This should refresh you on some of the basic similarities between Star Wars and Inheritance. Coincidence? I’m not too convinced. ((Parts in double parentheses are additions by Sally.))

Eragon / Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Eragon1 grows up on a subsistence farm in a remote part of the world2 with his uncle. Eragon finds a mysterious object, sent by a rebel princess, and intended for someone else. The mysterious object results in the destruction of the farm and the death of Uncle Garrow3 at the hand of the Empire’s4 agents. The agents search of Eragon, but the object leads him to the town bum ((and the person for whom the mysterious object was in fact intended)), Brom5. Brom leads Eragon to safety from the Empire, shows him that he is a dragon rider6, and trains him in magic7. And he gets a special sword that only dragon riders yield (and they have special colors)8, ((which at one point is revealed to have been his father’s)). Eragon insists on rescuing the elven princess Arya9 from the Empire’s massive dungeon10. Trouble occurs when the Emperor’s right hand man, Durza11, a black magic user12, arrives on the scene. Brom sacrifices himself to fight Durza while Eragon and Arya escape. Eragon meets a handsome, morally gray, scoundrel who assists him, Murtagh13. Shortly after arriving at the rebel camp, the Empire attacks in force, but is defeated.

Eldest / Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

In Eldest, Eragon travels to see his new mentor, Oromis14, a powerful dragon rider whose existence was a secret. ((Eragon studies with Oromis for a while, but before his training is complete he runs away to help his friends.)) The Rebels are being chased by the Empire, and are forced to relocate in Surda15. ((Meanwhile, Eragon’s sibling’s beloved Katrina13 is captured by the Empire, and he will aid in her rescue at the beginning of the next installment.)) The Empire and the Rebels have a showdown, where it is revealed that Murtagh is Eragon’s brother, and their father was the Emperor’s old right hand man, Morzan16. ((In the process, Eragon loses his sword.))

Eragon explanations:

1 Luke Skywalker

2 Tatooine

3 Uncle Garrow

4 The Galactic Empire

5 Obi-wan Kenobi

6 Jedi Knight

7 The Force

8 Lightsaber

9 Princess Leia

10 The Death Star

11 Fake Darth Vader

12 Dark Force

13 Han Solo

Eldest explanations:

14 Yoda

15 Hoth

16 Some interesting things to consider here. Some people like to argue that this isn’t a blatant rip-off, because Leia was supposed to Luke’s sibling. But all Christopher Paolini is doing is subtracting the relationship from Arya and adding it to Murtagh. The underlying value of the equation hasn’t changed. There is also some role confusion between Morzan, who is clearly Darth Vader, and Durza who is also clearly Darth Vader. ((I would argue that Durza isn’t Vader, who does little or no direct fighting in the first movie, but rather a humanoid incarnation of the Death Star. By hitting the critical spot, Eragon/Luke is able to destroy him/it. Instead, it’s Murtagh who steps into the role of Vater for the later books.)) Paolini just took Darth Vader and split him into two personality lacking villains. As it turns out, Morzan was a member of the ancient order who went to the dark side, betrayed it, and lead it to its downfall.

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  1. Garrick on 22 September 2008, 06:57 said:

    Star Wars is a classic archetypal epic journey. Examine and compare with the Harry Potter series – you’ll find many similarities as well. HP is also an epic journey.

    It’s part of the form, man.

  2. Snow White Queen on 6 October 2008, 19:58 said:

    True, true, but still…if you can make such blatant comparisons like that, you know that someone has a severe lack of creativity. (and by someone you know i mean christopher paolini)

    You can’t really transplant specific events from SW straight into HP like slyshy did with eragon…it’s still an epic journey, but there’s a difference between similarities between genre/type of book and just plain copying.

    (well, i consider it to be a ‘legal’ form of copying. it really took soooo much creativity on cp’s part to meld star wars plot with lord of the rings culture. even my nine year old brother would have been capable- he loves both. sure, he might have replaced dragons with dinosaurs, but at least the dinosaurs would have done something important, unlike what CP did!)

