Fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, uncles and nephews, surrogate father figures: Star Wars has a running theme, and it's not about the balance of the Force; it's about daddy issues.
We use that colloquialism a little tongue-in-cheek, of course. "Daddy Issues" has taken on a decidedly negative connotation, but the term's general idea, dealing with the pressure and emotional conflict with those who've come before you, certainly fits the bill in the Star Wars universe. From Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, back into the prequels, and on into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and beyond, it's clear that the sins of the father affect the child even in a galaxy far, far away.
We take a look at the (canon) history of Star Wars "daddy issues," putting aside the additional ones from stories of Legends simply because there are enough here to fill a story on their own.
Jyn and Galen Erso
The most recent example, from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story sees Jyn and Galen Erso's complicated relationship. Jyn's recruited into the Rebel Alliance partially because she's related to Galen, who is a "known collaborator." She responds by saying she considers him dead, because "it's easier."
Harsh? Yes, but this is life during wartime. Jyn has no idea if for the last fifteen years Galen has become indoctrinated or been fighting back. She doesn't know whether she should blame his eager scientific mind when she was a child or if she sees him as being weak or strong in what he's chosen to do. Eventually, she reunites and clearly forgives him - but he's gone before their reconciliation can be truly complete.prevnext
Boba and Jango Fett
Boba Fett and Jango Fett certainly have a unique set of issues all their own; Boba is actually a clone of Jango, raised by him amongst accellerated-growth clones created only to be canon fodder soldiers for the Republic; that's a lot to take in as a child. Throw in watching your father get decapitated by the so-called "good guys," and it's easy to see why Boba Fett would turn to a ruthless life of crime and bounty hunting.prevnext
"Father" and "Son"
In the epic "Mortis Trilogy" story arc on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we meet Father, Son, and Daughter, godlike beings connected directly to the Force. Father represents balance, Son the Darkness, and Daughter the Light. With the galaxy tilting out of balance due to war, the corruption of the Jedi, and the presence of the apparent "chosen one," Anakin, Father summons him to Mortis to strike a bargain and put balance back into place.
Son isn't having it. He feels its his legacy to rule the Force, being stolen from him. Ultimately, Father dies, Anakin does not take his place as the balancing focal point of the Force, and, well, we know how that all turns out for him.prevnext
Anakin Skywalker and Sheev Palpatine
Part of the reason Sheev Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, was able to manipulate Anakin Skywalker so easily was how he took him under his wing as a father figure. Anakin was drawn to Palpatine's guiding hand - even if he was guiding him swiftly in the wrong direction. That loyalty extended further when the Emperor saved his life and put him in life-sustaining armor; now, the Emperor had him, locked in, and unable to remove those bonds all the way until his own son was able to save him.prevnext
Kylo Ren and Han Solo
One of the most recent examples is one we've only scratched the surface of: Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) and his father Han Solo. Ren, thinking he was dangerously close to re-embracing the light side of the Force and desperately clinging to some misguided notion that only the dark side would do what he needed, killed his father in cold blood... but it didn't seem to really work, and his conflict appeared to remain.
Interestingly, from what we know from books that have built up the canon of modern Star Wars, Ben may have an even bigger fatherly issue with Luke Skywalker, who took him under his wing to train him in the Force from a young age. Ben's abandonment issues with his actual father (even when Leia was pregnant with Ben, Han left to go save Chewbacca), combined with issues of feeling his uncle let him down and that his grandfather's legacy is the one he should be chasing, well... Kylo Ren's got some problems he's only begun to deal with.
Bonus! Rey and her mystery parents - that should be a fun conversation.prevnext
Leia Organa and Darth Vader
Many people may not think about Leia and Darth Vader has having any kind of relationship, really. The pair didn't interact at all after Leia learned he was her birth father, and her adoptive father Bail Organa gave her a wonderful home and family life (and legacy of his own to carry on).
But in the book Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray (one of the newer canon novels), we see Leia dealing with the internal struggle of knowing Vader is in her past, and in her blood. That comes to a head when the connection is revealed to the galaxy, instantly changing the way the worlds view her, arguably hardening her - which would come in handy as a leader of the Resistance (the Force moves in mysterious ways).
Still, this may give us some window into how Leia would confront Ben "Kylo Ren" Solo if they are to meet again, as she can actually relate to learning Darth Vader is in her past.prevnext
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker0comments
Finally, the one that started it all. From the famous line, "No, I am your father," everything about Star Wars changed. Our vaunted hero was the ultiimate villain's own son? How?! That reveal will go down in history as one of the greatest in cinema, and was an incredibly closely guarded secret - so much so that the script given to cast and crew was altered. Mark Hamill was reacting to a different line ("You don't know the truth: Obi-Wan Killed Your Father") said while filming!
The knowledge of his father's true identity changed Luke; no longer determined to just get the job done at any cost, recognizing that's what turned his father to the dark side, he was instead determined to do better, and in doing so he saved his father, brought him back to the light, and brought balance to the Force once more.prev