But, the Star Wars’ allure reaches far beyond the directors or
even the stars involved.
It holds a special place in the
hearts and minds of the American public.
Those first smitten with Star Wars when it exploded onto
movie screens 40 years ago have passed this cosmic love affair
on to their kids and to their kid’s kids, side-by-side with
America’s more traditional faves, Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh.
Chuck Hamil, a fraud investigator in his 60s and a die hard
Star Wars fan, attended "The Last Jedi" opening with his son and
Outside the theater, he told Xinhua:
"Star Wars has been a part of my life since I saw the first
one in 1977.
"Now its part of my kids’ and my grandkids’ lives.
"It’s something we can all watch together as a family.
"It helps us understand the world, what’s good, what’s evil
and what our place is in all that."
Vera, a fan in her 30s, was one of many audience members who
clapped and cheered out loud in the theater during the movie’s
"It’s kind of miraculous - this story crosses all
socio-economic boundaries, rich and poor, black or white, male
or female," she told Xinhua.
Star Wars has shaped many Americans’ collective childhood and
entered the lexicon as a meme that allows them to communicate in
shorthand with such gems as:
"Help me, Obe Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope",
"May the Force be with you",
"Do or not do. There is no try."
Add to those classics is "The Last Jedi’s" poignant message
shared by Rose Tico:
"We don’t win by killing the things we hate, but by saving
the things we love," and, in total, you have a font of pop
cultural wisdom that teaches as much as it entertains.
It teaches people about finding the better person within
them, courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,
standing up for what’s right, resisting the temptations of
power, self-sacrifice and loyalty, and surviving the most
dysfunctional family in the world.
Or, as moviegoer, Chuck Hamil, puts it:
"Are you a Hans Solo or a Darth Vader?
"Part of the Evil Empire or the Resistance?"
It was and remains a Rite of Passage for many of Americans, a
bonding ceremony that linked them irrevocably to a brotherhood
of friends and fans moving into adulthood that could share a
rich new universe of aliens, intergalactic political intrigue,
and most importantly, heroes they could all aspire to be.
Yet its faithful rendition of Joseph Campbell’s humanistic
"Heroes Journey" has transformed it into a universal story that
touches people’s hearts around the globe.
It brings Americans endearingly flawed heroes who always rise
to the challenge to combat an all-powerful, oppressive force and
cadres of nuanced arch-villains they love to hate.
But most importantly, it’s about mankind’s heart warming
belief that good will ultimately triumph over evil.
It’s a belief people need to hang on to now more than ever.