A few years ago, I started making the effort to expand my dialogue about storytelling by going beyond the boundaries of books and out into the mediums of TV and film. I do so by doing these analysis pieces once a while about a TV show or film that has reached a significant time in its history (i.e. series premiere, series finale, film release, anniversary of a release, etc.). Previously, I took a look at Luc Besson’s space epic, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Today, in honor of the release of the newest film of the saga, I shall discuss my evolving, deepening love for the 40-year-old space opera, “Star Wars.”
NOTE: Despite the fact that “The Last Jedi” is mentioned a few times, there are NO SPOILERS from the film.
Two years ago when “The Force Awakens” came out, I intertwined both my history with the beloved “Star Wars” franchise, as well as the history of the saga itself, in a post that was very much about showing why, despite the missteps in the creation of this universe, I otherwise have a love for it. But two years ago, we as a society were also in a different time. Back then, many, many people in this world were still with us (including several public figures such as Carrie Fisher), Obama was still in office, and the word “resistance” was just the new word being used for the Rebel Alliance.
Yesterday, “The Last Jedi” was at long last released to the world, and the times have changed drastically since then. Too many people have died (including Carrie Fisher, making this latest installment her final performance), Trump and the GOP are changing everything as we know it, and a resistance has since risen to fight back against their attempts to mess up everything for the United States.
Also, throughout the past year, which also marks 40 years since “Star Wars” first entered our world, my love for the franchise has both evolved and deepened. The ongoing battle between good and evil has suddenly become reminiscent of reality; except that in this universe, the good guys have a tendency to gain the upper hand. “Star Wars” has become a reflection and an aspiration for what the real world resistance can become; maybe even more so than the “Harry Potter” franchise. (I know, I know, I hate to say it, especially with the latter originally stemming from a series of successful books. But several of the newer leads in “Star Wars” are my age, so they are much more relate-able to me than the adolescent-aged heroes of J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Plus, with a Vietnamese American woman as one of the leads in “The Last Jedi,” the odds of seeing someone like me being depicted in a “Star Wars” film is much greater than that of the “Fantastic Beasts” films that are currently in the works.)
I think what helped deepen this love apart from parallels to real life was finally opening myself up to stories set within the universe outside of just the films. The animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” has definitely been an asset to that. Apart from the fact that it’s set within the era of the original trilogy, it also explores topics and thought experiments that can also be found in “The Last Jedi.” The series has also enhanced the world for me and has become something worth looking forward to (which is why I’m bummed that the series is coming to an end soon). That plus quite a few of the “Star Wars” novels I have read this year have assisted in better getting in tune with this world. Is it really a surprise that I did a video piece about my love for the franchise for “The Geek Show” earlier this year?
I no longer take the existence of “Star Wars” as lightly as before, when it has helped soothe my soul during crazy times during this past year. So long as it continues to bring me both an optimistic reflection of what can become of our current circumstances as well as serve as a form of escapism, then everything that has yet to come for the franchise is highly anticipated. For that matter, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be seeing “The Last Jedi” again at the next possible opportunity.