Just recently Star Wars celebrations wrapped up in Orlando, Florida commemorating “40 Years of Star Wars”. The first “Star Wars” film, “Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope” opened in U.S. theatres in May 1977. It is hard to believe and understand the magnanimity of what this franchise has achieved! It’s especially confusing to the non-fans and so I’ve put together this “Star Wars Guide for the Non-Fan”.
Now a little disclaimer: I am no expert of the Star Wars episodes. It was only just recently that I saw one of the movies, so as a novice myself, here’s a guide for the others like me out there, who go “Yoda who?”
Let’s start from the beginning: A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
The first Star Wars, now subtitled ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’, was released in 1977. It was part of a trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) envisioned by the genius mind of George Lucas, who is credited as a “creative consultant” on Force Awakens.
From the bag of George Lucas also came three prequel films (Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith), released from 1999 to 2005.
In 2015, Episode VII – The Force Awakens dropped and Episode VIII –The Last Jedi released its trailer and poster at the Star Wars celebration just last month.
Simply put, Star Wars tells the story of A farm boy, Luke Skywalker, was raised by his aunt and uncle on the desert planet Tatooine, thinking his parents had been killed. He longed for an exciting life, and with his Uncle Owen’s purchase of new droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, a chain of events was put in place that would change Luke — and the galaxy — forever.
Eventually he becomes one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever seen. Now, who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about a young protagonist journeying to alien lands to become an adult, then returning home an eternal champion?
Now you may ask, What Is A Jedi? Or ‘The Force’ For That Matter?
A Jedi is very closely related to the idea of a medieval knight. He or she is a well-trained warrior and peace keeper who agrees to use his or her powers for the general good of the galaxy rather than personal gain. So basically, the good guys.
The Force is an energy that connects all living things. Also, it’s a metaphysical power that can be tapped into for good or for evil.
So on one hand we have the good guys, and on the other we have the bad guys called Sith. They work for the evil Galactic Empire, and use the Force for personal gain and to conquer the galaxy.
Each have similar powers but when the time comes to fight, it usually comes down to a lightsaber battle with the Sith wielding red and the Jedi wielding any other colour (typically green or blue).
You do know what a lightsabre is, right? (A laser sword that can cut through almost anything.)
While the Sith and Jedi are warring factions, the real fight is in between the evil Galactic Empire; which sought to conquer the entire galaxy through fear and intimidation, and the Rebels; who wanted to make sure all of lifeforms live freely and not in terror.
The reason why Star Wars got so famous was because under the allure of the space opera, at its soul, it is but a story of a family – the trinity of Luke, Anakin, and Leia Skywalker which keep the narrative going, the son Luke and patriarch Darth Vader, who are destined to ruin each other.
Before you start rolling your eyes, let’s get to the main characters who have kept Star Wars alive.
If it was not for the droids wandering off in the middle of the night to deliver a message to someone named Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars may not have happened. When Luke follows them, he meets Obi-Wan and is informed that Luke’s father was a Jedi Knights, strong with the Force, and good friends with him. He also told the boy that his father was killed by his former student, Darth Vader, who had turned to the dark side and gone all out rouge.
There you have a motive. Luke vows to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like his father.
Before he became a disciple of the dark side, Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, a goodhearted Jedi While he was considered one of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, Anakin had broken the Order’s code by secretly marrying. When he began to suffer visions that his wife, Padmé would die in childbirth, Anakin sought a way to prevent this fate. It was claimed that the dark side was a pathway to this ability: he could stop people from dying with Sith power. The Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, compelled him to join him, and so rechristened as Darth Vader, he became an agent of evil.
But as we see, in Return of the Jedi, he saves Luke’s life proving that there was still some Light left in him.
Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. She is the daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister of Luke Skywalker (which we come to know of only later). Princess Leia was the custodian of stolen plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon. When Darth Vader came after her, she sent a message in the droid R2-D2, who escaped alongside his counterpart C-3PO (Yes, the same ones Luke’s uncle had brought home). This message was discovered by Obi-Wan, who arrived on the Death Star with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the two droids to rescue her.
Smuggler. Scoundrel. Hero. Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, didn’t believe in the Force, saying, “There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.” He and his friend Chewbacca, were hired by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker to provide passage to Alderaan, and together they saved Princess Leia. And yes, the two fall in love!
Is this enough to get you excited, and turn you into a fan?
Imagine me, waving my hand like a Jedi to get your attention. Do I have it? “You WILL not get the Star Wars fan craze unless you watch a movie. One movie and you will be hooked.” So, this May fourth, lets feel the Force – Why don’t we do a Star Wars movie marathon? Up for it?