With Solo: A Star Wars Story now playing in theatres, I thought it may be interesting to visit the similarities between two beloved franchises: Harry Potter and Star Wars.
The protagonists Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker share many familiarities. They both live with their aunt and uncle and believe that their parents are dead, although Harry’s aunt and uncle were terrible and Luke’s were decently nice people. An outside figure comes and tells them the truth about their parents. In Harry’s case it is Hagrid who tells him that his parents are really wizards, and in Luke’s case it is Obi-wan who tells him that his parents were jedi and he has that power in him. Obi-wan also serves as a Dumbledore type figure who provides wisdom to the protagonist to let him continue his heroic journey and ends up dying so that the main character can take on the responsibility of fighting the main villain himself.
Luke and Harry both leave on their adventures and meet new people. Luke and Harry have very similar personalities they have a natural desire to help and to defeat the Dark Lord (though their dark lords do differ). These characters also have a part of the villain in them while in Harry, Voldemort is literally a part of him as an accidental Horcrux, Vader is a part of Luke as in that he is his father and that’s where his powers come from. They are also both willing to sacrifice themselves if necessary, Luke does this in ep. 6 where he chooses not to kill Vader at whatever detriment it is to himself, Harry ends up literally sacrificing his life to kill the Voldemort part inside of him, though he does come back later he was still willing to die.
You can make a case that Leia is like Hermione: they are both smart, clever, and brave though they have different personalities. They also both take charge and fulfill a leadership position if necessary, Leia commands the rebel forces in ep. 5 and tells them what actions they need to take similar to how Hermione inspires Harry to start up Dumbledore’s army to fight evil. When looking at the other member of the trio that would make Ron similar to Han Solo, while these two seem different at first look they both share a great degree of loyalty. Han came back to help Luke destroy the Death Star in ep. 4 and Ron has helped out Harry many times like in book 2 where he breaks Harry out of his abusive environment and takes him in a flying car to the Weasleys.
The reason that these stories share many similarities is that essentially J.K. Rowling and George Lucas are telling the same story: one of a hero who doesn’t know about their past and their magical abilities that they have to try and save the world. They also make use of stock characters which allows for the many character similarities. For example C-3PO and Dobby fulfill the wise fool stock character as they both seem like foolish characters but have wisdom, Dobby knows about the plot to open the chamber of secrets and C3PO has many statistical abilities as a protocol droid he’s the one whose communication enables Luke to see Leia’s message through R2-D2 and start his adventure. Dumbledore and Obi-wan both fulfill the stock characteristics of the wise old man, and so on. These two stories share the same essential heart despite their different settings whether it’s about a small wizard boy in London or a farm boy turned Jedi in space these stories have captured the love of audiences everywhere.
In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.