Back in the 1970s a creative guy named George Lucas made a little movie called Star Wars.
No one expected it to be a big thing. Sir Alec Guinness (who played the original Obi-Wan Kenobi) acted in the film because he’d always wanted to be a “children’s movie”.
At best, they thought they might make a sci-fi cult classic that would gather a small but fierce following who met in basements and had mini-conventions. That was all they expected.
This is what happened instead…
The world exploded, and we have never been the same since.
Why is Star Wars so popular? I had a friend of mine ask me a question along these lines recently. She’s an adult with grown children, and not super into many movies. But she loves Star Wars. “What is different about Star Wars?” she asked.
I could list hundreds of reasons why Star Wars is all that and a bag of credits, but we don’t have time for all of that today. Instead, I’m going to list the biggest reason I think Star Wars has resonated so deeply with millions of people internationally for generations.
Star Wars tells us every classic, cliche story we’ve ever heard, but they do it in an unforgettable way.
Star Wars is one of the most cliche-ridden sagas ever. We started our journey with a young hero possessing a unique “ability”, the old sage mentor, a rogue with a big heart, a princess, and a cute animal (or droid) sidekicks.
They joined forces with the underdog (the Rebellion) and go up against Goliath (Darth Vader and the Empire). The hero uses his unique abilities at just the right moment to destroy the story’s greatest threat against all odds.
It’s not the first time this story has been told. Star Wars borrows from many classic stories, established religions, and other known influences. And yet, the world exploded.
See, we “complain” about cliches, stereotypes, and classics. But there is a reason those things became so well known. It’s because they are real, and we experience them on a regular basis.
Star Wars tells us all of the old stories. An underdog story.
A redemption story.
People bravely fighting against all odds for a better future.
Questions about free will.
Darkness vs the light. Free will vs destiny.
The danger of allowing your emotions to be manipulated.
Mentorship. Family. Friendship. Growing up with grace in times of hardship.
Choosing to not give into victimhood, but instead to stand on your own feet.
Making the hard choices. Becoming a part of something bigger than yourself.
Learning what true leadership is.
And on, and on, and on.
And these classic stories are told in the most exciting and colorful way. With spaceships, planets, aliens, blasters, lightsabers, dark and light, good and bad. They are told with heart, with humor, with a connected history, a force that binds all of these stories together. With characters that feel like old friends.
Star Wars tells our stories.
I love our galaxy. I love the characters, the history, the messages, the hope. The fact that by now generations of families have all gotten to enjoy the same world and story as it is continually told. I love it all.
Happy May the 4th, may the force be with you!