These are not the droids you’re looking for

05.29.07 | Comment?

It’s tough to imaging that it’s been 30 years since Star Wars was released and redefined the entertainment world. There is no shortage of coverage on this milestone, though one of my favorites is Kevin Chu’s story of working as an extra he posted last week.

One of the things that is really cool about Star Wars is that if you’ve seen the movie, even 30 years later, you’ll likely recognize the quote above from Obi Wan Kenobi as he, Luke, C3PO and R2D2 arrive in the space port of Mos Eisly to seek transport to Alderan. The series of films is simply chock full of these sorts of moments. My personal favorite of these is Yoda’s “Do or do not. There is no try.” when instructing young Skywalker in the ways of the force.

Yoda on Dagoba

I was on the cusp of turning 9 years old when the first movie was released in 1977 and so it’s not surprising I was caught up in the carnival that surrounded the movie. But the thing that has been shocking is how it’s stayed with me and how I’ve seen it infect new people over the years (it is sort of a benign virus I think.) For instance, my daughter loves to watch the original Star Wars (A New Hope) – she thinks the story is all about Princess Leia and seems to grasp the good vs. evil struggle that is ongoing in the films.

Last night Ellen and I watched a History Channel program called “Star Wars, the Legacy Revealed.” Record it, it will be on again (and btw, it compresses 120 minutes with commericals down to 88 minutes of content…) This was a facinating examination of the series demonstrating how George Lucas used the enduring myths and archetypes in the creation of the story and the characters. It inspired me to read the Joseph Campbell book The Hero with a Thousand Faces referenced in the show.

It’s clear George Lucas was influenced by myth, history, and westerns, but it’s somewhat unclear to me how much he intended consciously vs. what is being read into the movies by people who are experts in the field. That was the one missing piece of the show last night was an interview with Lucas to understand just how much symbolism was intended. In any case, 30 years later, it’s clear that Star Wars has legs – it is now making an impression on yet another generation of young people and it seems to strike a major chord with those who view it.

I know I’ve enjoyed the series of movies and think of them all fondly.

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