Hello, fellow moviegoers!
In case you didn’t know, I have a job at my local movie theater. With the release of Star Wars this weekend, it’s been pretty crazy over there. We have 17 showings of it per day, which is a lot for us considering we only have seven theaters, and Star Wars is playing in four of them.
While I was taking tickets on Saturday, a fan in line posed an excellent question to me. Why is Star Wars so popular? What about it hits everybody in that exact same sweet spot every time? Yes, it’s a pop-culture icon, but why did it become that way? I’ve really been pondering this question a lot over the past couple days, and I’ve discovered that there are so many different reasons for this. Here are the four biggest ones I found… (Keep in mind that these are in no particular order)
1. Darth Vader
We’ve all heard the saying that every story is only as good as its villain. Well, in Star Wars’ case they have one of the best movie villains of all time. When we first meet Vader in A New Hope he is this menacing villain that strikes fear into anyone who sees him. Not only that, but he is also in control of this powerful “Dark Side of the Force”. The audience has no idea the true menace that Darth Vader can be, and it’s the mysteriousness of the character that made him so intriguing.
It’s not until The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that we really get to explore the character. We discover so many things about him throughout those next two films. With most characters like Vader, you don’t want to know a lot about them because they’re ultimately disappointing. The exploration of Darth Vader’s character had quite the opposite effect. The more we discovered about him, the more he grew as a character and the more enthralling he was to the audience.
2. Its Advancements in Cinema
A big part of the reason the original Star Wars film became so popular is because of all of the advancements it made in the art of filmmaking. The visual effects at the time were groundbreaking and so different from anything seen before. Not only that, but it also was one of the first true summer blockbusters. Coming out only two years after Jaws broke box-office records around the world, Star Wars was able to capitalize on the time in which it released. People were just starting to truly discover what a summer blockbuster was, and Star Wars helped tremendously.
Star Wars changed the world. That may sound like a big statement just to sound dramatic, but I mean that in the most truthful way possible. You only need to look at the world around you now. If you walk up to some random stranger on the street, chances are, they have seen the original Star Wars trilogy at some point in their life. People are always using classic Star Wars quotes for conversation, and the music of the film is infinitely recognizable. Star Wars changed the way that people look at the film industry as a whole.
3. Luke Skywalker
One of largest reasons Star War became so popular was its central character of Luke Skywalker. Luke is the definition of relatability. He starts off as nobody really. He’s just a simple farm-boy on the remote planet of Tatooine. He doesn’t really make that much of a difference, but he wants to. He wishes he was out there, fighting alongside the rebellion in the war against the Empire. He dreams of grandeur. The best part is, this is all conveyed in that shot of Luke staring off into the distance at the now iconic Binary Sunset.
When Luke finally gets the chance to chase his dreams it comes at a cost. He ends up in way over his head. He discovers so many things about the empire and himself that he never thought to discover. He faces so many trials and oppositions, and it really gets to him at first. This is expressed well in his impatience while training with Yoda. Despite the odds he truly discovers what it means to be a Jedi, and he and the galaxy were made better because of it.
4. The Imaginative Universe it Created
Personally, I believe this is the main reason Star Wars is so popular. The world it created is so inventive and breathtaking, that it really captures the audiences’ imagination. We all became so intrigued by this galaxy far, far away. This was a universe where anything was possible, where the sky was the limit and everybody was free to do whatever they want to do, go wherever they want to go, and live whatever life they want to live.
That’s why when the Empire threatened to take that away, we all rooted for the Rebellion. That freedom was cherished by everybody, and we didn’t want to see that taken away from them. We had all become so encapsulated in this universe where nobody cared what race you were, nobody cared about your sexuality, and nobody cared about what you did with your life. You were free to be whoever you wanted to be. Nobody was going to take that away from the Rebellion, and that’s why we became so invested in this world.
So why has Star Wars become so iconic? Easy. Its characters were amazing. They were all fully fleshed out, three-dimensional characters. Nobody was perfect. Everybody had their flaws, and that’s what made them so relatable. Star Wars had a magnificent effect on the world. No matter who you were, and where you were from, you could enjoy Star Wars. It gave everybody some common ground to talk about. It became something far bigger than George Lucas could have ever imagined. It developed a sort of ring to it. Whenever you hear the words Star Wars, you get a little reminder of the world where you’re free to be happy. It is the definition of escapism. At least, that’s the way I see it.
So why do you think Star Wars is so popular? Am I way off base in my reasoning? Let me know by commenting on this post. Also, if you enjoyed this editorial, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and editorials!
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