My oldest daughter is just not into the whole Star Wars thing. She’s asked me more than once what the fuss is all about.
I respect her skepticism and her curiosity. Yet as someone who watched George Lucas’s world blossom as a child, fell in love with Han Solo as a tween and wore Princess Leia costumes for Halloween before they were readily available in stores, this is devastating somewhere in my inner psyche. Thank God for the younger child who asked for a Lightsaber for Christmas, even if she still calls it a Light Saver.
Star Wars, I told my daughter, is about more than toys, robots and coffee creamer with Darth Vader’s picture on it (yes this exists). The phenomenon is actually based in something quite important to our world – the epic struggle for good and evil. That is why it’s so all encompassing and so beloved by my generation, the first to grow up espousing the virtues of the Force.
I know, you’ve heard it before. I’m not the first to say it, and certainly not the one to say it best. Joseph Campbell did that when he wrote “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Luke Skywalker, our hero, embodies the goodness and innocence essential to save the galaxy from evil, illustrated through, guess what, government. There are so many parallels to the modern struggle that even Disney couldn’t have projected a better time to release this movie. But that’s not the point.
We need rich stories like Star Wars to remind us what the focus of human development should be. To wrestle the story of humanity from the red tape of living and teach us how to behave honorably. Sara gave me a pretty blank face when I told her something similar. I was talking above 10-year-old again.
So I went somewhere that would make other Star Wars geeks gasp – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sara’s been reading those books and knows the story. She knows good wins, evil loses again as it has over and over in the greatest stories of all time. Think about it: Harry as Luke, Ron and Hermoine as Han and Leia, Dumbledore as Obi-Wan/Yoda, Voldemort as the Emporor. You get it. Same story.
One of the more beautiful facets of the Star Wars Saga is its basis in the goodness of family. Our heroes are tied together by family, albeit probably the most disfunctional one ever imagined. But in the end, it is the tie that binds – Darth Vader’s dying words “Tell your sister you were right.”
Luke is right about so many things – but ultimately about the fact that he could not have come from someone completely evil. That he and his sister were honorable people created and born from love that was indeed a good thing. We cheered Darth Vader when he threw Palpatine into the abyss to save his SON. Family saves the universe.
I probably over philosophized this one, but Sara got it. She’s been running around telling me what other stories she’s found the classic good vs. evil theme running through. She’s also finding that good ALWAYS wins. I hope it’s giving her solace as we face unthinkable evil in our real lives.
I’m looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens, and feeding my Star Wars geekiness. It’s already resurrecting old jokes and fun memories I share only with my older brother. And I am excited about sharing it with my girls – particularly in the form of Princess Leia, who after my mother was my first role model for the woman I wanted, and still want, to be.
I worry in these last days before the release that the theme of good and the strength of family ties will be diminished in the movie by the darkness that hangs over our world today. But I know in my heart that is what makes Star Wars the juggernaut that it is. It’s hollow without it.
May the Force Be with You.