This essay is from paraquem
Published on October 7, 2001
George Lucas & Carlos Castaneda in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
A definite influence
To begin with, we can be certain that George Lucas read Castaneda, and cited him as an influence. In Garry Jenkins "Empire Building" we are told that Lucas "in his search for fantasy, read Grimm?s fairy tales and CS Lewis? Narnia Chronicles, JRR Tolkien and Frazier?s Golden Bough. He also read Greek, Islamic and Indian mythology and the works of modern mythologists like Carlos Castaneda and Joseph Campbell" (Empire Building, page 38).
Castaneda receives a further name check, and this is a more specific confirmation of his influence -
"Lucas had by now simplified the mysticism in his script. Obi-Wan Kenobi would be a guardian of the wisdom of the Jedi knights and the force, a mysterious power "that binds the universe together". Lucas had found the inspiration for the idea in a story in Carlos Castaneda?s Tales Of Power, in which a Mexican Indian mystic, Don Juan, described a "life force" (Empire Building, page 62).
With that connection made, there are a couple of points to take into account. Essentially, the connections between Star Wars and Castaneda?s books are background, veiled ones. There are some overt correlations to be found in dialogue, but for the most part the influence is only seen as part of the whole. There is still a great deal to explore though, so let?s plough on.