Yes, I realize that it is silly and somewhat trivial to debate over science fiction and fantasy, seeing as how they are quite similar. I suppose mostly what I’m wondering is, “what is the first thing that comes to your mind, genre-wise, when it comes to Star Wars?” I should note that this post pertains only to the original trilogy of films and not the prequels or any of the expanded universe literature.
Personally, I believe Star Wars to be strictly fantasy. I see it as a re-skinning of a classic fantasy tale with the only science fiction elements being the space setting. One reason for this is that there isn’t ever — to my knowledge — the faintest attempt to rationalize any of the spectacular things in Star Wars from a science perspective. I’m not looking for textbook style explanations here, any attempt at all would do. But no, everything just works magically. The force is magic. Ships fly around shooting lasers at each other in outer space and somehow explode when hit (as far as I know things can’t explode in space due to lack of oxygen but I could be wrong, please correct me). Obi-Wan can disable the tractor beam for a massive all-powerful space station by simply turning some weird handle things. Basically, I believe that Star Wars makes the decision to fall on the fantasy side by using mysterious magical forces rather than science to explain it’s unrealistic elements.
Also, the characters in the films fall more into fantasy archetypes than science fiction ones. Mainly with the Jedi basically being wizards and Princess Leia being, well, a princess.
I’m not bashing Star Wars, I love those movies, and I don’t think that they are inferior to other films simply because they favour fantasy elements over science fiction. I think that the movies are exactly what they want to be and succeed as what they are. These are just things that I can’t help but think of when I hear the original Star Wars trilogy referred to as science fiction movies. What’s your take on them? Are they science fiction? Fantasy? Can they be both, or does it not even matter?