Since the release of The Force Awakens trailer, I have partaken in many conversations about Star Wars. The conversations have ranged from the Skywalker lineage to the science and technology. The most recent comment that struck my heart was “Star Wars is just a story, it has no point.” This simple statement has me contemplating my love of the films and the expanded universe. What does Star Wars “mean”? What does Star Wars mean to me?
I will never forget the first time I was introduced to Star Wars. I was fourteen and freshly put into state’s custody. The struggle in my teenage self was deep and I was facing abandonment issues of my parents. I didn’t know who I was and I was deeply lost. The movie theater in Knoxville was showing all three original movies for $5 and my foster dad decided to treat me for a Saturday full of the Force. I watched in awe and intent as a young Luke Skywalker found himself and his family…I was hooked.
I am now 38 years old, and I can sit and watch all the Star Wars movies over and over with as much love as the first time I watched them. When I saw the Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens it brought tears to my eyes and my heart leapt. To me, Star Wars is so much more than a story — so much more than the hero’s journey. Star Wars has imprinted itself onto my being and helped me to attempt to be the best human being I can be. This may sound ridiculous to some, but let me explain myself:
There are many life lessons to be learned from Star Wars.
- If you want to be successful, you have to believe in yourself. When Luke was training with Yoda he says, “I don’t believe it.” and Yoda replies, “That is why you fail.”
- Fear is the root to all evil. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
- Once you make an immoral decision, it will start a path that will end badly. “If once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
- Be at peace in your heart. “You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”
Star Wars teaches us as humans to yearn to be a better person, to let go of the fear and anger in our hearts. The story of Luke Skywalker is so much more than a hero’s journey. We learn that family doesn’t have to be blood and anyone can be a warrior. There was so much fear and hate in Anakin that led him down the dark path, but we learn that no matter how dark that path may be there is still light somewhere in all that darkness and hate. All the Star Wars movies resonate with these lessons, and I find it offensive when someone says the first three that were released are the only “real” Star Wars movies. All the stories — including the expanded universe — are “real”. Each story reaches a new generation and those lessons reach out to them. Star Wars affects each person differently and can be interpreted in a million different ways. That is the beauty of Star Wars: it means something different to everyone. So I ask of you, what does Star Wars “mean” to you?