By Josiah Ferenczy
Star Wars. One of the most compelling, thrilling, beloved stories of all time. A timeless tale of good versus evil, of light, battling the dark. The Jedi, the Sith, and all of the characters in between weave their way into a giant tapestry that illustrates on a grand scale, the Human story.
Whether you were raised on Star Wars, or came to know it later in life, it’s hard to argue the impact that it has had on culture and the minds of creatives.
For the few skeptics out there, or for those who have been unfortunately turned off to their love for this story, I want to take a minute and answer the question: What does Star Wars mean to me? And maybe more importantly…
What Does Star Wars mean to you?
I was raised around Star Wars. While my dad didn’t particularly care about movies in general, my mom had worked at a movie theater during the release of the Original Trilogy. She and her friends practically had each movie memorized, so there was a fun connection even before I had seen A New Hope. After I had, I quickly watched Empire and Return of the Jedi. I fell in love.
As a kid, I was obsessed with stories. I loved sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, mystery, you name it. My dad read The Chronicles of Narnia to us as kids, so between that, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, I was inundated with imaginary worlds filled with war and romance and mystery and wonder.
I spent my days outside with wooden staffs and poles. Swinging them around, flying up and down on a trampoline, letting my imagination run wild. I’m still quite handy with a stick-sword today! But regardless of the world I had created or joined on any given day, there was always a damsel, or a mission, or a battle to be won. And I was always a Jedi.
As I started getting older, I began to wonder if these worlds might not be as imaginary as I thought. I continued to grow, and to immerse myself in these stories I loved as a kid. And they continued to captivate.
I remember the day Revenge of the Sith came out. Mom and I had a special date to see it together. Seeing General Grievous on-screen as a ten year-old kid was absolutely mind-blowing.
What kid wouldn’t love a cybernetically-enhanced alien with four arms who uses the weapons of his slain enemies to fight? And more-so, who wouldn’t love seeing him get his due when Obi-Wan Kenobi puts him in his place (sorry for the spoiler, but if you haven’t seen it by now, that’s on you).
Regardless, I began to see themes that were heavily implemented in Star Wars and other beloved stories I was raised on. Themes of sorrow or heartache. Themes of betrayal or confusion. Even themes of war.
But I also saw themes of triumph. I saw themes of love and themes of victory. I saw good defeat evil and I saw that no matter where you go, there’s always a battle to be fought.
At first this might seem discouraging, but I’d urge you to look a little more closely. Every person reading this has had a battle to fight. You’ve all experienced tragedy and loss, laughter and success. This isn’t an idea created by Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, or Chronicles of Narnia, or anything else.
This is the Human story. This is you and me in the day-to-day. The battle of good and evil, of light and dark, is one that penetrates the very essence of our beings.
It’s intricately woven into the fabric of our reality, and it’s unfortunately a reality that a lot of people miss. Or, even worse, choose to ignore.
I’ll talk very briefly about the latest Star Wars content. It’s polarizing, to say the least. In fact, I think if you go ask Webster’s, ‘polarizing’ is now defined as “Disney’s Star Wars.”
And sure, we can sit here and have discussions and debates and “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” conversations with each other all day long. In fact, sometimes I like those.
But I take myself back to the theater. Opening night. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
And you know what I remember? Awe and wonder. I remember every single person in that jam-packed theater gasping and cheering and shouting and crying together because our story, their story, your story was being projected on the giant screen in front of them.
That’s why I love Star Wars.
That’s why it’s still magic to me even now. That’s why I do and always will invest and invite people into the magical worlds of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Because when I see the Jedi, when I see the Fellowship, when I see the Pevensies or Eustace Scrubb or Prince Caspian… I see me.
Do you still see you?