On Star Wars Day

On Star Wars Day

As you gather around your Life Tree and watch the Star Wars Christmas special, take some time away from the hustle and bustle of Star Wars Day and reflect on what this day really means.

When I was a boy, the movies hit a rough patch we call the 1970’s. People paid to see Jane Fonda pretend to be a prostitute. Even Disney could not make a great animated feature following the death of Walt.

And then I sat in a theater and saw “Star Wars.” We knew it was a little stupid, Darth Vader’s name made a Star Trek fan wince, but it was exciting. George Lucas had redeemed us from Klute and we would never have to bored in movies again. If you are old, you recall pressing your hands into a theater seat to the point of making grooves as Luke trusted the force.

Ignore the Dawkins-types eager to spoil our joy with reminders that ships don’t make noise in space. Don’t let Jar Jar or Ewoks pull you away from the joy you felt when the Death Star first blew up. If family grows cranky during the movie marathon, reflect on the wise words, “It’s a trap!” and move on.

I had forgotten the real meaning of this day, but last night I had a dream. In this dream, I told a fine young Star Wars fan to grow up and “get a life.” I mocked his shirt as a bit of George Lucas profiteering and refused to ride Star Tours at Disneyland.

Then the Ghost of Star Wars Past came to me and showed me images of my childhood. I saw young John Mark playing with his first X-Wing one holiday and getting a Darth Vader action figure with a retractable sword. I saw my young self, without the cynicism of later days, writing fan fiction about Luke and his adventures between films.

The Ghost of Star Wars Present appeared next and reminded me that the Blu-ray versions sit in my player waiting. All the family could join together and cheer each John William’s theme. Hope and I could kiss like Anakin kissed Padme in the fields of Naboo.

My Joss-Whedon-induced desire for long story arcs melted finally in the vision of Star Wars future when a group of students gathered in my office . . . and discussed a role-playing game freed from the cranky player who had spoiled so many sessions with his demand for canonical veracity.

I awoke and realized it was not too late. Star Wars Day is not just one day in May. It’s everyday — if we live it in our hearts. We can remember that trade must be free and not controlled by any federation. We can recall that asking someone else to fight your battles will lead to clones or robots that miss more than they hit. We can take warning that lesser loves can draw us from duty and make our skin turn pasty pale under a mask. We can know that even a vapor farm can contain a hero. We believe that it is possible that, even with a father who blows up planets, happiness is attainable. Finally, the true fan knows that no matter how bad we are, if we just throw people down shafts, we can be redeemed.

Happy Star Wars Day, America!

  • John McAteer

    “a rough patch we call the 1970’s”???!! Come on… As great as Star Wars is — and as goofy as Klute is — there was already a ton of great movies made by the time Star Wars was released in 1977. In big blockbuster movies, we had The Godfather I and II (1972, 1974), Jaws (1975), and Rocky (1976). And in “boring” grown up movies we weren’t left with Klute; we had The Exorcist (1973), The Sting (1973), Chinatown (1974), Barry Lyndon (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), All the President’s Men (1976), and Annie Hall (1977, a month before Star Wars), etc.

    • http://www.JohnMarkReynolds.com John Mark Reynolds

      All the movies you listed were movies I was not allowed to see… George Lucas liberated me from that repression by making more family-friendly films.


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