SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet seen the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movie or have never watched any of the STAR WARS films (seriously?), you should not continue reading this article. Instead, I suggest you go forth and culture yourself by binge-watching this collection of excellent sci-fi movies.

From the galaxies far, far away created by George Lucas came the great STAR WARS franchise, and from Stan Lee’s infinite recesses of imagination, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was born. With these box office hits, the stories of Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill have been and are in the process of being told. While both epics lay claim to interesting characters and compelling plots, the two separate storylines intersect and parallel each other in unexpected ways.

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What lays the groundwork for these parallels to occur, you may ask? Well, dearest reader, there is one simple answer to this inquiry: Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill are fatherless. (Unfortunately, both characters’ mothers died: Padme Amidala in childbirth and Meredith Quill of a brain tumor). This one attribute unites the heroes and stimulates the rest of their journeys. It forces them to make decisions they wouldn’t have to make otherwise, allows them to meet people whose paths they wouldn’t have usually crossed, and helps them become the famous pop culture icons we know and love today. Through the misfortune of being two ‘orphaned’ young men, Luke and Peter’s stories were forever altered, creating two of the greatest epics ever told.

POWERFUL TRINKETS THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

Within the STAR WARS universe, Luke Skywalker’s journey began on the desert planet Tatooine. Living with his uncle and aunt, Luke led a somewhat boring life. That is until his uncle bought the dynamic duo that is C3P0 and R2D2. With the introduction of the two droids into his life, Luke’s world was drastically changed, especially when Imperial troopers killed his aunt and uncle. Unbeknownst to Luke at the time, the troopers had been searching for plans for the Imperial Death Star’s superweapon that were carried by C3P0 and R2D2.

After learning why his family was killed, Luke took it upon himself to give the plans to the Rebel Alliance with the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kenobi would give Luke his first insight into his parentage, telling him his father was a former Jedi Knight who had served alongside Kenobi in the Clone Wars. While Obi-Wan wasn’t exactly forthright with the information he gave Luke (a big storm awaits the young Skywalker in Episode V), the Jedi Master did facilitate Skywalker’s journey to finding his father and therefore discovering his identity. In getting the Death Star’s plans into the hands of the Rebels, Luke crosses paths with Han Solo, Chewbacca, Leia Organa, and a plethora of other characters who would be pertinent into shaping Luke into the man he becomes. And all because of a piece of paper and a holographic message stored in R2D2 and C3P0.

While Peter Quill’s story doesn’t begin with a sassy beeping Astromech Droid and an overly sensitive robot; however, it does start with a vital trinket. Like Skywalker with the superweapon plans, Peter Quill hardly knew what he was getting himself into when he indirectly stole an Infinity Stone from the powerful Kree Ronan. Having been a space brat for 26 years since his mother’s death in 1988, Quill – self-proclaimed Star Lord – had been a thief since being captured by the infamous space pirate, Yondu Udonata. After learning about Quill’s theft, Yondu sets a bounty on Star Lord’s head. He enlists the help of Rocket, a genetically modified raccoon, and Groot, a tree-like humanoid while Kree Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after Peter Quill.

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All four of the characters cross paths in the Nova Empire, in the capital city of Xandar where Star-Lord attempts to sell the Infinity Stone. In three of the four characters attempting to apprehend Star-Lord, the whole lot of them end up in prison because of their ornery behavior.

While in the clink, the miscreants meet Drax, a man whose family was killed by Kree Ronan. Since Gamora was a former assassin for Ronan, Drax attempts to kill the green skinned alien and stops when Star-Lord lies to him, saying Gamora can bring Ronan to them so Drax can finally enact his revenge. After the Drax/Gamora debacle is solved, Gamora reveals she has found a buyer for the orb and the characters team up to break out of the prison.

Once they have escaped the prison, the group manages to keep the Infinity Stone from Ronan’s clutches, and they end up saving the galaxy by holding hands, dancing and singing surprisingly well (shout out to Chris Pratt!).

Whether through an Infinity Stone or blueprints for a death machine, both Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill’s journeys began when they encountered mysterious trinkets.

FINDING FATHERS

Once the items were acquired, the friendships turned into families, and the first movie credits rolled. Luke and Peter felt good about themselves and their positions in their respective universes. However, these good feelings were not meant to last; after all, the first film in a franchise is only intended to set up the story, not to be the ultimate ending.

In EPISODE V, Luke is captured by none other than his archenemy, Darth Vader. As the two battle, one fighting for the light side of the Force and the other for the dark, an astonishing fact is revealed to the young Skywalker. With one of the most infamous catchphrases this side of the galaxy acting as the confession – “Luke, I am your father,” – George Lucas changed the whole cinematic game, let alone Luke Skywalker’s already complicated life.

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When Darth Vader confesses his chromosome contribution to Luke, everything is thrown into chaos yet again. Now with the knowledge that his father is a) not dead, b) isn’t the heroic Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi painted him to be, and c) is the most villainous man in the galaxy, Luke is crushed (And also one hand down).  Even as the character manages to escape from his father’s clutches in EPISODE V, the emotional scarring and barrage of unanswered questions would prove to be far more detrimental to Luke’s health in the coming EPISODE VI.

