Why Star Wars endures so powerfully… It’s nothing to do with fan boys and EVERYTHING to do with values, courage and humanity

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The Star Wars universe and characters give access to young hearts and minds to powerful truths and beliefs about good and evil.

But most importantly for these young hearts and minds, it unlocks and unleashes courage and potential to take a stand for their OWN truths and beliefs.

JJ Abrams knows this and there are two big giveaways in recently released trailer.

Like so many filmmakers of my age, Star Wars was a seminal moment in my development. It was like something was switched on inside of me when I saw it. Something very powerful. And it’s still with me today.

Yes I have the BluRay box set and yes I have watched them all once. But just once. I love the movies dearly but I am not what you would call a super-fan.

And yes the Star Wars saga has some things really working its favour.

  • Extraordinary visual effects (and sound design) in the first three films
  • Extraordinary music that elevates EVERYTHING onscreen
  • Terrific casting
  • Unique and now iconic production design with a fully rounded universe
  • Great characters, certainly in the first three movies

But for me, nothing has yet recreated the moment when in 1977 I went down the Death Star trench with Luke Skywalker… And with all the technical weaponry and targeting computers at hand, what did Luke Skywalker do? Turn off his computer and ‘use the force…’

He had one shot. Miss it and everyone dies and the universe falls under the power of the evil empire for all time. The stakes could not be higher for a young man who was just a farmer boy a few weeks ago.

He made the shot and the rest is cinema history.

For a young mind ‘the force’ became a power that I could personally summon at any moment.

A power both outside of me, giving it some kind of mythical sense, as well as more importantly a force from within.

A force that was guided by my sense of right and wrong, of good and evil.

Through Star Wars I learned that even I could save the galaxy. All I had to do was to believe in myself. Step up and face my fears. Believe. Find courage. Act.

I see now that the force is an all encompassing belief and value system that can be metaphorical for God or gods, or simply that of human courage and endeavour.

Within ‘the force’ we have free choice. Feed it with greed, envy, anger and of course fear, and you will find yourself walking down the path of the darkside.

Feed it with selflessness, compassion, a sense of calm and of course courage, and you will find yourself walking away from the dark side. But the dark side will always be there to tempt you.

I got it as a nine year old.

I still get now.

And it’s why kids get it even now.

And I believe JJ Abrams gets it, where George Lucas perhaps lost his way.

So the two big giveaways in the trailer are first, the title.

The Force Awakes.

It’s about time too as the force has been drowned in plot in the three episodes that began with the Phantom Menace. Convoluted story and digital spectacle dominated and the ideas that ignited my nine year old mind, heart and soul seemed somehow to get lost. They weren’t terrible films, they just didn’t cause transformation in me like the very first did. Jar Jar Binks was just a symptom of this problem, not the problem in of itself.

So yes, it’s about time the Force was Awakened. It’s been snoozing for way to long.

And who is the force Awakening for?

Now for the second big giveaway in the trailer? And it’s a BIGGIE!

Luke Skywalker narrates… ‘The force is strong in my family… My father has it… I have it… My sister has it…YOU have that power too…’

The last line may be a line delivered to a character in the story, but it’s also a line delivered directly to the hearts of EVERY Star Wars fan on the planet.

YOU HAVE THAT POWER TOO…

Luke Skywalker is speaking DIRECTLY TO ME

And he is right. I do! I REALLY DO HAVE THAT POWER!

I know it. And I know you have it too.

And THAT is what Star Wars is really all about.

The courage to stand up to bullies, the courage to take the lead where others falter, the courage to believe in yourself and risk failure for a bigger idea, the courage to do the right thing where others choose the easier and darker path.

And that’s why, even though I am not the biggest Star Wars fan, I am unbelievably excited about this new movie.

When I watched the video of the reaction of fans to the trailer (below) I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes because everyone in that room gets it. Like me, the force may have been distant for some time, but now it’s BACK!

And who else but Han Solo and Chewbacca to remind us that while we have new characters, we are still hanging out with our old family who we love so much… ‘Chewie, we are home…’

Wow!

Perhaps most exciting though is that everything I see and hear hints at a young female lead, essentially reprising the character beats of Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars film.

This will open up the Star Wars universe and give access to even more young minds to be filled with the simple message that we all have the power and potential to achieve something remarkable.

We simply need to believe in ourselves and take action.

Bring on December!

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix


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