Long before I began on my journey as a writer, certainly before I picked up my first comic and even before I travelled all across Middle-Earth there was one fandom that started it all : Star Wars.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars coming out and that’s why I wanted to talk about what this series meant to me. With the exception of Star Trek or Flash Gordon, we had never seen anything like it until this film, we were given glimpses into the lives of these fantastical characters and new worlds that we never wanted to leave and there’s always more on the horizon even far after the main characters stories are told.
The first film was what introduced us to characters like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca and many other classics that would stick with us for years. But why? Why were these wild stories so close to us? I think it’s because we’ve all felt like Luke before, I think we’ve all worried about our place in the universe and I think that resonates with us. We’ve all wanted to be Strong like Leia, cool like Han, wise like Obi-Wan or Yoda and loyal like Chewbacca, R2-D2 or C-3PO. That’s why Star Wars hits home with us is because of how powerful the storyline is. There will never be a scene that affected me more as a kid then Vader saving Luke from the emperor and him wanting to see Luke with his own eyes one time. We finally saw Anakin for what he was and it’s just an incredibly powerful and emotional scene.
Another reason the film was groundbreaking was THX and ILM. These studios basically built the special effects department and it’s why most of their effects still hold up to this day. Practical Effects will always hold up because they still look real even if the film is older and that’s why movies like The Force Awakens and Rogue One stuck with them so much. Their stop motion work with the AT-AT’s on Hoth was nothing short of phenomenal and it’s clear to see why that scene is considered so iconic. Think of Star wars in your head and you might get a certain visual of something you loved like a character or a ship or a lightsaber but the lightsaber doesn’t work as well without sound and the sound of the Tie-Fighters is what makes the Death Star battle so intense. Think of most of your major blockbusters over the last 30 years and they were probably helped by something that ILM or THX created. Prime Example : You like Pixar? John Lasseter got his start with ILM along with half of the staff from the first Toy Story. In other words, would we have had Pixar if it wasn’t for Star Wars? Possibly, but it still would be very different.
And of course, we can’t talk about Star Wars without mentioning John Williams. His work on multiple different films have made him one of the most iconic composers of the last 50 years but it’s Star Wars that’s his crowning achievement. Whether it was something classical like “The Imperial March” or something new like “Duel Of The Fates” John Williams’ music is something that we all associate with Star Wars.
Memory is an interesting thing because I can’t tell you when I first saw these films and I can’t tell you the exact moment that the love of this galaxy overtook me but I can tell you exactly how it felt to hold a micro-machines X-Wing in my hand and imagine that there were worlds out there with stories for ages. I can tell you how I longed to become a Jedi Knight like Luke following Obi-Wan. But most of all I can tell you how it felt when me, my family and my friends got together to watch these films and enjoy the galaxy of lore together. When I really look back at it, to paraphrase Obi-Wan, these were my first steps towards wanting to become an entertainer. I’ve always wanted to create stories and characters like these because I want people years from now to have the same feelings as I did when I first saw the Tantive IV being chased by the Star Destroyer, watched the Millennium Falcon narrowly dodge Tie-Fghters or was drawn to the edge of my seat as Luke made the Trench Run on the Death Star.
That’s what Star Wars truly means to me. It’s the nostalgia of that childhood magic, the excitement of the battles and the wonder that there’s something else just beyond that horizon. It’s that feeling that carries me through my career…and that’s all because of Star Wars.