Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a manager at the same college he graduated from.
Fire Emblem and Star Wars
I probably don't need to explain the billion-dollar science fiction franchise that is Star Wars. The original trilogy chronicles Luke Skywalker's journey from youthful optimist to Jedi Knight as he and the Rebellion combat the evil Galactic Empire.
Fire Emblem is by no means a small franchise, but nongamers may be unacquainted with the brand. It's a series of strategy games set in fantasy times where units battle around a grid-like map. Fire Emblem games also feature engaging plots, a healthy variety of well-developed characters, and permanent unit death in gameplay. While most Fire Emblem games aren't related to one another and set in separate worlds (similar to Final Fantasy), the Wii's Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn takes place three years after Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, both detailing the adventures of the young mercenary Ike.
So, not only are these different series and different genres (sci-fi versus fantasy), they're featured on different media, film and video games respectively. What on earth do they have in common? Without further preamble, you might be surprised by just how many plot elements our protagonists share. Coincidence or excessive "borrowing", you be the judge as we examine ten incredible likenesses between Ike and Luke's adventures! Spoilers ahead.
1. Both Become Orphans
In Fire Emblem: Ike's mother dies only a few years after his birth, while his father Greil, leader of the Greil Mercenaries, is struck down by the imposing Black Knight early on in Path of Radiance.
In Star Wars: Luke's mother Padme dies very soon after his birth. Believing himself orphaned, Luke is raised by his uncle and aunt in the remote sands of Tatooine. Unbeknownst to him, his father Anakin Skywalker serves as the imposing second-in-command of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader, and Luke is truly orphaned after Vader is mortally wounded by the Emperor's Force lightning.
Granted, becoming parent-less is a common plot device in any media since it sets a hero out on their own. But not only do Ike and Luke share the death of their parents, they share a similar pattern: mom dies early, dad follows many years later. We'll later link Ike and Luke's fathers even further, but for now, let's focus on their other kin...
2. Both Have a Younger Sister (And No Other Siblings)
In Fire Emblem: Ike's brunette sister Mist is a few years younger than him. She wields healing staves in battle just as her mother once did.
In Star Wars: Luke's brunette sister Leia is a few seconds younger than him. She wields blasters in battle and pursues a diplomatic career just as her mother once did.
Admittedly, Ike's younger sister is significantly younger while Luke's twin is only a few seconds, but it's yet another thread in the hefty pattern connecting these two characters. Plus, both sisters also have a special connection to their mother besides a weapon of choice: Mist, like her mother Elena, is one of few who can hold the Fire Emblem medallion without going insane; Padme actually remembers her mother (Luke doesn't) despite only being around her for a few seconds as an infant.
3. Both's Sister Romance Their Hotheaded Friend
In Fire Emblem: Ike's axe-wielding rival, Boyd, ultimately marries Ike's younger sister Mist.
In Star Wars: Luke's gun-slinging ally, Han Solo, ultimately marries Luke's younger sister Leia.
Are Boyd and Mist Canon?
Fire Emblem fans may be quick to point out that (like most pairings of the series), Mist-Boyd is optional. However, these two can only ever end up with each other, and Mist's alternative epilogue text specifically says she never marries. Essentially, it's Boyd or bust, and if you unlock their support dialogue conversations from Path of Radiance, you'll see how clear-cut their feelings are. Granted, Han plays a much bigger plot role in Star Wars than Boyd in Fire Emblem, but it's yet another intriguing comparison that Ike and Luke's cocky (but skilled) comrades romance their sister.
4. Both Befriend the Princess of the Resistance
In Fire Emblem: Ruled by the mad King Ashnard, the country Daein invades Princess Elincia's peaceful nation of Crimea. She soon finds the Greil Mercenaries and enlists Ike's aid; the two quickly develop a close bond.
In Star Wars: Ruled by the sadistic Emperor Palpatine, the Galactic Empire takes control of the galaxy, yet a number of planets oppose the tyrannical government. Princess Leia and her peaceful homeworld of Alderaan soon enlist Luke's aid; the two quickly develop a close bond.
5. Both Start to Kindle a Romance With Said Princess That Doesn't Work Out
In Fire Emblem: After sharing a close relationship in Path of Radiance, things between Ike and Elincia become strangely formal in Radiant Dawn.
In Star Wars: After sharing a close relationship (and kiss) in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Luke learns Leia is his sister in Return of the Jedi. Undeterred, our hero—kidding! That quickly put an end to the love triangle.
Were Ike and Elincia Actually in Love?
Ike-Elincia remains a controversial topic among fans. The two were very close and constantly around each in Path of Radiance, and many fans expected them to end up together. However, three years later, Ike and Elincia becomes strangely cold towards each other. I'd definitely say Elincia initially harbored feelings for Ike, but it's not clear whether he reciprocated. Check out this tidbit from their final support conversation in Path of Radiance:
- Ike: You employed me as a mercenary. I'll give you your money's worth! ...No. It means more than that... To my last breath, I will do all that I can to ensure your dream...Elincia.
- Elincia: Oh, Ike...
Despite their potential, Elincia and Ike cannot wed, though it's possible for her to instead marry her childhood friend Geoffrey (who also has blue hair—Elincia's got a type).
6. Both Wield a Unique Sword
In Fire Emblem: Ike wields the blessed golden-bladed sword Ragnell. Despite obtaining it early in Path of Radiance, he doesn't start brandishing it (preferring regular swords) until a later skirmish against the Black Knight.
In Star Wars: Luke wields his father's blue-bladed lightsaber. Despite obtaining it early in A New Hope, Luke doesn't regularly start brandishing it (preferring blasters) until his first battle against Darth Vader.
