Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Star Wars

I’ve often said that the movie Star Wars opened my eyes to what fun science fiction can be. Action, adventure, romance—what a combination. And fabulous music, too. The essence of that movie influenced me so much it’s what I enjoy writing. 

By the way, did you celebrate Star Wars Day on Sunday? May the Fourth (be with you). Okay, bad pun.

Like many Star Wars fans, I’ve been eagerly awaiting information about the newest film, Star Wars VII. And last week they finally revealed the cast. The original three—Luke, Leia, and Han—will be back. This new story will take place thirty years after The Return of the Jedi. I just hate that we have to wait almost two years for it.

I was surprised when George Lucas gave up the project that seemed to be his baby. That said I’m excited that J.J. Abrams has taken it on. I loved his reboot of Star Trek, so I’m sure he’ll do justice to Star Wars.

What was it about the original Star Wars film (A New Hope) that so captured movie-goers? Analysts have tried to explain that the culture of the 1970s—the end of the Viet Nam War, the Watergate scandal, a period of disillusionment—made us ripe for this movie. The 70s was a time without heroes. We were so ready for heroes, ready to believe in Good triumphing over Evil. Had Star Wars come earlier or later, those same analysts say it might not have had the impact. I'm not so sure they're right.

My children reveled in Star Wars. We took them to the movies. I even took my friend’s son (she hates science fiction) to see The Empire Strikes Back. Imagine, if you will, me in the middle of my son and hers (in the front row, no less—oh, my aching neck) with her son who’d never seen the first movie leaning across me constantly asking who’s that. My kids played with the action figures and space vehicles. The boys had light saber fights with yardsticks. After they grew up, I saved those toys (much to my husband’s dismay) with the belief that they would want them some day. Daughter got hers as soon as she had a house. Last spring, we finally hauled Son’s toys out to Arizona. Daughter and her husband just introduced their 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to Star Wars. They use my "feather" dusters for light sabers and beg to watch the movie (for the 3rd o 4th time). Another generation captured by the fantasy.

In my science fiction romances (the Switched and Outer Rim series), I’ve tried to incorporate the fun I experienced while watching the Star Wars films. Who knows? Maybe one day, my grandchildren will do the same.

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