When discussing the comic Oedipus situation in New Comedy, Fyre identifies a trope in romantic comedies where, ‘the heroine is discovered to be the hero’s sister, and has to be married off to his best friend.’ (Fyre, 1949, p.59)
When reading this, the first thing that immediately came to mind was the original Star Wars trilogy. These films are not romantic comedies however I thought it was really interesting that the three central characters form a love triangle, where both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker desire the attention of Princess Leia until Luke discovers she is his sister and she ultimately ends up with his best friend Han instead. This situation does bring an aspect of comedy to the series, especially in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (George Lucas, 1983, USA) when Han suspects that Leia and Luke are close because they are in love, however, it is actually because they have just discovered they are siblings.
Another aspect of New Comedy which Fyre identifies is the common narrative where the young man has to outwit an opponent to win the girl he desires. In Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977, USA) Luke and Han team up to rescue Princess Leia from the empire and Darth Vadar who happens to be Luke and Leia’s father. Fyre argues that the opponent in New Comedy is often the father who also desires the same girl. In this case, Vadar desires to possess Leia in a non-romantic sense, partly to outwit the rebellion but perhaps also because he knows she is his daughter. Regardless of the reason, I would argue that this follows the narrative identified by Fyre.
Although the Star Wars series would not be classed in the romantic comedy genre, there are certainly some elements of romantic comedy in these films.
Northrop Frye, “The Argument of Comedy,” English Institute Essays (New York: Columbia, 1949), 58-73.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. (George Lucas, 1977, USA)
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. (George Lucas, 1980, USA)
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. (George Lucas, 1983, USA)