Star Wars: A New Hope
Character Leadership and cinematic gold
Our leadership movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, has a lot of leadership principles that are mostly focused around characters. First though, I’ll start with a little background.
Star Wars is a collection of 6 movies made over 70’s, 80’s and the 2000’s that document the rise and fall of the galactic empire. Built by George Lucas, the movies made him insanely rich and have resulted in numerous parodies and mocks which are funny and ridiculous (see: Space balls).
It starts off in space where Darth Vader of the empire is chasing down Princess Leia and the rebel alliance because they stole plans for the Death Star. It’s better explained here.
The droids flee to Tatooine where they encounter Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi, they run from the Empire, meet Han and Chewy and then rescue Princess Leia from the Death Star and then the blow it up. That’s as about as condensed as I can make it.
But Star Wars was a phenomenal movie from many standpoints including leadership because it exposes us to many different forms of leadership. First off, we have Luke Skywalker, a teen who lives with his aunt and uncle on a farm who runs off to fight in the rebellion after learning about the force and his destiny to master it. Luke is a democratic and participative leader. He listens to Obi-Wan and follows him instead of going his own route. He is patient in his own quest to understand the force and when he leads others, he does the right thing even though it’s not the easy thing or it could get him killed (like assaulting the death star). At the end of the movie, he learns to trust himself and his instincts and blows up the death star.
Princess Leia is the official leader of the rebel alliance. She has the highest rank and she shows that while her title may be princess, she isn’t afraid to participate and get her hands dirty. She is brave enough to be the leader of the rebel alliance, and when Han, Luke, and Chewy rescue her and they are pinned down, she takes action and finds them an escape route. She also convinces Han (through a guilt trip) to stay and help. She knows how to lead and get people to follow.
Han Solo is the smuggler/pilot/bad boy who only looks out for himself and originally is in the chase for the money. He has a natural charisma that makes him easy to follow even though he doesn’t want anyone too. He ends up leading Luke, Leia and Chewy out of the death star and then bails. But he shows great leadership in coming back to help save Luke so Luke can destroy the Death Star. He plays a huge role in the rest of the original episodes (5 and 6).
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the positive, patient, and wise leader that every movie and rebellion needs. He guides Luke on his path to the force. Obi-Wan’s lessons and methods live on after he dies and his voice guides Luke to blow up the death star. He is the wise man who says all the right things.
Finally, we have Darth Vader. He is the (apparent) leader of the galactic empire. He leads through fear and an authoritative figure that no one wants to mess with. He gives very little direction and usually says “just do as I say.” He even chokes subordinates with the force. He abuses his power and rules with fear and threats. He is not a leader I want to follow.
Together, all these main characters make a great cast that encompasses many different leadership styles. All of them are effective, only some are better than others. I think most of us would prefer not to get choked by the force.
As for Star Wars, it spawned tons of parodies, including my personal favorite, Space Balls
Enjoy. Comb the Desert