Monday, May 4, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 4: Why I Love Star Wars

Out of all of the challenges I've done so far, I can say that this is the one that means the most to me. Sure, I hold Buffy and Mass Effect close to my heart, and Battlestar Galactica inspires me on the daily, but with Star Wars? Yeah, we go back a long way.

I was introduced to Star Wars by my dad, who was a huge fan and had seen all of the movies in the theater. I was born in at the end of 1983, so obviously I didn't get that privilege, but every time the movie would air on television, my dad would make sure that I knew so we'd be able to watch the then three-movie saga together. We both felt the sting of disappointment when we emerged from The Phantom Menace (which my mother slept through, but that's not really a surprise) and a similar rage with the following two movies in the prequel trilogy. As I got older, I started studying it in more depth, not just as entertainment but also as inspiration for my own writing. It's not perfect, of course, like no piece of art is. Female representation is lacking, to say the least, and the acting never really takes priority over myth-making. In the case of the prequels, the storytelling definitely takes a backseat to George Lucas' ego, but you know what? I still own them all and watch all of them from the first episode to the last.

It's hard to point to exactly what makes me love it so much. The series' boundless optimism and energy is so uplifting, even when Anakin is murdering younglings; you know that he will eventually atone ... well, kind of*. Then there's the witty banter between Leia and Han, just a bit of the insanely quotable dialogue that I know better than things I've written myself. You've also got the thousands of conversations I've had, discussing the finer points of morality and sacrifice into the wee hours of the night. Hell, just the other day, Three and I used Star Wars as an example of how science fiction and fantasy are dominated by men, and before that, a fellow comic book lover and I argued whether or not the selfless attitude of the Jedi was actually their undoing**. It's actually quite amazing if you think about it; a little independent film became a cultural force.

Perhaps that is what it is about Star Wars that makes it so special to me. Someone dreamed up a story so grand that it touched so many people and began to legitimize fandom all the way back in the 70s. A part of me thinks that, if someone as goofy as George Lucas can be successful making his movie his way, then maybe one day, I can do the same.


* Throwing your old boss down a reactor chute doesn't really make up for slaughtering innocent children, but hey, he tried. 
** My opinion? It totally was. If you only spend your time thinking of others, you drain yourself too much to actually do it effectively. However, if you only care about yourself, then guess what? You remove any good will from anyone around you and end up on your own. 
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