Psychiatrist Analyzes Famous ‘Star Wars’ Characters

San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Eric Bender used his knowledge of human behavior to gently analyze and understand the motivations behind several renowned Star Wars characters for GQ. This analysis included Emperor Palpatine, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, the Jawas, and Kylo Ren.

Dr. Eric Bender is back to explore and break down the mental health and psychology of Star Wars characters.

Not surprisingly, the words “narcissism” and “fragility” came up repeatedly when discussing franchise villains. “Trauma” and “responsibility” were the words used regarding protagonists. Bender also explained that Jawas don’t steal because of a mental issue like kleptomania; they steal to survive.

Kleptomania is an impulse control disorder. It means that you have this feeling, this urge to steal something, usually not of any monetary value, something that doesn’t really matter to you, you go ahead and steal it. It’s this urge to do it and you have to answer to it. Stealing, the way the Jawas do, they’re stealing because they’re selling things. They’re wanting money. There’s a big difference between kleptomania and actually stealing for purposes of just getting money and being able to trade things in.

Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo, was essentially doomed from childhood.

So we see that he, from a young age,  Ben likely had this idea developing in him that he wasn’t good. Ben then goes off to Luke’s Jedi training camp and when he’s there, he wakes up one night with Luke over him with a Light Saber ready to kill him, ’cause Luke thinks, “Wait, this guy is gonna destroy the galaxy. I have to end him.” So that’s probably another confirmation to Ben that he’s really bad. …So if the parent think this kid’s not gonna be anything… that’s what they’re gonna feel they are gonna be. So when it does come down to a choice like good and evil, it’s gonna be already pre-primed for this kid to think he’s evil, and to do something like kill his father or become a Sith Lord.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.