A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … Ah, who am I kidding – this is an article about “Star Wars.” Star Wars needs no introduction. Trying to introduce Star Wars is like trying to reinvent sliced bread – it’s completely impossible and honestly not wanted by any.
The reason we are all here today is that there is a new “Star Wars” movie coming out in December 2015 (insert fangirl screaming here). If you haven’t seen the trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” aka “Star Wars: Episode VII,” go watch it now. If you’ve already watched it, go watch it again. I’ll wait.
Wasn’t it awesome? The best 80 seconds of your life, logo included? Did you cry a little? Did you cry a lot?
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. If you couldn’t tell, I really like “Star Wars.”
A “Star Wars” film hasn’t graced our movie screens since “Revenge of the Sith” came out nearly 10 years ago. So who do we have to thank for this new tale about the Jedi Knights and their eternal struggle with the forces of the Dark Side? Why our good friends over at the Mouse House – the Walt Disney Company.
Disney has a habit of snatching up companies smaller than theirs (which isn’t that hard when you’re a company the size of Disney). They did it in 2009 when they acquired Marvel Entertainment, the company responsible for a sizable chunk of our favorite superheroes, and they did it again in 2012 when they bought Lucasfilm, the company founded by Lucas himself in 1971 and responsible for the not only the “Star Wars” films but the “Indiana Jones” series as well.
Next time you take a visit to Disney World, thank Mickey for saving Chewbacca.
Many “Star Wars” fans, diehards and casuals alike, were nervous about what the buyout would mean for the future of their favorite franchise. Would Disney’s involvement mean that we’d suddenly find R2-D2 sporting a pair of black mouse ears in every subsequent film?
Then the teaser came out, which I am reposting again here because it is AMAZING, and many worries were soothed while others were ignited.
I can’t speak for every single “Star Wars” fan, of course, but I think it says something that the “Star Wars” franchise is nearly 50 years old, yet it still inspires the same feelings of awe in us now as it did back in 1977. I know I practically felt myself revert to a younger age when that iconic “Star Wars” theme started playing. (I’m a bit of an odd case in that I didn’t actually watch these movies until I was in high school, but they still mean a lot more to me than some movies I watched as a child.)
Then again, the trailer could have been 2 straight minutes of R2-D2 blinking at the screen, and we would have loved it. Honestly, the movie itself could be 3 straight hours of just that, and I’d be willing to give it an Oscar.
But now you’re probably thinking, “Why ‘Star Wars?’ What about this franchise has made it so beloved for nearly 50 years that people have grafted it permanently into their skins, made it the central theme of their weddings, and even named their children after it?”
I think a big part of the appeal of “Star Wars” is the universal tone of its message (no pun intended). Director George Lucas molded the original tale of Luke Skywalker after the work of Joseph Campbell, author of “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Campbell’s research found that almost every story that has had some kind of lasting impact on a culture followed the same basic outline, whether intentionally or not. He dubbed this universal hero’s journey the “monomyth.”
Lucas intentionally wrote “Star Wars” to fit the layout of the “monomyth.” All of the pieces are there: the “call to adventure” (Princess Leia sending the distress message), acquiring aid and helpers (Luke getting Han Solo and Chewbacca to help him on his quest), even down to the surviving a great ordeal (The scene when Luka and his friends are trapped in the Death Star’s trash compactor.) Every step of “Star Wars” was very lovingly and intentionally crafted to appeal to as many people as possible.
Now, some may find this method to be cheating, gimmicky almost. Can someone really be called a great writer if they stick to an already well-established formula with little variation to it? I think so.
Strip away all the high speed chases and fuzzy bears, and “Star Wars” becomes the story about one boy trying to find his place in a large, ever-unfolding, sometimes unfeeling universe while he struggles internally with balancing his potential to do great good with his potential to do great evil. This theme is repeated again in the prequel trilogy where we get to see Luke’s father, Anakin, succumb to the darkness within him.
At the end of the day, I think that’s what really draws us to this franchise. We all need to be reminded that good can triumph, whether it’s over an evil galactic empire spanning thousands of galaxies or in our own day-to-day lives. I think with all the turmoil happening around us these days, we need that message now more than ever. “Star Wars” is the story for every child who ever looked up at the sky and dreamed of finding more.
Also, lightsabers are just really, really cool and Han Solo is super hot. That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Rosie Brown is a sophomore prospective journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.