to re-write history to fit the agenda of modern politics. Even the best and brightest sometimes lose their way when the wonder they gained from reading a book like Atlas Shrugged in their youth gets pounded out of them in the realities of life. As Lucas has said, sometimes while trying to tell the story of Luke Skywalker you can become Darth Vader lost in the blind devotion to a system not of your own making. And this is what happens to many good people who find through years of philanthropy that they lose the Han Solo in them and become Darth Vader, or even the naive Luke Skywalker–fighting for a sacrifice to something other than themselves. It is in those dark moments of “maturity” that these poor souls need Han Solo to save them from the crushing weight of service to a system that is brainless collectivism paving a way to hell with a brick road each marked with a good intention. It is in those moments when the question must be asked……………………….”WHO IS JOHN GALT.”
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