40 Years and Counting…The Popularity of Star Wars
As the opening credits roll and the words “A Long Time Ago in A Galaxy Far, Far Away” appear, you know that something special is is going to take place. The title, the song and the anticipation have worked its magic for 40 years and show no sign of slowing down. Go ahead, ask anyone alive today what Star Wars is and you are guaranteed that they will know. In fact, they’ll probably begin to ramble off a quote or two from the movie.
Be careful when you ask. Make sure that you don’t ask which film or character is best. Or at least, if you do ask, be sure to ask at a time when you have some spare time. The answer won’t be short (although I can with certainty say that the prequels won’t come up).
The question is, why? Why is the popularity of Star Wars still high, even 40 years later? Better yet, why is its popularity climbing and not falling as the years go by? Further to that, what is it that makes it so widely successful and one of the most respected and loved franchises in cinematic history?
To no surprise, the answer isn’t any one thing.
The weapons in the Star Wars universe are defined by one thing and one thing only…lightsabers. Be honest, how many times did you ask for one for Christmas growing up. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I asked. Who wouldn’t like the idea of a colored sword that can cut through anything while making a sound that has become synonymous with its fans.
Yes, lightsabers greatly attributed to the popularity of Star Wars.
- Mind Tricks
Need I say more?
Jedi vs Sith
Good vs Evil.
Dark vs Light.
Father vs Son
The theme has been around since the dawn of time and Star Wars does an impeccable job of utilizing it. The difference is that Star Wars incorporates effects beyond its years while simultaneously challenging your ideas and beliefs.
Millennium Falcons, Tie Fighters, X-Wings, oh my…
The battles in Star Wars occasionally became so out of hand that the ground couldn’t contain the combatants. When this occurred, they took to the sky in some of the most memorable ships in history. Whether it was Han Solo and Chewbacca piloting the Millennium Falcon, Luke in his X-Wing, or the empire in their Tie-Fighters, Star Wars had no shortage of first class vehicles for its pilots.
In the world of Star Wars, the sky was not the limit.
Respect the bad guys
Interestingly, the villains in the Star Wars universe were just as, if not more popular that the heroes. They exuded a certain level of cool, calm, and power. They were vicious, calculating, and cunning. More than that, they were memorable.
- Darth Vader
- Darth Maul
- Emperor Palpatine
- Boba Fett
Above all of the reasons mentioned, they worked because they were so far-fetched and imaginative that fans had no choice but to embrace them.
From the titular hero, Luke Skywalker, who we watched grow from a farm boy to Jedi Knight to all those that accompanied him. Star Wars has some of the most impressive heroes ever assembled. Luke would be accompanied by the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the brash and arrogant Han Solo, his co-pilot Chewbacca, the stubborn and headstrong Princess Leia, the all-knowing Yoda, and more.
The movies are filled with the “perfect” hero and this is where it excels. The heroes are relatable, yet their stories are nothing that anyone would ever encounter. Their onscreen chemistry worked and because of that, they were believable.
The popularity of Star Wars
Whether you’re a life-long fan or a newbie, understand that for 40 years Star Wars has dominated popular culture and it shows no signs of stopping.
All I can say is sit back, enjoy the memories, and create some new memories. As long as there is a galaxy far, far away then this journey will never end.