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What Star Wars means to us

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters everywhere today. Some of us have waited for this day for years.  Most of us thought this day would never come, but when Disney reached a $4 billion dollar deal to buy Lucasfilm [1], we Star Wars fans knew we would see our heroes again. I am cautiously optimistic of Mr. JJ Abram’s addition to the Star Wars saga.

With that being said, and in the spirit of the release, here are a few thoughts from some of our contributors and editors about what makes the Star Wars saga important to them.

Myself circa 1999. I drank so much Pepsi that summer to get a Star Wars book bag to take to the third grade.

Matt Colt Hall-

The first memory I have of Star Wars was when I was three, someone gave me a Millennium Falcon toy with a couple of the action figures. For some reason, I remember watching the movies, yet Darth Vader flew the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca and Han Solo. Why, I’m not sure?I remember going to my aunt and uncle’s house in Suffolk one summer and watching them. I remember one summer at my aunt’s house in Bristol watching all of the original movies.

But the prequels were the ones that got me hooked on the series. We Star Wars fans now recognize that the prequels were a horrible mess (hours and hours of commentary on this very subject has been splattered on the internet about this). But in my defense, I was 8, 11, and 14 when the prequels came out. I remember having a podracer toy and I remember I had a little Micromachines (remember those little mini spaceship/car things?) Naboo Starfighter. The action figures multiplied with every movie.

The reason that the series has and still continue to intrigue me as much as it has is because it actually is good for a story to be clear. In our lives, not just in the political process but in our personal lives, lines get crossed. In the original films, there is a clear story. There is a clear side that is inherently good and a clear side that is inherently evil. The good guys win in the Star Wars films because they are fighting for the right reasons.

Also, I have and always continue to believe that conservatives will always identify with a story that has an oppressed people rising up against an oppressor. We as conservatives relate back to this because we have studied history and know what can happen when government grows too fast and too powerful. We as conservatives also relate to standing up for freedom of every person, which is a central theme to the Star Wars saga.

“Do, or do not, there is no try.”- Yoda

Rick Sincere-

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope premiered three days after I was graduated from high school. I saw it for the first time at the Mayfair Theater in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in late May or early June 1977. Not much of a sci-fi fan, I went to see it not with breathless anticipation but merely because some friends dragged me along to it

My anticipation may not have been breathless but my reaction was.

There’s an early episode of That 70s Show where Eric and the gang go to see Star Wars for the first time. Given that the show is set in Wisconsin and Eric Forman is almost precisely my age (the character, not actor Topher Grace), the show struck a unique chord with me. The camera pans the kids as they watch the Star Wars special effects in the theater and their reactions were mine.

George Lucas called Star Wars a space western but for me the original was more of a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, with Luke Skywalker as Dorothy, C3PO as the Tin Man, R2D2 as the Scarecrow, and Chewbacca as the Lion. Darth Vader is the Wicked Witch of the West and Alec Guinness is the Wizard. (I’m not sure how Princess Leia and Han Solo fit in.) The ragtag gang has to travel down a Yellow Brick Road (hyperspace) to reach a mysterious destination, and they have adventures along the way that distract them from their goal: obtaining the broom of the Witch or destroying the Death Star, take your pick. The parallels are inexact but it puts the picture in perspective.

Years later, when Episode I: The Phantom Menace debuted, I found myself sleeping on a sidewalk in front of the Uptown Theatre in Washington, D.C., for two weeks in a row: the first week to buy tickets and the second week to nab the best seats. (I ended up in the balcony, always the best.) Even Jar-Jar Binks could not diminish that experience.

I’ve written a few things about Star Wars in the past but I was only able to find these two pieces:

http://ricksincerethoughts.blogspot.com/2005/12/what-can-you-get-wookiee-for-christmas.html [2]

http://ricksincerethoughts.blogspot.com/2005/05/star-wars-and-downfall.html [3]

(This doesn’t include the volumes of material I wrote about the Strategic Defense Initiative – aka “Star Wars” — in the 1980s.)

I’m not camping out for Episode VII: The Force Awakens but I’m certain to see it before the end of the month. Besides, who sleeps on a sidewalk to see a movie in December?

11401011_10152835946290863_3220620092880493374_n [4]Brian Schoeneman-

It would be hard to understate the impact of Star Wars on my life. One of my earliest memories is seeing Empire Strikes Back at a drive-in movie theater in 1981. I was four years old, but I can still remember flashes of Darth Vader on the screen and remembering the scratchy audio pouring from the radio in my Dad’s electric yellow Dodge Dart.Two years later, we cheered as Vader was redeemed, the Emperor destroyed and the galaxy freed from the forces of tyranny.  I waited in line for midnight showings of each of the prequals in college with my friends, many of whom had similar fond memories of Star Wars from their youth. In my twenties, I first met my best friend and his wife as we were drawn to a Star Wars computer game called Star Wars Galaxies.  He was best man at my wedding, they were godparents to my child, and it’s fitting that we’ll be together tonight to see the new movie together.

The themes in Star Wars helped to reinforce the life lessons I had been taught throughout my youth, and have helped to shape me into the man I am today, for better or for worse.  Things like the importance of faith, self-confidence, loyalty to one’s friends, the willingness to fight for what you believe in – even in the face of impossible odds – and the power of small groups of people working together to serve a just cause that is just have become fundamental parts of my life.  Each of those was reinforced by the Star Wars story and the mythos that has arisen throughout the various movies and TV shows.  They helped to reaffirm the things I was learning in church, school, politics and history.

My son and I spend a lot of time in the Star Wars universe today, and I hope that through the medium of these movies I can help instill in him the same values that they helped instill in me when I was his age. I’m looking forward to seeing the new film and being reminded of all that was good in my youth.



Editor-in-Chief  JR Hoeft
All I can say is I’ve got tickets to the 9:40 pm showing…suckers!
I saw the original “A New Hope” in theaters as a double feature with Richard Dreyfuss and Diane Keaton in “Looking for Mr. Goodbar.” My parents were sitting in the theater balcony and I was in the lower level with my sisters. After the excitement of Star Wars, I remember going up the stairs to fall asleep in my mom’s arms during the second movie. I was three years old and this is just about my earliest memory.
I haven’t missed an opening day of any of the Star Wars movies since. And it’s fair to say with talk of “destroyers” and the “fleet” and “ships” and “admirals” and “commanders”, I sort of naturally gravitated to the Navy.
After all, it takes government leadership to build a space station the size of a moon!

But, of course, we all know that Star Wars is far from PC: