Today is May the 4th, 2020. Things are not exactly how we would want them to be. Sadly, the novel coronavirus is widespread and has uprooted many lives while taking many loved ones along the way. We try to keep a positive attitude by staying separated yet, together in our efforts. One staple that has brought millions of people together has been around since a faithful Summer in 1977: George Lucas’ Star Wars. Today, even with all the grimness on our planet, I would like to celebrate the franchise that has molded not only me, but so many.
Star Wars is the most popular film franchise of all time. There is no denying that. Love it or hate it, you know what it is and what its about. Why is that? There are plenty of theories as to what makes Star Wars so popular, but I whole heartedly believe it is because of us, the fans. George laid down the groundwork. He gave us a story and a world to escape to. Characters to love and to root for. There is a clear line between good and evil. Light and dark. It broke ground in technical achievements that beforehand, did not exist. Outside of all that, it created a community. A sense of being found. It created fandom.
In any fandom, there are people so involved in the world, lore, characters, that they see themselves in them. Any franchise would be lucky to have such fans. The dark side is when the fandom turns against each other. It breaks my heart when people who very clearly love something so much that they are willing to fight over it, choose to fight people within what is supposed to be a community. I love a spirited debate. We can discuss what we love or do not love about this world and the characters who inhabit it and, in the end, still walk away hopefully enlightened with a new perspective. That is what debate is supposed to be about.
Star Wars gave me a place to be entranced in when I needed it most. Any time someone makes a Star Wars reference, wears merch, has a tattoo, etc. I know, regardless of any other beliefs, that we have common ground in something. Being a part of a fandom opens you up to people that you otherwise may have never met. What I feel most people fail to realize is, opinions can be formed by life experiences. Your mileage may vary. Listening to their perspective on why they love Star Wars, and how it can be for completely different reasons as to why you love Star Wars, we can use that knowledge to be more accepting to our fellow man.
In a time where the world seems to be divided on everything, can we put aside the nearsightedness and take a step back and ask “Why are we even talking about Star Wars with so much passion to begin with?” We love it. We love it so much. I believe it is passed time to stop bickering about Star Wars and just celebrate it for what it is. I urge anyone reading this, regardless of the opinion about Star Wars, just know the next time you see someone write about Star Wars and it just makes your blood boil and you feel the persuasion of the Dark Side, know they clearly have had different experiences than you. Their life experiences matter. As do yours. Master Yoda taught us to never lose control.
May the force be with you, always.