  3. Rand on 7 October 2008, 17:05 said:

    Clearly, Paolini has run out of ideas. Rather- let me restate that- he never had any to start with!
    His writing is well-off enough, considering he was nineteen, eighteen, perhaps, when he first started writing if overly dramatic.
    His story, whoever, needs to stop ripping off from predecessors.
    Star wars is still the indisputed best. V. true- Copying is the most sincere form of flattery!

  4. SallyB on 11 November 2008, 00:50 said:

    I added a few extra similarities (they’re in double parentheses). Let me know if you object and I’ll remove them (or you can do it yourself, obviously).

  5. SlyShy on 11 November 2008, 01:40 said:

    Nope, it’s cool, and spot on.

  6. Carl on 1 December 2008, 05:01 said:

    Ha! Awesome! Now, watch “Wanted” from last summer, and do it again. God, its funny.

  7. Dia on 10 December 2008, 22:14 said:

    Honestly, just arguing that ‘Star Wars is the classic hero cycle, therefore every other series using the Heros Cycle is like it’ just does not work for me. Examine The Matrix, for example. That follows the heros cycle as well, and yet has little to no similarities to Star Wars. I’m going to link to Anti-Shur’tugal here, which has a similar article about Star Wars/Eragon which is a great read, and goes even more in depth into plot similarities than this article:

  8. Virgil on 11 December 2008, 00:07 said:

    Yeah, it gets bad when you can change the names of places and things, and the story is the same.

  9. trexmaster on 24 December 2008, 00:07 said:

    I was aware of the similarities between Eragon and Star Wars the moment I walked out of the theater after seeing the movie (this was before I even touched one of the bricks).

    Is it even legal for CP to adopt other people’s plots like that? You would expect George Lucas to sue the hell out of him by now.

  10. Hedwig Widrig on 24 December 2008, 00:26 said:

    A legal battle: the one form of criticism that CP really, really can’t ignore. At least, one would hope.

  11. SlyShy on 24 December 2008, 00:32 said:

    This has probably been stated at some point: both stories are pretty generic, so it’s no surprise they are extremely similar. On this basis there isn’t much legal ground for a law suit, especially since Star Wars isn’t losing any money from Inheritance, and Star Wars as a brand isn’t being damaged. Still, the similarities are lame.

  12. Loz on 12 January 2009, 14:04 said:

    I think you are trying to hard to find plot similarities. when you go over the book so basically sure there are some similarities in it but some of them you have tried to seem like plot similarities but are not. Surda was always a base for the Varden just not the one they were using during the books events. If you read the 3rd book you will find it highly differs from the star wars series with multiple plot twists that are just not similiar to star wars at all. the whole lightsaber thing is just stupid. the colours is just so they match their dragons not specific and the lightsabers were completely different from conventional weapon in star wars but in eragon they are just better swords so the riders dont break them with their strength. also the “force” in starwars was limited to use by jedis but in eragon many people use it. and magic is a key feature in most fantasies star wars cannot claim the force/magic as its own. “Darth Vader”? (morzan) is revealed NOT to be eragons father and the sword is therefore not his fathers. At no-point does Vaders other child turn againt luke either. The comparison between han solo and murtagh is laughable as they have virtually no similarities with han solo being a comic releif styled character and murtagh being very dark and secretive. Also you blend multiple charcters into one starwars one. That in itself shows the weakness of your arguement having to swap people about in your points. And the DEATH STAR is being compared with a standard prison in eragon. I beleive the death star destroys planets? wheras this is shown to be a normal prison in eragon. The Death star would be urubaen the evil kings citadel if it was anything but they have had nothing to do with that yet. Whilst i admit there are some similarities EVERY book can be found to have similarities with another be they coincidental or on purpose but implying it is an entire rip off is just stupid cynical an narrow minded

  13. SlyShy on 12 January 2009, 14:43 said:

    It’s true that Paolini branched his series off in the second and third books, but the similarity in the first book is undeniable.

    That said, even the differences you point out are superficial at best. Even on top of that, there are tons more reasons Inheritance is poorly written, that have nothing to do with the derivative plot line.

    If you like, I can go into more detail and deconstruct both your arguments and your grammar.

  14. OverlordDan on 12 January 2009, 18:05 said:

    Oooh, snap! :P

    I love these articles (I look for a new one every morning to read during breakfast). Please keep churning them out!