Ike and Luke are unusually talented with a blade despite their youth, able to hold their own against and even defeat the best swordsmen of their worlds. Additionally, both lose their valued weapon for a time before reclaiming it; Ike returns Ragnell to its Begnion resting place after Path of Radiance (and later retrieves it in Radiant Dawn) while Luke loses his blade in a duel against Darth Vader (but later retrieves it from Rey in The Force Awakens). In the meantime, Ike wields an Ettard and Luke a green lightsaber.
7. Both Have Fathers Who Went on a Rampage and Killed Their Mother
In Fire Emblem: Greil goes mad after taking hold of Lehran's medallion, an insanity-inducing cursed trinket, and slaughters many innocents ending with his wife. She dies grabbing the medallion from him, bringing Greil to his senses.
In Star Wars: Anakin turns to the dark side thinking it the only way to save his wife, and slaughters many innocent Jedi. Soon afterwards, in his anger, he misinterprets a situation and ends up mortally wounding Padme but soon regains his senses and is horrified at his actions (though he doesn't turn back to the light side yet).
Both Ike and Luke's fathers are also forever physically weakened as a result of their killing spree. Greil willing severs the tendons in his sword arm, preventing him from ever using a blade again, and Darth Vader's heavy suit and loss of limbs limit both his mobility and Force prowess. Greil and Vader would have been the strongest swordsmen in their worlds (rivaled only by their sons) were it not for their handicaps. Finally, both men take a new title after their massacres; Greil adopts the name Greil (he was originally Gawain) and Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
8. Both Witness Their Mentor Killed by a Black-Clad Warrior
In Fire Emblem: In the first game (Path of Radiance), Greil battles his old student, the Black Knight (Zelgius). Near the conclusion of their fight, Ike arrives on-scene and watches in horror as his mentor is struck down.
In Star Wars: In the first movie made (A New Hope), Obi-Wan Kenobi battles his old student, Darth Vader (Anakin). Near the conclusion of their fight, Luke arrives on-scene and watches in horror as his mentor is struck down.
Each role model somewhat chooses to die; Greil willingly cut the tendons of his dominant sword arm years ago, disabling him from using his preferred weapon, while Obi-Wan simply let Vader kill him. Ike and Luke both had their father involved in this life-changing battle, although in opposite positions (Greil was defeated while Vader triumphed).
9. Both Confront and Defeat That Warrior (In Their Second Fight)
In Fire Emblem: In Ike's second bout with the Black Knight during Radiant Dawn (not counting the Path of Radiance battles that were cut short due to Ike realizing he needed a blessed weapon), he finally overcomes his black-clad foe.
In Star Wars: In Luke's second bout with the Sith Lord Darth Vader (from Return of the Jedi), he finally overcomes his black-clad foe.
Wait, Didn't Ike Win in Path of Radiance?
Keen-eyed fans may cry foul and say Ike won his first actual battle against the Black Knight back in Path of Radiance. Depending on the player's decisions, Ike can indeed "win", but in this case Radiant Dawn reveals that the Black Knight let Ike triumph to allow Ike to survive and hone his skills. Also, Ike had Mist nearby to help heal him in that clash, and only truly wins of his own merit in his second fight against Zelgius.
Another similarity: after defeating their nemesis, Ike and Luke each make amends with their vanquished foe, realizing they weren't bad at heart. Zelgius simply was obeying Sephiran, a master he trusted completely to make the right decision, and Vader harbored good within his soul even after falling to the dark side. That said, both the Black Knight and Vader served as generals to a truly-evil villain (King Ashnard and Darth Sidious).
10. Both End Up Disappearing
In Fire Emblem: After taking down the corrupt Daein government (twice), Ike's epilogue states he left to search for new frontiers and "was never seen again."
In Star Wars: After taking down the corrupt Empire (and having his new Jedi Order destroyed by Kylo Ren), Luke disappears for many years, going into exile on a remote planet. He briefly reemerges before dying in The Last Jedi.
Admittedly, Luke's fate is different in the alternate Legends timeline of the Expanded Universe, but his canon destiny involves falling off the galaxy's radar. Ike's disappearance is especially unusual for a Fire Emblem protagonist, and he's one of very few main characters to have no wedding possibilities based on support bonds with opposite-gendered characters. That said, future games imply Ike may have had descendants, and Luke marries Mara Jade in the EU, so don't feel too bad for our lonely bachelors.
Bonus: Both Receive a Power-Up After Three Years
One final, small connection between our two heroes:
In Fire Emblem: Teenage Ike certainly isn't weak in Path of Radiance, but he really hits his stride as a swordsman three years later in Radiant Dawn.
In Star Wars: Teenage Luke certainly isn't weak in A New Hope, but he really hits his stride as a swordsman three years later in The Empire Strikes Back (and even more soon afterwards in Return of the Jedi).
The Future of Fire Emblem and Star Wars
Taken individually, these common elements could be disregarded as coincidence, but when pieced together, they form a compelling argument that Fire Emblem drew more than a little inspiration from the galaxy far far away. Heck, even the name structures of Ike and Luke resemble each other, and I'm sure their two series share many other small reflections we have yet to touch upon.
Luckily, I'm happy to say I greatly enjoy both Star Wars and Fire Emblem, copied plotlines and all, and would certainly recommend either to any interested. With Star Wars continuing to release new films and Fire Emblem doing the same with video games, the future looks bright for both franchises. But for now, as we eagerly await more galactic and medieval combat from our favorite films and video games, cast your thoughts on the resemblances and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 21, 2018:
Interesting similarities! I guess ideas really are ten a penny.