I love Star Wars. I have loved Star Wars from the first moment of hearing the John Williams’ score over the opening credits. I love Luke and Leia and lightsabers. I collected and played with Star Wars figures till the paint wore off. I had more back yard lightsaber battles than I can remember, and we were always off to rescue someone. I always wanted to be Luke, always wanted to be a Jedi. Even now, if someone asks me what super power I would want, the answer is the ability to use the Force. I do not want to be Superman or the Hulk, I want to wear a robe and carry a lightsaber (and maybe fly an X-wing). Even now, as an adult, one of my going to sleep exercises1 is to imagine I was a Jedi in real life. It would be super boring to sit a desk in front of a computer with a lightsaber at your side, but then again, most of being a Jedi is probably not laser sword fighting and deflecting blaster bolts.
Growing up Star Wars movies added to my sense of right and wrong. Don’t be a mindless follower, find your own path, stand up for the oppressed, be ever loyal to your friends. As a kid it gave me a clear delineation between good and evil. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Obi-Wan and the gang were clearly the good guys. Darth Vader, the Emperor, Grand Moff Tarkin, and the storm troopers were the bad guys. Those were the battle lines, and you either stood in the light or you stood for darkness. It was the Rebels versus the Empire.
Later I realized there was nuance to those sides, shadows in the light, an occasional beam of sunlight piercing through the darkness. Every time a ship blew up someone died. Stormtroopers were likely conscripted, coerced, and brainwashed. Han Solo was a pirate, a smuggler, and a mercenary who happened to fall in with the right crowd which let his light shine out. Obi-Wan held back the truth from Luke, in ways that would lead to much confusion and doubt.
One problem I have with Star Wars, which has certainly been exacerbated in the glut of marketing promotions surrounding “The Force Awakens”, is the iconography. Everywhere I look, I see R2-D2 or C3PO or I see Vader’s mask or a Stormtrooper’s helmet. These are to pervasive images of Star Wars. Sure I understand that Luke’s face or his blue/green lightsaber don’t provide the same kind of visual connection that these other things do, but I don’t care. I don’t love Star Wars for the droids or the villains. I love Star Wars for the Jedi. I hate the droids, they are my least favorite characters throughout the entire series. And Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, and even Boba Fett are bad guys. I don’t like bad guys. I don’t care that in the end Vader saves Luke, he is ultimately a bad guy. Just because he has a shred of humanity left at the end of his life, does not make up for all the evil shit he did. He killed all the Jedi (or at least was responsible for their deaths).
Like just about every Star Wars fan I could reminisce and opine for hours on end. I am looking forward to seeing the new movie, but I’m not sure when I will get there. Maybe I’ll just pull out the old VHS copies and watch the original vision. Or the DVDs. But either way I know that my heart will race from the moment that first trumpet sound in the opening sequence.
1 I often have trouble falling asleep, with my mind racing over the things I have to do and have done and need to accomplish, the worries of the week, month, and year. To combat this over-run of thoughts I have trained myself to focus completely on something that is inane, impossible, or complex and unrelated to anything currently going on in my life. This includes thinking about what it would be like to be a Jedi, how I would use those powers. Other ideas are what my ideal house would look like, how to safely invest money in the case of winning the lottery, or how I would build something complex. These things divert the focus off of real problems and allow my brain to relax enough that I usually fall asleep just few minutes into thinking about my sleep exercise scenario.