My Star Wars Childhood

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In honor of the last Force Awakens trailer, I decided that it was time to do my first Star Wars post. This will be an introduction story to what Star Wars is to me and its importance to me. Star Wars is very important to me, anyone who meets me will see that very quickly.

My family loved Star Wars. I have never been able to figure out where this love started. The old VHS’s of the original trilogy were on our movie shelf long before I was born. They were family favorite movies to watch.

I can never remember a time in my life when I hadn’t seen Star Wars. I would watch “The Empire Strikes Back” two or three times in a day. Quoting the movies is still a favorite pastime when I hang out with my family. We even worked together to collect all of the Star Wars Pepsi cans that were released  in 1999.

That is why I probably loved Star Wars. But that is not why Star Wars is my favorite story franchise in the world. Star Wars gave me a fantastic new world I couldn’t even begin to explore as child. It showed me characters from all walks of life being thrown together and forced to build trust to survive.

Luke was my favorite character growing up. He was just a guy living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, who had a spectacular gift, and managed to turn into the most powerful warrior in the galaxy. I loved seeing that progression. I think it gave me a lot of hope in my own life.

Something I have found interesting about this is that I still love Luke’s character arc in the movies but it isn’t the one that speaks to me the most anymore. I am attracted to whatever character has the most dynamic character in almost any story I encounter.

Luke had a dramatic character change but morally he remains mostly the same. Sure, he has trials he overcomes but at the start of the story Luke is kind-hearted, friendly, and is willing to sacrifice for others. At the end of the story, Luke is mostly the same with some growth but nothing dramatic.

The character that stands out now is Han Solo (I could talk about Darth Vader but that requires me to bring up the prequel trilogy and I don’t have time for that.). Han begins the story as a rogue who is incapable of putting his own life at risk for someone else without vast sums of money. He literally leaves all of his friends to die on a suicide mission.

Han Solo at the end of the series is a much different man. In stark contrast, he leads what is probably going to be a suicide mission. He volunteers for it. That change is what captures me. It takes three movies for that full turn. It’s a well developed character arc and has a beautiful payout.

That is what is more critical than anything else in Star Wars. I see characters that shaped my life. It’s a world that I love and has more written about it than anything else but I always come back because of the characters. Even the less than stellar writing of the prequel serves as just a mask for some of the best character arcs in fiction.

Well, that is the core of my Star Wars love. I can talk for hours about those characters. I could also talk for hours about the masterfully created world, incredibly unique character design, and astounding technical skills but maybe some other day.

Character should always be center of the story. If a story has a character then I want to know who they are and what they will become. This is harder than it seems some days and is rarely original anymore but those times it succeeds are the stories I remember.

I would love comments about Star Wars, character, or how you feel about this in general. I can’t wait to see if The Force Awakens manages to keep up with the originals. May the Force be with you all.

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2 thoughts on “My Star Wars Childhood

  1. Caroline

    I too grew up with Star Wars so it was especially fun for me to read this post. It’s incredible to me how many people these stories have captured, how much nostalgia is wrapped up in them for so many of us. I also found it especially interesting your comparison of Luke and Han’s character arcs. I wonder what we will find has happened to these characters in The Force Awakens, will the passage of time be evident in who they are?

    Like

  2. I love that these movies still capture the imagination of a generation behind me. I saw the first Star Wars movie when it came out in 1977–sitting in a mall theater in a summer afternoon with one of my cousins, both of us completely enthralled. It’s been over three decades but you too were shaped by Star Wars. I’m sure the “special effects” of those early films make you cringe a bit, but then again, that’s what makes them so wonderful. I love your description of the characters. There is indeed much to learn from these characters who have lived with us for so long!

    Like

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