Editor's note: Starting today, we're running a four-part series about the Star Wars saga as adapted from a chapter in Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies, by Roy M. Anker. Today's first segment sets the scene as a young Luke Skywalker, looking for great adventure beyond his banal existence on Tatooine, begins what turns out to be quite the spiritual journey when he meets an eccentric old man, the former great Jedi knight, Obi-Wan Kenob.

The Star Wars saga wraps up with this week's final installment, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The five previous movies, about ten hours of film story, featured three big surprises, one in each of the three original pictures, Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and The Return of the Jedi (1983). All three of these bright and revealing moments prove to be turning points, amazing ones, on which the progress of George Lucas's whole remarkable saga depends.

The first takes place amid quiet conversation and, because the context is so unremarkable, it is easy to overlook; after all, the scene is mostly talk and, furthermore, talk of abstract forces about which the audience has no idea. Soon after the talk, though, comes the surprise that the hidden realities of which old Obi-Wan Kenobi has spoken actually shape the cosmic conflict at the center of the Star Wars chronicle. The second surprise, coming early in The Empire Strikes Back, offers even greater revelation, but this time it takes a notably comic turn, namely, the incredulity of the young hero in response to the farfetched notion that a puny, pesky, and funny-looking creature, the now legendary Yoda, trains warriors and, more than that, carries in his mind and soul the extraordinary powers of the universe.

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Star Wars Spirituality: Part 1
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