Initially it might be hard for many fans to do so, but agreeing with Shane O’Neil from Screenrant on the idea that Star Wars isn’t science fiction becomes easier the more one thinks about it. While it’s true that Star Wars gets routinely lumped into the mix with a bunch of other science fiction stories due to the elements that appear very similar, there are many other elements that kind of exclude the saga from the science fiction aspect that needs to be further examined. As Shane mentions the whole idea of science fiction is the blending of science and a story that is grounded in something that could possibly take place and could be the hope or dream of a civilization that aspires to greatness at some point in their future. Movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Alien are more rooted in science fiction than Star Wars, and for one big reason, they take place in a universe where humans are grounded by having a well-defined origin, or at the very least a starting point given all the events that have led to the Prometheus story line in the Alien movies. At any point, there is a definite origin that can be traced back and worked from in order to create a feasible future that might one day come true, or is at least seen as being desired even if the limitations of reality as it pertains to fiction aren’t easy to push past.
Star Wars is science fantasy, not science fiction, no matter that it is a fictional story. The fantastical aspects are easy to see since the Force is perhaps the biggest explanation as to how it can be seen as a fantasy story. Jedi, Sith, the use of the Force, lightsabers that run on crystals that are harvested in only a few distinct locations, and other mystical aspects are what qualify this saga as fantasy. On top of that there is a much more religious aspect to the story since the ideologies of the Sith and the Jedi are a very big aspect of the story and have been since the beginning. While much of the rest of the story is grounded in science that is still fantastical in its own way since even trying to replicate it in real life has proven to be problematic if not downright impossible, it is still a tale that relies heavily on fantasy fiction rather than scientific facts that can be proven or disproved. In essence there isn’t much about Star Wars that isn’t fantasy since so much of it seeks to remain scientific in its own manner, but is still well beyond anything that the current scientific methods could fully explain or replicate. Many have attempted the science behind the movie, but rarely does it ever appear possible.
Humans are also an aspect of the fantasy as despite being a very prominent race and one that spreads throughout the galaxy in great numbers, the human race has no single planet that they call home. There is no earth, no origin planet so far as the Star Wars universe is convinced when it comes to humans. Many might figure that there must be since the likelihood of humans evolving in the same manner on so many different planets sounds like an impossibility, but if there is a home planet for human beings in Star Wars then it has yet to be revealed, and it’s definitely not earth, so the fantasy aspect is back again to offer up the explanation of ‘that’s just the way it is’. In the Star Wars universe there are many planets where humans are the dominant species when it comes to numbers, but there are just as many planets where humans are short in supply. The universe is seen as a hodgepodge of many races and species, many of which are sentient and have their own civilizations that have built in a variety of ways. There are even those civilizations in Star Wars that are not as technologically advanced as other planets. The reason why none of this is science fiction however is that it all relies so heavily on a less-defined origin point and the fact that there really is no dominant race in the universe, no matter that humans are seen as so numerous.
It’s a hard pill to swallow really when it’s been noted that Star Wars has been called one of the greatest science fiction stories ever, but the truth is that it’s fantasy, not science fiction. There’s plenty of science in there, but it all has the undercoating of fantasy upon which it was built, an underlying explanation of things that continuously falls back on ‘it works because…reasons’. There’s a book of schematics for weapons, ships, and other devices in the Star Wars universe for those seeking the overall science of it, and George Lucas did his absolute best to give a ‘scientific’ explanation for the Force upon using the term midichlorians, but really, when it comes to Star Wars, it’s easy to think that a lot of people would rather believe the fantasy than the science.