Today I thought I’d take some time out to explain why I “love Star Wars way too much”.
The year is 2005. I am eight years old, and Episode 3 has just come out in the cinemas. At this time, I had no interest in seeing it because I was a dumb eight year old. I hadn’t seen any trailers, and the ads I did see for it referenced characters I didn’t know or care about. I mean sure, I knew who Darth Vader was but asides from knowing he was a scary guy in a weird suit with breathing problems, I didn’t know anything about Star Wars, and I couldn’t care less.
Jump forward a year. Everything changed.
My dad brings home a pirated copy of Episode 1 from work for me to watch. Now somewhat wiser than I was a year ago, I decided to give it a go. After all, this was one had a “I” on it, so I figured it was a better place to start.
And say what you will about Episode 1, but it blew little Lisa Junior’s mind. I immediately fell in love with the Star Wars universe- the Jedi! The Sith! The podracing and the space battles! From the moment I started watching, I was fascinated with these characters and I wanted to see more. I mean, sure, young me was all “ew yucky kissy romance” every time Anakain and Padme were smooching it up in Episode 2, but at least I could appreciate its part in the story. And the introduction of even more Jedi and Anakin’s fall kept me interested.
When I got to Episode 3, my obsession with Star Wars was complete, and I hadn’t even seen the originals yet. The movie that is still, to this day, my favourite movie of all time. Anakin was easily my favourite character, something due in part to the fact that pre-teen me had a massive crush on episode 3 Anakin (that hair! And that sexy eye scar…ok I’ll stop now). But to me, Episode 3 was what topped it all off. The stories of characters I had loved since Episode 1 were coming to an end, or entering a new chapter. Something about Episode 3’s finality and seriousness engrossed me. The final half hour of Revenge of the Sith is still one of my favourite movie finales of all time.
And then it was on to the original trilogy! And I first, I hated A New Hope. Compared to the action-packed excitement of the prequels, I found a New Hope very dull. Though thankfully now I understand A New Hope’s merit. But Empire Strikes Back was where I really fell in love with the original trilogy- the confrontation between father and son, the implication of light and dark, the fight between good and evil. And finally, Return of the Jedi’s final confrontation between Luke, Vader and the Emperor is still something that rouses emotion in me today, and I will admit, every time I watch the victory celebration on Endor, I cry a little.
But why is that?
Star Wars is a big series, and that’s just considering the movies and not the plethora of content in Clone Wars, Rebels and other media. But it’s size is what I think makes it so obsessive. The Star Wars galaxy is full of adventures waiting to happen, and the great thing is that when all Star Wars fans inevitably imagine themselves in that galaxy, it’s possible that we could exist. The movies follow the story of the Skywalkers, but I think its the living, breathing universe of Star Wars itself that hooks us. It’s a whole universe that is so much more exciting than our own, but it’s believable. From the corrupt senate in the prequels, to the Nazi-like regime of the Empire, Star Wars takes inspiration from our own universe in many ways, which makes it easier for us to feel for and understand the Star Wars galaxy. The idea of good and evil locked in a constant battle appeals to our deepest instincts, and seeing that battle tear apart the Skywalkers appeals to our deepest emotions. We cry for the death of characters we love, and cheer when they prevail. Because deep down, we can all relate to the characters in some way or another, and to be honest, I think every Star Wars fan has wanted to be a part of these characters’ story- a part of something bigger. And even here on Earth, the films unite its fans in a way no other series has done. Star Wars has made friendships, and even long lasting romantic relationships (in fact it was our mutual love of Star Wars that helped me and my current partner get together).
To some, the Star Wars saga is just a bunch of movies. To others, it is like the Force itself. It surrounds us, binds us, penetrates us. It has taught us lessons and molded who we are.
From one Star Wars fan to another, may the Force be with you.