Reflection Return to the Stars
STAR WARS: A New Hope
How exited was I to learn of the new Star Wars movies that are now in production? I will not answer that question in full for fear of being labeled more a dork than my friends have previously suspected. But, I will say, I was exited enough that when the notion crossed my mind at three in the morning I was compelled to jump out of bed and compose a few thoughts about why I like these films so much. I suppose the reason I connect with this story so intently (apart from the fact that the original three Star Wars films are woven into so many great childhood memories) is because stories such as these give us the opportunity to explore the mystery of an "Other" world.
Through the looking glass of an adult perspective certain details come to light that my young mind had not a glimpse of. It is amazing to me that in a galaxy far, far away there exist a people not so different from you and I -granted some that are stranger looking! Still, at the very heart of this series there is a battle between good and evil; a space odyssey that introduces us to a cast of peculiar characters. Yet, beyond outward appearances, these tales acquaint us with attributes that ultimately define each character as either hero or villain. I could not help myself when I was out shopping the other day and found a retro, Star Wars, metal lunch box... I just had to buy it for my son's third birthday! On front of the box was the central crew of the "Rebel Alliance", a group in shimmering white clothing crowded around the humble Luke Skywalker. Looming in the background of the cases front (over the shoulder of Skywalker) were the dark images of the DEATH STAR (a symbol of the destruction of all that is good in the world) and the haunting face of one Darth Vader.
Darth Vader is the evil commander of the much larger "Galactic Empire", an empire bent on the destruction of all that oppose its power. For me, the greatness of this tale lies in Luke's journey to discover "The Force", the invisible fabric that transcends space and time and that interconnects all of life. While on his own path of self-discovery Luke acts as a servant-leader, leading the small rebel force (a remnant of good people left in the galaxy) to rally against the eminent total-eclipse of evil. Yet, a penumbral light is becoming visible... A New Hope.
Alright, at this point if you know these movies and did not like them you are thinking "Wow, what a nerd!". On the other hand if you did like them you are probably ready to wipe the dust off your collection and watch them straight through!! For those of you who do not know much about these films, let me take a moment to commend the creative genius of George Lucas (the creator of the film series). Lucas cleverly created a very captivating story that would be divided into numerous (nine, or possibly even twelve) movies. A strategy of filming parts/episodes 4, 5, and 6 first was the genius idea. George Lucas was the Writer and Director for the first film (Episode IV) and was involved in the writing on Episodes V and VI. Not knowing how many films he would actually end up producing or if parts 1, 2, and 3 (or 7, 8, 9, ect.) would ever come into being... it turned out that Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III were eagerly and anxiously awaited by fans and were not released until 16 years after the filming of Episode VI (the third film.) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released in 1977 (most well known as simply Star Wars) and some people don't even recognize it under its sub title of "A New Hope". I wonder if George Lucas knew at that time what he had given birth to?! The sequel to the first film, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back has been argued by film critics to be one of the best sequels to a movie ever, in the history of cinema!!
One of my childhood favorites, and the final film in the original trilogy is Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi. The third film was released in 1983, which landed it's release just two years after I was born and very near my childhood years. I count it a blessing that my young mind could have been enriched by such imaginative stories. As a young adult, I also thoroughly enjoyed the prequel trilogy (including Episodes I-III, that George Lucas served as both writer and director for) and because so many other people feel the same, what a franchise George Lucas has created! The Walt Disney Company just last year (in October 2012) purchased Lucasfilm and paid over 4 billion dollars for it!! Disney wasted no time announcing that they plan to make three new Star Wars films starting with Episode VII that is scheduled for release in 2015!!!
Here is a funny story that my father loves telling on himself. My father is the eldest of four boys and there is a ten year age difference between himself and his youngest brother, Philip. When he and my mother were newly married, they took Phil to the movies and guess what was playing... the first STAR WARS. From looking at the movie poster my father assumed it would be a kid-friendly selection (which it is), but after seeing the film he was personally not very impressed. Trailing Philip on the way back to the car my father leaned in to my mother's ear and uttered the epic words "Well... that movie isn't going to amount to much!". My father admits today that he had never been so wrong!! Clearly his son agrees, as I continue to sing the praises of these stories.
I just love the idea that in our own world a spiritual world exists just below the surface of what we can see with our eyes. Sometimes we have difficulty encountering this Other world, but the invisible world-of-spirit is always most visible through the goodness and kind acts of others. There are many characters who play a role in helping us along our path of spiritual discovery: Jedi in white clothing, evil Siths with black hearts and my personal favorite... the real folks that belong to the fray -authentic people like Han Solo that inhabit the grey zone but deep down are attracted to the light.
If you have not had the privilege of watching these films, there is hope yet... it still amazes me how well the special effects that Lucas pioneered have contributed to the enduring quality of the original three movies (films as relevant today as when they were released over thirty years ago.) If you do not know what being a "Jedi" is all about, or have not made the acquaintance of Yoda, there is time yet. Or "time yet, there is" if you prefer! I would personally recommend watching the original trilogy first, before viewing Episodes I, II, and III. Watching the trilogies in the "reverse" order will spoil some of the mystery. Who knows, you may even become as excited as I am for the next chapters in this galactic adventure.
After watching the first three films, if nothing else, you will at least be able to laugh at some of the Star Wars anecdotes that are riddled throughout our pop-culture. When a child is wearing a shirt that says "The Force is strong with this one"... you will laugh! When you read an article or hear someone flip their speech patterns ("time yet, there is" for example) you will chuckle. When you see a child walking into their kindergarten class with a Star Wars lunch box it may bring a smile to your face. My hope for you is deeper however. While I was researching the original film release-dates I was reading on WOOKIEPEDIA and saw that the Jedi were described as "mystical warriors". I believe our world would do well with a few more Jedi... I believe that A New Hope may just lie in the hearts of such warriors!
Bill Hudson # October 21, 2013