Arts & Life

Star Wars Day: ‘May the fourth’ be with you, next gen

As a young girl of Generation Y who spent an immense amount of time jamming 11.5-inch Barbie dolls into my brother’s Imperial AT-AT walker, my affinity for the ‘70s, space-set saga started early.

Announcing my fatherhood into oscillating fans, renaming the family dog to ‘Chewie,’ dueling my brother with light sabers imagined out of cardboard gift-wrap tubes—it was evident that the Force was strong with me.

And just like the bloodline of Clan Skywalker, the Force will live on through the next generation once “The Force Awakens” hits theaters later this year.

With a $4 billion price tag and Lucas’ plans to retire, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm in 2012, entrusting Emmy-award winning director, J. J. Abrams, with the torch, according to USA Today.

The intergalactic opera has done more than supply us with an empty bucket-list slot to become an X-Wing pilot. Whether we realized it or not, “Star Wars” used a galaxy far, far away to teach us a little bit more about our own.

And of course, as an impressionable, aspiring Jedi who still has yet to master those infamous bun braids, I gravitated toward the badass demagogue of Alderaan.

Princess Leia Organa is one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders. She is a quick-witted diplomat who plays a key role in defeating the Galactic Empire—not to mention an adept sniper with a higher shooting accuracy than Luke and Han.

Lucas created a world where, based on Leia’s gender, her authority was not to be questioned.

Leia’s imprint was a gateway to many other strong female role models in the on-screen industry. Without the opportunity for women left in her wake, we may have never seen television series such as “Xena: Warrior Princess” or Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott’s film franchise “Alien.”

Long before kickball captains and student governments, “Star Wars” leaves young viewers with a grasp on the inner workings of politics.

The CGI-saturated prequels incorporate a heavier lesson on the Galactic Republic, giving viewers a glance into the monarchies, republics and hive-like communes that made up the Galactic Senate.

The Empire, glutted with followers of the Sith Order, took control after the Old Republic with fear-based tactics—punctuated by the construction of an atomic weapon used to eliminate planets on a whim of incompliance.

Darth Vader is the face, or shall we say helmet, of an all-powerful dictatorship. Ruling with abused powers and Force Chokes, audiences quickly identify the jet-black totalitarian as a villain and his unforgiving regime as a flawed way to govern a people.

The core four (six if we’re counting droids) represents a quasi-libertarian approach under the Rebel Alliance. They aim to revive the Old with the New Republic, teaching viewers that power shifts are necessary and not all figureheads in authoritarian positions are to be trusted.

But Lucas, who do we trust? Ourselves.

Like all great epics, “Star Wars’” strong, paladin-centric storyline introduces us to all the players of the Force and the bleak realms in which it subsists yet still leaving us with a glimmer of hope.

Right off the bat in the originals, an orphaned Luke Skywalker is catapulted into his destiny after witnessing his caretakers’ deaths. He fights on.

The Tatooine transplant is then sent to save the princess, train with a 900-year-old Jedi master at Dagobah and rescue his bounty-hunting apprentice from a Mafioso.

He witnesses Obi-Wan Kenobi die. He fights on. He loses his dueling hand. He fights on. Quickly after learning his father is the corrupt tyrant puppeteering the Empire, Luke is holding him in his arms as he dies.

Luke fights on to restore principles once set in place by the Old Republic based on preserved peace and justice mandated by Jedi guardians.

Morals like this have trended into college courses like “Star Wars and Philosophy” at an Adams State University in Colorado and the Temple of the Jedi Order religion, as reported by USA Today and BBC respectively.

As for the legacy, Lucas still stands as a creative consultant for the projects in motion, and with last month’s trailer preview, Disney’s takeover doesn’t seem like a complete trap.

Abrams and Disney are our only hope and we love the idea of Lucas on hand. He knows.

With a disturbing amount of faith, this might be the duo we’re looking for.

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