Speaking as someone increasingly familiar with the term ‘Middle Age’ this piqued my interest, even more so when reading how echoes of the medieval world could have influenced the modern era Star Wars films.

A new project from the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania has taken a slightly different approach. What about those ancient Jedi texts? What about the books?

In a series of conversations, curator Dot Porter and Prof. Brandon Hawk (Rhode Island College) talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the small library of ancient Jedi texts that Luke Skywalker collected on his remote island. In doing so, these scholars help us think about what other manuscripts from “a long time ago” can tell us about both this fictional universe and our own real past.

Although Hawk had written before about the echoes of the medieval world (the “medievalism”) he saw in The Last Jedi, he told me over email that he and Porter were both struck by the imagery of the books in the movie, especially when they make their first appearance to Rey as she explores Luke Skywalker’s lonely island. Porter said that this shot in the film “made me think about how they represent a culture in Star Wars we haven’t seen before – manuscript culture – and how those books also gave me a new way to think about manuscript culture on earth.” As they mention in their first video, there are no books in the Star Wars universe. And that’s kind of weird.