The Lasting Appeal Of Star Wars


The idea that space battles and lightsabers are irrelevant in this day and age is, to say the least, absolutely ridiculous. With the surfacing of The Force Awakens, it seems relevance is still not a problem for the hit franchise from George Lucas, now led by J.J. Abrams.

That is, however, not to say that Star Wars is everyone’s cup of tea. Still, the successful sci-fi franchise has garnered 25 Academy Awards nominations and won an impressive 10 over the years. With a staggering total of US $4 billion earned in the box office, one has to wonder what it is that makes Star Wars a favourite for so many all over the world.

Having been praised for the strength of its narrative, Star Wars follows the story of the never-ending conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. The original trilogy focuses on Luke Skywalker’s journey from a simple moisture farmer to Jedi Knight, and his struggle against Darth Vader and the Emperor as he fights alongside the Rebel Alliance.

The premise of the story already seems quite appealing – a young boy who dreams to be more than what he is. I imagine a protagonist like that speaks to the soul of the average man. Life is spent making your way up to the top, or becoming an impact in some way—whether it’s in your own circle or going beyond, people have always possessed this desire to be more. Luke Skywalker’s story strikes a chord with those who want to make that transition from zero to hero (though perhaps not everybody can take the news that their father is actually a galactic super-villain), and he has gained a large following since his introduction in 1977.

Darth Vader, too, plays an important part in drawing in the crowd. The father of Luke Skywalker, also known as Anakin Skywalker, presents to people the idea of falling from grace and then later redemption. While Luke’s story seems pure of heart and sincere from the very beginning, Vader brings to the table a structured breakdown of the human condition, which I feel has been and can still be very reassuring for those who watch Star Wars. The idea of second chances can be very motivating and moving for those who need it most. Additionally, Luke’s optimism and insistence that his father still remains the Jedi Knight he once was brings in an element of forgiveness, something not many people are willing to dispense.

In the end, Star Wars looks more and more like a prolonged narrative about the human condition and less and less about flashy battles and impressive piloting skills across hundreds of star systems.

Everybody understands bad decisions, the horrors of war and the evil of those who seek to gain power and dominion, but they also know of restoration, the potency of genuine love and the benefits of being insufferably optimistic even in trying times (I’m looking at you, Luke). Star Wars has always focused on the battle between light versus dark, but really, all it has been talking about is the existence of the in-between, the ability to choose who you want to be and the journey in order to make good on that choice.

Like Sirius Black once said:

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

The idea that space battles and lightsabers are irrelevant in this day and age is ridiculous.

The idea that people still need to hear stories about redemption and conquering the dark inside?

Always relevant.