For some of us, May 4th is just May 4th. But for Star Wars fans, May 4th is a momentous day.
Today is Star Wars Day, or as fans refer to today, May The Fourth Be With You.
What makes Star Wars special for me is that underneath the special effects and other-worldly story is the fight against tyranny and oppression. It is a story that is as old as humanity itself and a fight that still continues to this day.
Though George Lucas may have mucked up the narrative with the prequels, the basic narrative still holds up decades later for a reason. The story of farm boy, a princess and a pirate coming together to fight for freedom is still as emotionally and politically relevant as it was in 1977.
Though the narrative is a basic one, Lucas (at least in the 70’s), knew how to expand on the expand on this basic premise. He knew that Princess Leia (the late and still very missed Carrie Fisher) had to be more than the standard damsel in distress. There had to be something more to Han Solo (Harrison Ford) that just a space pirate who is looking for the next job. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had to have a future other than running his Uncle and Aunt’s farm.
To my fellow Star Wars fans around the world, May The 4th Be With You!
Back in 1977, a new film hit theaters. It was called Star Wars. From the outset, it didn’t look like much. Just another science fiction film set in outer space with a Buck Rogers-ish premise. Some audience members and critics might have said at the time that it would quickly leave the theaters and only been seen in the wee hours of the morning when the television stations had nothing else to fill the airwaves with.
The thing about Star Wars, is that it is so much more than the average science fiction film. This film is a statement piece. Using Buck Rogers as the basic narrative, writer/director George Lucas turned the genre on its head and created characters that go far beyond the standard 2D characters that are sometimes associated with science fiction. Intertwining history, politics and fully developed human characters, Lucas not only changed the movie industry, but he created characters, catchphrases and worlds that are seared in our collective cultural consciousness.
My first memory of Star Wars is a take on the film as only Muppet Babies can do it.
My complete initiation to the fandom came later, when I was a teenager and the original trilogy was re-released for the 20th anniversary. I was hooked and since then, I have been a very happy fan.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of A New Hope’s release. While there is much to celebrate, there is also loss. Loosing Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker last year was tough, but we remember them and we thank them for the joy and the memories.
Last year at this time, there was a buzz in the air. We were anxiously waiting for Episode 7.
Considering the buzz kill that Episodes 1-3 were, many fans, myself included were naturally concerned. Episode 7 could rejuvenate the narrative and the fandom. Or it could just another overblown, special effects driven, short on plot and character science fiction film.
Last December our patience was rewarded. Episode 7 was everything that 4-6 were and much more. We were excited to meet the new characters and reunite with the old characters we’ve respected and adored for years.
To my fellow fans, I say may the fourth be with you. We will meet again in December for Rogue One.