Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Star Wars, John Carter is your father!

During this year's Super Bowl, I saw a commercial for a movie that intrigued me. In many ways, the movie reminded me of such films as Avatar and Star Wars. As I watched the commercial with friends, one of them mentioned that it was based on a series of books that he read as a child. I asked him the name of the series, and he said, "John Carter of Mars."

The thing is, the John Carter series is known better under other names such as The Barsoom Series, or by the individual titles of the books, the first one being A Princess of MarsIt was started in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the popular Tarzan series.

Given that I enjoyed the movie preview and a friend testified to the books being good, I downloaded A Princess of Mars to my Kindle. As I read the first book, I loved it. It is an action story for sure and is set on the planet of Mars. Although the natives of Mars actually call the planet Barsoom. To read something that holds up well after 100 years in existence is quite a treat.

I noticed something in the books that couldn't be denied. While the movie trailer I saw reminded me of Star Wars, the book, for many reasons, solidified that in my mind. As I reached the final pages, or locations, I realized something that could not be denied. This book must have influenced George Lucas in making the Star Wars movies. It had to be then that a harsh reality came to light, one that could seem blasphemous to loyal Star Wars fans. Yes, just like Luke Skywalker finding out the true identity of Darth Vader, I knew that The Barsoom Series or John Carter of Mars, whatever you wish to call it, was the father of Star Wars!

[caption id="attachment_2404" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!"][/caption]

There are many reasons I believe this is the case. I'll list a few of them out here, but not all. Feel free to give your thoughts in the comments below if you see other similarities. Oh, by the way, I'm reading the second book now, and there are yet many other similarities between the two.

Reasons to believe John Carter is the father of Star Wars:

  • There are groups of martians called the Jeds and the Jeddaks. Sound familiar? It does to me. I think I know where those Jedi come from, and it ain't no special council.

  • There are fantastic ugly beasts like the white apes and John Carter's pet Woola. Wait Woola? That sounds awfully close to Wookiee if you ask me. See the picture below for an example of the horrid creatures.

  • [caption id="attachment_2405" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="I'm gonna eat ya!"][/caption]

  • The book is filled with sword fighting with the occasional shoot-out. Remind you of any lightsaber wielding film?

  • The book has its royalty, including Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. A princess? That's right. I guess there was someone more beautiful than Princess Leia at one time.

  • The names of people and places strikes a definite cord with me. Barsoom, Tars Tarkas, and Zondangan to name a few. They remind me of such things as Tatooine, Chewbacca, and Jabba the Hut.

Like I said, there are a lot of things that make me think without a doubt that Star Wars is not the first story to have such wonderful ideas and a world full of life. Some might deny and some might agree, but I know where I stand. If Edgar Rice Burroughs never wrote The Barsoom Series, I wonder if Star Wars would ever have been made. If it had been, I wonder if it would have been the same.


B.C. Young is the author of many science fiction eBooks available on the Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices. He also writes under the pen name Desmond Shepherd. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading,  and watching movies.

He hopes he hasn't offended too many Star Wars fans with his sacrilegious statements above.