  15. Kokonilly on 26 March 2009, 23:44 said:

    The third footnote should be Uncle Ben, not Uncle Garrow.

    Otherwise, very nice! ;)

  16. SlyShy on 26 March 2009, 23:53 said:

    Good catch. It all starts to blend together in my mind.

  17. Cate on 11 April 2009, 16:16 said:

    I loved this, it’s so true.

    One thing bothered me however, though I might be missing the point – Brom never sacrificed himself against Durza, he sacrificed himseld against the Ra’zac. Plus, Arya wasn’t there yet.

    Sorry to be a hair-splitter. :P

  18. Rebecca on 17 June 2009, 02:09 said:

    Absolutely love it! Thanks, SlyShy!”

    Oh and, actually, the third footnote should be “Uncle Owen”. :p

  19. Faisal on 1 September 2010, 23:14 said:

    Actually, such similarities come by accident and the writers should not be blamed for it. Even if it is a recap of an earlier story, it still bears an unique beauty that every story does. It took all the effort of the writer to bring the plot together and that’s creativity in itself. Besides, you can’t help it if your own ideas has been occupied by someone before you. Paolini might have had the idea before he read Star Wars!

  20. Steph (what is left) on 5 September 2010, 21:51 said:

    I kind of agree with Faisal. I think it’s an accident, cause, don’t hate on me here, but the plot of Star Wars is kinda generic.

    I think a secondary reason may have been that he was influenced a lot by Star Wars, and that it was a little subconscious, like, “Where do I go from here? Maybe if I just rely on what I’ve seen before…”

    Hardly creative, but then nobody’s first efforts ever really are, are they? It’s just a misfortune that he published and was praised before he could grow out of that stage, as most of us would tend to do.

    I mean, The Bell Jar rips a couple of ideas off from The Catcher in the Rye. And nobody’s hating on Sylvia Plath.

  21. Oddie on 1 February 2011, 21:58 said:

    I didn’t notice the (multiple and obvious) similarities until after watching Star Wars again after I had read the Inheritance series. I was outraged, actually, because I had loved Paolini’s books. But we have to give him some slack. He was around 16 when he wrote Eragon. No one has original ideas when they are 16. All the stories I tried to write when I was that age were thinly-veiled coppies of the stories I loved. I actually didn’t even notice that I was doing it. It wasn’t until I read over them later that I thought, Crap, that sounds EXACTLY like such-and-such.

  22. Danielle on 2 February 2011, 22:23 said:

    Yes, but as has been pointed out before, you and I didn’t publish our crappy rip-off books. We left them in our notebooks, then gained better writing skills. Paolini had his parents publish his book, which only rewarded him for mediocrity.

  23. Hansolo312 on 14 June 2011, 08:17 said:

    You also cannot forget that in Eragon/ A New Hope, a rebel princess is traveling with some guards and some items, The Egg/ The Death Star Plans, that are absolutely vital to the rebellion. The princess is attacked leading to the farmboy, Eragon/ Luke being trained in the way of the ancient monkhood.

  24. EragonBrisingr on 5 December 2011, 18:57 said:

    You could compare this plot with every fantasy story out there, dusty ass starwars fanboy

  25. Fireshark on 6 December 2011, 12:46 said:

    The setting and characters have elements comparable to many things, but the plot itself is very much Star Wars, especially in book 1. It is much more specific than just the basic Hero’s Journey story.

  26. BettyCross on 6 December 2011, 17:05 said:

    I’ve long been aware of the resemblances between Eragon and Star Wars IV: A New Hope. I’m not much bothered by it. Stealing plots happens all the time. Great writers do it. Shakesspeare, my favorite example, stole every one of his plots from either history or folklore or other plays. With rare exceptions, no one remembers the works he got his plots from.

    Paolini can be faulted on many other grounds, such as bland or inconsistent characterization, poor prose style, implausible plot twists, etc.

  27. Eragon11 on 20 January 2012, 21:40 said:

    It’s not a rip-off, but contains elements of Star Wars. It also has stuff From LOTR and Narnia

  28. Jan on 2 April 2012, 17:26 said:

    Wow I’ve never seen Star Wars so I didn’t notice, but the whole time I was reading the first book I was thinking, “This seems really familiar.”