Stan Lee may be known for his plot and timing, but Star Lord’s introduction to his father, Ego, was not nearly as dramatic as Luke’s to Darth Vader. In a twist of events, Ego ends up saving Peter and the rest of the Guardians from a group of angry former employers in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2. (Rocket stole some batteries…I promise, it’s a lot more dramatic if you see it in theaters). When he saves them, Ego reveals his identity to Quill and gets the movie’s plot rolling.

As Ego reveals parts of his backstory to the crew – how he was on a lonely planet looking for love and miraculously found Meredith Quill to relieve him of his loneliness – Peter begins to trust him. (He’s finally found somebody to play catch with him!)

However, the other Guardians aren’t so smitten with the tragic fairytale Ego spins. Through a riotous display of emotions that involves a crashed spaceship, lots of yelling, and Gamora’s cybernetic sister, Nebula, the two discover a mountain of skulls. While the two don’t know it at the time, the mountain of skulls belongs to Ego’s former children who had been previously enlisted to help Ego enact his evil plan of ruling the galaxy.

Not wanting Peter to end up as another skull on the mound, Gamora and Nebula reveal their findings to a shocked Peter. When Peter confronts Ego about his friends’ findings, Ego confesses to three things:

1) Finding his children, who share his power to create matter, and enlisting them to help him take over the universe,

2) Discarding them when they proved too weak,

and 3) Causing the brain tumor that would lead to Meredith Quill’s death so Peter could join Ego in space.

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After learning all this, Peter loses his shit. (Who wouldn’t?!!) As Peter fought his father, the other Guardians worked together to destroy Ego in a more practical fashion – explosives – rather than pure brute force. (While Peter meant well, you can’t exactly bring down a planet with your two fists). Thankfully, the Guardians came together a second time and saved the galaxy from the likes of Ego. While Quill lost his blood father that day, he realized he had a father (or a Mary Poppins) in Yondu all along.

THE FUTURE AND OTHER UNFORESEEABLE PLOT TWISTS

Having their fathers’ identities and characters revealed to them, Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill had the responsibility of figuring out who they are irrespective of their fathers.

Unlike Peter with Ego, Luke fosters a somewhat good, if an unconventional relationship with Darth Vader by the end of EPISODE VI. While DV dies, he does so on his own terms and to pay for the previous sins he has committed. Some could argue Darth Vader dies as Anakin Skywalker rather than the Sith Lord. Even though EPISODE VI ended happily for Luke and company – the Rebels won, the Sith were ‘destroyed,’ and Hans and Leia FINALLY GOT TO BE TOGETHER – the smiles didn’t last forever. With DISNEY’s release of EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS, we see Luke, Leia, and Hans’s world flipped upside down yet again, with a few new characters added to the mix.

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Rey, an orphaned girl, living on Jakku, is revealed to have the Force but has no idea what to do with it; by the end of the Episode, though, she has found Luke Skywalker and began to train as a Jedi. However, as the trailer for EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI was revealed, Rey sees “light, darkness, and imbalance,” while Luke prophecies, “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end.”

One of the biggest questions surrounding Rey and the upcoming movie is her parentage. The last time an orphan was discovered on a desert planet with an incredible gift of the Force, STAR WARS EPISODES IV, V, AND VI were born. (Arguably, Anakin Skywalker could also be thrown in the mix with EPISODES I, II, II).

Isn’t it the tradition that Skywalkers are to be discovered in their adolescences on desert planets with a questionable amount of the Force writhing in their veins? Isn’t it most likely that Luke is, in fact, Rey’s father? Who else could it feasibly be? Whether Luke is indeed Rey’s father (I would LOVE to see the plot twist DISNEY), she may end up being the Last Jedi. This opens a new can of lightsabers I’m not entirely prepared for. What is the STAR WARS universe without Jedis?!

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The MARVEL Cinematic Universe is faring no better. With the upcoming release of INFINITY WAR and Peter Quill’s new matter-creating-power reveal, there is no end to the doom and destruction Stan Lee and company could wreak on my impressionable fandom heart.

How will Peter’s knowledge of his powers affect the INFINITY WAR? Will Peter want to use his powers to help the AVENGERS and other MARVEL heroes or will he still be trying to figure his life out? Will more of Ego’s offspring reveal themselves? How will all the stories and heroes intersect? Who will live and who will DIE?

Whether their father-son relationships ended benignly or malignantly, both Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill remain orphaned at the end of their franchises. Yes, they manage to save their people and their governments time and time again, but why is it that orphans are always given such monumental responsibilities?

What if these orphans were tasked with saving their galaxies because they never had anyone save them before? Now stick with me: in saying this, I don’t mean to demean Luke’s adoptive family or Yondu’s connection to Peter Quill. Both of these characters were deprived of a traditional childhood, of the unconditional love a parent and a child share. In that deprivation, a sense of identity can be lost and hard to find until that child – in these cases adolescent to young adult – finds a purpose and can learn where they belong in their own worlds.

Epics aren’t journeys one takes alone. While it might not take a village to raise a child, it does take a village, a fleet of warriors, LOTS of guns, and sometimes an armada to save a galaxy. In acquiring their identities as a Jedi, a Star Lord, a hero to the masses, Luke Skywalker and Peter Quill managed to find where they belong and with who they belong. After years of suffering alone, they have found their families and, with them, they have found a reason to not only save the universe but themselves as well.

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