With Star Wars being back in the news in a big way, it got me thinking about how grateful I am for Star Wars. Not to George Lucas in particular, although I wouldn’t deny him mad props for creating the thing in the first place. But I’m specifically grateful for the entire Star Wars phenomenon: the vast media, cultural and merchandising empire built around the six movies. The giant sandbox where media, games, toys, clothing and various bric-a-brac (Star Wars Pancake molds?!) all lay scattered about, waiting for creative geeks to play with them again.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been rekindling some of my love of Star Wars. I’ve played the video game Knights of the Old Republic and am almost done with its sequel. I’ve listened to the recent novel, Darth Plagueis, and revisited the soundtracks, and I’ll top it all off by viewing all six of the movies. Probably not all in one day. What has always delighted me about Star Wars isn’t the detail of the particular story I’m experiencing when I play, listen or watch. Instead, it’s that feeling of expansive possibility and youthful optimism that accompanies any Star Wars related experience. Because Star Wars first came out when I was a grade school larval geek, only just starting to discover my true destiny as a nerd, the movie and everything associated with it is inextricably linked with a childlike sense of discovery, of freshness and possibility, that not nothing–not critical opinion, not Jar Jar Binks, not the Holiday Special–can destroy. When I watch, listen to or play Star Wars, I’m 8 years old again, learning about the ways of the Force so I can become a Jedi and fight injustice in the galaxy.
And that feeling is better than making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.