John Milton Meets George Lucas: Han and Leia as Adam and Eve in an Edenic Endor

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Fall 2014


Return of the Jedi’s Endor, or the Sanctuary Moon, is paradisiacal in the manner of Eden from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Like Milton’s Eden, however, Endor also features a “temptor”—a snake-like creature that fools prey with its tongue. And this is not the only parallel between Endor and Eden in Paradise Lost. Endor rivals Eden in possessing a seemingly inexhaustible lush landscape. The counterparts to Milton’s Adam and Eve are Han and Leia, who like the original couple have difficulty trusting each other at times. Indeed, just as Adam has to pursue Eve and take her by the hand when she runs away from him, so too does Han have to work hard to seduce Leia, even pinning her inside a small room on the Millennium Falcon. There is also the scene in which Han confronts Leia about what he assumes are lingering feelings towards Luke. This scene is similar in tone to Adam’s questioning Eve regarding her dream about Satan. That is, Han and Adam confront their female partners about a disturbing experience the women have trouble explaining. A further similarity between Leia and Eve specifically is their care of the natural world: Leia becomes a mother-figure to the Ewoks (especially Wicket), while Eve loves the plants, giving them names. Han himself becomes a kind of father figure to the Ewoks alongside Leia, as when one of the Ewoks refuses to let of his legs. But in the Return of the Jedi novelization, it is Leia’s Eve-like relationship to Nature and the trees on Endor that is most developed.

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