The Timelessness of Star Wars

Posted: December 23, 2015 in Storytelling, Thoughts on art ministry and life
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weeklyreaderIt was Spring of 1977. I was in eighth grade—13 years old. We were in our reading class when the teacher passed out one of those Weekly Reader type newspapers designed to get kids to read. It had a photo of strange creatures on the cover (The sand people as I recall). It was about a movie called Star Wars. I had no idea what it was, I just knew I wanted to see it and when I did, I was hooked, but I didn’t know why exactly.

I am now a 52 year old grandfather and last night I took a couple hours out of my busy schedule and saw the latest installment of the series. It’s been almost 40 years and I am still hooked. This movie is phenomenal. It’s extremely well made and pretty faithful to the series. I loved this movie. I thought about writing this as a review, but I decided to take a different tack with it. Anything I write would be a spoiler andI just don’t want to go there. Instead I decided to look at something that will be helpful to the readers of this blog. Star Wars is timeless.

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Look at virtually any toy or department store and you will see that some of the hottest toys are characters from a 40 year old movie. Kids still eat this stuff up and so do adults. As I looked around the theater I realized most of the people in there hadn’t been born even when the first of the prequels came out, let alone the original 1977 movie. Yet there was great applause when the characters from the original movie appeared on screen. I realize these movies have been out in various formats for a long time, and people were able to catch up, but how many franchises last 40 years with this much fervor? Not many. Again Star Wars is timeless. The question though is why? I have an opinion.

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Poster-Official-300x429Star Wars deals with the age old battle between good and evil. The heroes are real heroes, not the anti-heroes that have been all the rage in the last few decades. The good guys are really good and the bad guys are bad. There is suspense, there is action and there is this overarching theme called the Force. The force has two sides, the light side and the dark side. I think this is what we relate to. In each of us are huge temptations to give in to the dark side of life balanced with a desire to do what is right. We relate to the battle because to some degree, we all live that battle. Will we be a hero or a villain? Will we stand for what is right or will we take the expedient way to wealth and power? The story works because we want good to win and at least in these stories, while evil may win some battles, good wins.

I think every creative desires to create something with a life of it’s own. Something that will outlive us and touch hearts and minds for generations‚ something classic, something timeless. Maybe we can learn something from Star Wars. The best way to touch hearts and minds is to give us hope. To show us in a broken world, there are still people who will rise up and do good and that good will triumph in the end.

That’s the story of Jesus after all. While the dark side battles for control of our lives, a hero arose and showed us power of light and hope. The battle is fierce, but in the end good wins once and for all.

If you want to create something timeless, show people light and hope. Show them good wins.

…and maybe, just maybe, show them Jesus.

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