  29. Rackshasas on 14 July 2012, 22:00 said:

    ok everyone since everyones pointin at paolin i’d just like to show this to everyone. this is basically exactly the same thing done to JK ROWLING! she is the worlds richest woman and someone looked at starwars then looked at harry potter 1 and just went THERE ARE SIMILARITIES. everyone who has seen star wars has been influenced by it and the themes of the first star wars movie of the trilogy are COMMONLY REOCCURRING. so just GET OVER IT.

  30. swenson on 14 July 2012, 23:57 said:

    Rackshasas, you may be interested in this article.

  31. Asahel on 15 July 2012, 01:19 said:

    And I’d be interested if that link had actually led to any information. It did not. No worries, though, I can clearly see all the many similarities that Eragon and Harry Potter shared with Star Wars.

    Like, remember how the main hero started off as a poor farmboy in all three? No? That was only Eragon and Star Wars?

    Ok, well remember how the main hero had to rescue a princess from a heavily guarded enemy fortress in all three? No? That was only Eragon and Star Wars?

    Hmmm, how about how the main hero had a mentor who gave him a blade with an unusual color in all three? No? Harry Potter’s only special blade was not unusual in color and he pulled it from a hat instead of it being given to him by his mentor and he eventually gave it back to its creator?

    Hang on, how about this one: the main hero was interested in joining a rebellion movement to overthrow the evil Empire in all three, right? No? Just Eragon and Star Wars again?

    Hold on, how about how the evil Empire’s agents kill the main hero’s poor farmer uncle in all three? No? Well dang it, I’m going to stop trying now. I think I made my point about two points ago anyway.

  32. Asahel on 15 July 2012, 01:21 said:

    Ooo, just thought I’d clarify that the link I was referring to in my above post was Rackshasas’ not swenson’s. The link that swenson provided does lead to a page with actual information.

  33. Aaron A Aaronson on 16 August 2012, 06:02 said:

    I have nothing against stealing a few archetypes and a few plot points BUT THE ENTIRE PLOT STRUCTURE? Admittedly Star Wars itself was taken from Akira Kurosawa and admittedly Paolini has admitted himself that he was inspired by it and claims it was originally suppose to be practice book BUT HE GOT IT PUBLISHED. One could say it was this cliched (tried and true) plot structure which helped it become famous, others could say it was his easy to read prose for someone so young BUT DON’T EVER TRY USING HIS AGE TO EXCUSE ANYTHING, BAD WRITING IS BAD WRITING NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE. Lastly the relations missed a few points so here’s the question I ASKED PAOLINI IN PERSON at a Q&A convention:

    Farm boy discovers something wanted by an evil emperor and goes to see an old story teller who was once apart of a mystic group of peace keepers that were betrayed by one of their own. Teaming up they travel to a enemy fortress filled with a training sequence where they rescue a captive princess, but the old story teller dies. Return to the rebel base the protagonist fights in a battle in which he becomes a hero. Ignoring the family related bad guy twists in the second book, is this the plot to Eragon or Star Wars: A New Hope?

    His answer basically explained what I said above so try not to go in a circles and let this ruin your life.

  34. Coby Prigg on 28 September 2013, 07:56 said:

    As a huge fan-boy of Star Wars, I just gotta say that I am incredibly shocked in reading this. I read the Inheritance Cycle about 3 years ago, how did I never click on to this? I feel very foolish.

  35. Trying as hard as i can to be unbiased on 23 December 2013, 17:06 said:

    I now completely see how stars wars is eragon. there are some vary glaring similarities, but then there are also some big differences. Eragon kinda has a double plot with the Ra’zac and then later the varden, and of course there is the whole family trying to kill each other, which is kinda reversed. and of course, you neglect to mention Angela, who most certainly doesn’t exist in star wars. However, it must be noted that in book three and four CP really departed from star wars. As swenson said, you should also check out this link to hear the other side.

  36. Jacob Nathaniel on 10 November 2015, 18:07 said:

    every story is a rip off the dictionary.