If you have listened to our Star Wars podcast, or any of our podcasts, you’ll know we are both big Star Wars fans, so in honour of Star Wars Day, we wanted to share what Star Wars means to us.
Sitting on my desk is a Pop Vinyl of Princess Leia on a speeder bike as featured in the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. It’s one of many pieces of Star Wars merchandise I own and is one of my favourites for two reasons. First, Return of the Jedi, is the first Star Wars movie I vividly remember watching on the TV with my dad. I instantly, and still love the ewoks and droids, and it remains my favourite Star Wars movie to today. Secondly, it was a Christmas gift from my girlfriend who has no interest in Star Wars, but researched the perfect gift…or got incredibly lucky in her guess. Either way, when work is going wrong, or I’m having a bad day, I ‘fly’ it around my desk making all the appropriate noises and it makes me feel better.
In his book, The World According to Star Wars, Cass R. Sunstein writes, “Star Wars unifies people…” and for me that’s one of the best things about Star Wars. The Rise of Skywalker is not my favourite Star Wars movie, but it was something that allowed me to connect with three different people and make some lasting memories. I saw it for the first time with my girlfriend. We went to a triple bill showing of The Force Awakens, Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker which kicked off at midnight. It was the first time I had ever been to a midnight screening of a movie. I’ve queued for many midnight book releases but never a movie, so it was very exciting and despite her lack of Star Wars knowledge or enthusiasm, even my girlfriend enjoyed herself…even if I did have to remind her who Yoda was again.
The second time was with Emily, it was our pre-Christmas catch up. What could be better than a meal, a film and a good friend with whom to bitch with about the state of the world? Oh, and cups with our favourite droids on them? I mean, sure, I walked into a wall and Emily almost fell down an escalator, but we had a good time doing so.
As I said, my first experience of Star Wars was my dad watching them on TV, it has become one of the few things we have in common. Christmas Eve, we went for a meal and then to see the movie, just the two of us. It was a nice chance to catch up. So whilst the movie might have left me a little frustrated, it allowed me to spend time with people I like and make some good memories.
We are so incredibly lucky to have so much Star Wars, from TV shows, to books to movies and comics. The Galaxy we love is bigger than ever before, and is also somewhere I go to escape from people and the stresses of life. Whilst, I enjoy sharing Star Wars with people, it’s nice to watch alone or read and lose myself in the stories. I find it a good way to recharge and shrug off bad days.
It’s also a universe of strong women, from Padme and Ashoka in the prequels and Clone Wars, to Leia in the originals, Jyn Erso in Rogue one, to Rey, Rose, and Phasma in the new movies. They offer a reminder that as women we can be the hero, who saves the galaxy and looks good doing it.
So, if I had to write what Star Wars means to me on a matchbox, I would say that it’s both the thing that connects me with other people and the thing that allows me to escape when this galaxy is too much.
What is Star Wars to me? Star Wars represents an escape. Since I was a child, I’ve escaped the world in books and films and the Star Wars universe is no different.
My first Star Wars memory is watching The Phantom Menace. I don’t remember who it was that I saw it with because to me that wasn’t the important part of the memory, what struck me was that Anakin was able to escape his (let’s be honest) terrible life as a slave to become something better, something more. Honestly this is probably why I ended up being so mad about the fact that he acted like a toddler and turned to the dark side….Anyway … let’s not go down that road.
R2D2 will always be my favourite character. He’s the one that you can count on to help the heroes to get out of the sticky situation and while the only way we have any idea what he says is through C3P0 we know there is a lot of sarcasm and I live for sarcasm. My wardrobe holds various Star Wars related items and yes, they are from the men’s section because for some reason they always get the best nerd t-shirts (a rant for another day!). I also have a couple of droid mugs and you can tell that my friends and family know me well because if it’s Star Wars based, I’ll love it.
If you listened to our Star Wars podcast (thank you, if not go listen to it!) Gemma and I spoke about the fact as a franchise it can bring people together. You might not always agree with other people’s opinions but you’re sure to find most people do have an opinion. I’ve been very lucky that Gemma and I agree on our thoughts on Star Wars… wouldn’t that be awkward if we didn’t! My partner, on the other hand has no interest in the films, but he does know if I’m watching it thanks to its recognisable sounds (yes, I’m talking about the PEW PEW sound).
What I love about Star Wars, is that while yes, the Jedi are impressive the women are even more so. Think about each trilogy-
Episode I to III- Padme. She is Courageous and fierce as a character, she ran for office as a teenager and she knows her own mind.
Episode IV-VI- Leia. She is the badass princess that every girl wants to be. Head of a Rebel Alliance out to stop the bad guy and she has some amazing lines “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper ”.
Episode VII- IX – Rey. Like Anakin she goes from a nobody to being someone that matters but unlike Anakin, Rey stays true to who she is. She is strong and determined.
In each case there are some glaring issues with their storylines but for the moment I’m choosing to ignore them to take these women as the bad ass role models they should be.
Star Wars has helped this anxiety ridden shy person make friends and get through awkward social situations and it continues to do so. For that I’ll always be thankful.