Keeping With The Current
Home In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
A couple weeks ago, I revisited one of the timeless classics in American cinema: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
For as long as I can remember, Star Wars has been near and dear to my heart. If you’ve been a close follower of these columns (and I know there are many of you out there), you know that recollection of childhood memories is not my strong suit. But what I did vividly recall is watching the original three films over and over again in my family room. Sitting in my pajamas, eagerly looking up at the TV, I must have watched those VHSes around 100 times collectively and knew every line of every film.
I used to cheer when Han Solo and Leia escaped Darth Vader’s clutches on Hoth, cringe when Han Solo got frozen in carbonite, and cry when my favorite character, Boba Fett, fell into the Sarlacc pitt (don’t worry, there will be more on this later).
But my passion for the Galactic Civil War didn’t just stop with watching the movies. I had drawers full of toys, from a Millennium Falcon replica to action figures of every major, and virtually every minor, character in the films. My favorite toys were the countless plastic head busts of characters that folded open to depict a pivotal scene from one of the movies that were always scattered across my floor. It was here that I could deviate from the script a bit and make up my own fan fiction innovative plots. I could make Luke accept Darth’s offer to join forces with the Dark Lord at the pivotal battle at the end of Empire, or have Boba Fett beat everyone up at the execution scene at the beginning of Return of Jedi (I wasn’t kidding when I said he was my favorite). But I quickly learned that what I made up in my head was never better than what was on screen.
I’ve grown older—many of my passions and interests have, obviously, changed. But Star Wars seems to have the knack of sticking on my list of favorite movies and favorite things in general. So, at the ripe age of 22, I’m still an avid Star Wars geek. But I’m fine with it because I know I’m not the only one out there.
Many people have studied, analyzed, and marveled at the success of the fantasy film series. For me, the most amazing aspect of Star Wars is that a 33-year-old USC film grad could formulate an obscure world and cast of creatures in such a way that a broad audience could generally accept it. How did he do it? Well, it is mostly due to the fact that it’s a story that we have read and seen many times before.
At its core, it’s simply a story of good vs. evil. There’s a hero and a bad guy that are so apparent that a 3-year-old could spot it, an easy-to-follow plotline, and a grandiose music score that lets you know how you should feel in each scene. While the details of the story are obscure, the main themes of Star Wars are anything but obscure.
This concept of consistency throughout our favorite stories is by no means my own original thought. Philosopher Joseph Campbell originally proposed the theory in his infamous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. There are consistent pieces of a hero’s journey, allowing people to easily relate to the story and use it as means to reflect on their own lives. It’s a concept that allows directors and writers to let their fantastical ideas flourish as long as they anchor them with key story elements. Many directors have done it well, but, in my mind, no one has grasped the idea better than George Lucas.
As for my love for Boba Fett, it’s something that I really can’t explain. Maybe it’s his skills as a bounty hunter that make him my favorite character in this galaxy of characters, or perhaps it’s his menacing demeanor and voice.
But, to be perfectly honest, I think it was his jetpack that really sold me in the end.