For a long time, I was completely puzzled by the fact that I liked the movie Eragon enough to buy a copy, but I couldn’t get through more than a chapter of the book version by Christopher Paolini before tossing it aside, annoyed at its juvenile language (he was, after all, fifteen when he wrote it) and blatant lifting of world rules from other stories. The world is heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings, the dragon rules are the same as the ones from Anne McCafferty’s Chronicles of Pern series, and so on.
Movie: awesome. Book: lame. Go figure.
I was rewatching the film for the first time in years the other day when it hit me: The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Pern weren’t the only things Paolini copied off of. The plot was lifted wholesale from Star Wars! I like Eragon because it’s basically A New Hope with dragons.
Observe. Here is the plot of Eragon, with the Star Wars equivalencies in brackets. If you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading after three paragraphs. But keep in mind: if you’ve already seen Star Wars: A New Hope you already know the ending.
Eragon (Luke Skywalker), a young farm boy being raised in backwater called Carvahall (Tatooine) by his Uncle Garrow (Owen) is disappointed that he can’t go off and have adventures like his cousin (friend) Roran (Biggs). Then one day he comes across an egg (droid) that gives him a vision (hologram) of the princess Arya (Leia) who needs his help. The egg (droid) hatches into a dragon (runs away) and Eragon (Luke) must turn to the village crazy man Brom (Ben Kenobi) for help.
Help me Brommy Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!
Eragon (Luke) find out that he is the last of the dragonriders (Jedi) who were all wiped out in a war over dragons (The Clone Wars) except for Brom (Ben), who is now in hiding in Carvahall (Tatooine). Chief bad guy Galbatorix (Grand Moff Tarkin) tracks the egg (droid) to Carvahal (Tatooine) and sends his underling Durza (Darth Vader) and his minions the Razac (Stormtroopers) to kill Eragon (Luke)’s Uncle Garrow (Owen) to try and get the egg (droid) back because it contains a dragon named Safira (Death Star plans) that could ruin them.
Here, this is your father’s lightsaber… I mean sword.
Now that there’s nothing left in Carvahall (Tattooine) for Eragon (Luke), Brom (Ben) convinces him to go on a quest across the land (galaxy) to bring the dragon (Death Star plans) to the Varden (Rebel Alliance) who will use it to vanquish Galbatorix’s regime (The Empire). So first they travel to Darfit (Mos Eisley), which is a hive of scum and villainy, to get help on their travels. There they pick up a young warrior (pilot) named Murtagh (Han Solo) who will show them the way to the Boer Mountains (Alderaan). Before they can leave Darfit (Mos Eisley), they’re attacked by the Razac (Stormtroopers) and they have to high tail it out of there.
On the journey, Eragon (Luke) learns about magic (the Force) from Brom (Ben) and obsesses over the princess Arya (Leia). When Eragon (Luke) receives has a vision (feeling) that Arya is being held in a fortress (Death Star), he disobeys Brom (Ben) and goes looking for her in the dungeon (detention level). He is almost caught by Durza (Darth Vader) who can do a scary mind poke (force choke) but is helped out by Murtagh (Han) and rescued by Brom (Ben), who sacrifices himself to save Eragon (Luke).
I will bend you to my magical will, etc.
Eragon (Luke), Mutagh (Han), and Arya (Leia) escape to the Boer Mountains (Yavin 4) on a dragon (Millennium Falcon) where the Varden (Rebel Alliance) has a secret hideout (base). Unfortunately they are followed by Galbatorix’s army (the Death Star), which is poised to wipe them out if they don’t do something quick.
Like blast them!
Eragon (Luke) suits up in armor (a flight suit) to use his skills as a dragonrider/magician (X-wing pilot/Jedi) to help the Varden (Rebel Alliance) win the battle. He hopes Murtagh (Han) will help out, but it turns out that he the son of their enemy (a scoundrel) and he is thrown in jail (takes off with his reward) instead. Eragon (Luke) is very effective against the enemy until he has to go head to head with Durza (Darth Vader) on dragons (starfighters). Eragon (Luke) uses his magic (force skills) to win, but his friend Safira (R2-D2) is badly injured and only help from Murtagh (Han), who came through at the last second, can save them.
Yahoo! You’re all clear, kid! To do… whatever.
After this climax, Galbatorix’ regime (the Empire) is weakened and Eragon (Luke), Safira (the droids), Murtagh (Han), and Arya (Leia) are heroes.
It’s so obvious, I can’t believe I missed it when I watched it the first time. I’m not the only one who has noticed it, either. There’s a whole thread devoted to Eragon‘s similarities to Star Wars on IMDB. There are even a few tidbits (Eragon rushing off to the fortress like Luke rushed off to Bespin, the ending, Durza killing a minion with magic for screwing up and then promoting the one underneath him) that are lifted from The Empire Strikes Back.
Which begs the question: how did this get published, let alone made into a movie, and how long will it be before George Lucas figures it out and sues the pants off them?
And why do I still like this movie??