May the Force Be With You: Star Wars 40th Anniversary

A few years ago, I worked at a summer camp. There was a particular child at this summer camp that came in every day clad in Star Wars shirts and shoes. It impressed the staff and was a testament that is possible to parent while instilling a healthy geek background.

Obviously, the child hadn’t even been born when A New Hope came out in 1977. What has always been impressive about the Star Wars universe is its ability to remain relevant to generations that followed.

My fondest memory is when I used my dad’s metallic basketball pump as a lightsaber. It got dinged up, a lot, as I waved it around whacking into other things, pretending I was battling Darth Vader.

I was not a girly-girly. I liked Sailor Moon but prior to that, I fancied myself a Jedi.

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, RIP) was kickass. I mean, when we first see her or really hear her speak she’s Darth Vader’s prisoner. But she’s not small. She’s not scared. She’s defiant. She’s everything women want to be when surrounded by men who want to destroy her world (literally).

I didn’t even realize how much Leia meant to me until Fisher passed away. I rushed over to my local bookstore and purchased The Princess Diarist. I sat on the couch and read the book while A New Hope played on the TV.

Fisher’s death was an unexpected punch to the gut. It also made the final scene in Rogue one even more meaningful to me and anyone who felt the sudden urge to sob.

The beauty of Star Wars (sans episodes 1-3) is that characters represent very different parts of the human spectrum.

Whether it is Luke going from a naive, wide-eyed boy to rugged Jedi living on a deserted island.

Or Leia making the jump from Princess to General. Or Han, well, I suppose he learned to be a little less selfish.

I think everyone was a little hesitant when Disney bought LucasFilms. On the one hand, it was hard to trust George Lucas after episodes 1-3. It didn’t help that he has basically refused to ever release the original movie – ever.

But Disney in a completely different level. A wild card. But Disney didn’t disappoint. The story that I embraced a youngster has now evolved and expanded with a modern day sheen.

Personally, I preferred Rogue One, though it definitely outside the normal canon. For one, it stops with the whole, overplayed white man savior trope that gets used far too much in films. I’m a big fan of the whole unknown hero concept, which is probably why I like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow so much.

The Force Awakens mirrored a lot of the same elements in A New Hope was an attempt not to alienate old fans of the franchise, while still trying to keep things interesting.

Aside the tense fanboy syndrome that the movies have created, Star Wars has created a very interesting political scenario. Unfortunately for episodes 1-3 the politics get overlooked due to the dialogue and direction.

Star Wars remains relevant regardless of the current political atmosphere throughout the years. Given the current state of the world, Star Wars has an amazing opportunity to really make a statement. Hopefully, Disney and LucasFilms won’t disappoint and continue to deliver the type of movies that entertain but also provide the necessary commentary we need right now.

 

Leave a Reply