It’s a little hard to believe that the new Star Wars comes out in a few months! Frankly, I’m afraid to be excited. I think I’ve pretty well braced myself to be disappointed…but regardless of how emotionally satisfying they are, they’re sure to be a fun ride. In order to protect my hopes I have been keeping myself distant from all the run up hype and rumors (we won’t talk about the year before Ender’s Game). So I really don’t know much about what this new film will be like. But I’d like to take this time to reflect on the greatness of that first trilogy.
1. My parents are big fans. I remember them trying to describe the plot before I saw the movies. We were still living in the remote jungle at this time. I thought they were lunatics (in the best way). The world they described was so far beyond my imagination that the one thing I went into the movie remembering was that it was about a princess somehow. Granted, my movie taste is now different from my parents. But watching Star Wars was truly a family experience.
2. Lightsabers. Obviously. Futuristic sword fighting except way more dangerous! (And it’s hard to get more dangerous than a sword fight). Not only do lightsabers duel in the traditional manner, but they can fend off energy weapons, effectively fighting swords and “bullets!” (Plus they come in fun colors!!!)
3. John Williams’ score. Yeah, I don’t think I need to explain or defend this point.
4. R2D2. What a sassy little robot. I don’t need you to agree with me on this one–it’s a very subjective choice. We played Star Wars when I was a kid. My older sister of course won all rights to play Princess Leia. So I was R2. Frankly, he’s the real hero of Star Wars.
5. Extraordinary setting. From Cloud City, to the ice world Hoth, to the deserts of Tattooine, Star Wars has got it all. They can choose any landscape and terrain they want. They are working in a Universe of thousands of habitable worlds! It’s a multi-disciplinarian’s playground: writers, anthropologists, make-up artists, set designers, linguists all get to play around and have fun!
6. The Jedi Knights. The original superheroes. (Alright, not the original superheroes, but one of the first superhero movies!) They’re like a cross between ninjas and monks. They practice self-control and can tap into the most powerful force in the Universe to accomplish superhuman feats, all in the name of justice. They’re pretty cool. I want to be a Jedi.
7. The Millennium Falcon-the ultimate underdog. It’s old and beat up, but it “made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” And there’s something about its design that is pleasing to the eye. It makes the story interesting that they don’t have a fancy new ship, and adds validity to Solo and Chewy’s outlaw characters.
8. The Skywalker family. I may not approve of how they told their story in the prequels, but this family has some interesting history. Anakin Skywalker, the powerful Jedi Knight lured to the dark side who became one of the most infamous villains in T.V. history. Luke Skywalker, the impulsive, emotional kid whose entire family history is a lie. Leia Skywalker (her family history is also a lie) the fighting diplomat. Of course many consider the father reveal in Episode V to be one of the most dramatic plot twists in movie history. And despite the kiss controversy, the fact that Luke and Leia were twins was one of the most satisfying resolutions of the series for me.
9. The opening sequence. What other movie that isn’t a 1950s Western expects the audience to read the first lines of the story? When the music starts and the slanted title letters come into view everyone starts applauding. It’s a signature move and you probably either love it or hate it.
10. Han Solo. My father pretty much places all the success of that first film on the shoulders of Harrison Ford. He is one of the best actors of the franchise. His renegade, smuggler character adds great depth and contrast to the character spectrum. He’s grumpy, he’s smart, he’s selfish, he’s charismatic, and deep down he’s a good guy.
It was a fun trilogy that didn’t take itself too seriously. It sparked the imagination and took us all on an adventure. I hope this new trilogy will return to its roots and not take after the step-brother prequels. (Although I loved the music and visuals from those films, Padme Amidala and Anakin just ruined the whole thing)