Today is a special day to me on so many levels. Star Wars was the movie that gave my imagination wings. Before then, I liked movies, TV shows and books, but none of them sparked the flow of what I later called the grand ‘What if’, or make believe if you will. With the action figures I was able to make up stories that strangely enough stayed with me for years to come. I guess this could be my defining moment. Or, I could just be geekily deluding myself. Either way, I thought Star Wars’ birthday would be the perfect opportunity to explore my love affair with the entire Lucas universe.
I can’t remember seeing Star Wars on the day it came out but I do remember going to the old Rose Theater in Bastrop on a Friday to watch it. By then, I had already amassed a few of the action figures with no idea of who they were or their roles in the movie. C-3PO was my first Star Wars action figure. I bought it at Howard Brothers because it was shiny. I do remember that. Darth Vader and Luke were my next two because they had sliding out swords if for no other reason. Remember this is before I even saw the movie. Not to brag, in some ways I think my fevered stories rivaled the next two movies in breath and scope. Yeah, I was a pretty awesome kid.
As the years dragged forward, my love affair with the Star Wars Universe would wane only to return with a vengeance, but through it all, one thing remained true. The story just wouldn’t die. Good versus Evil would constantly be a theme in the books I read and the ones I would eventually write. More directly, the subject of what defined good and what defined evil would become a theme that defined me as a person and a writer.
Evil is not absolute. Good is not absolute. Both are a product of choices both right and wrong that led a person down the road they eventually find themselves walking down. The eventual end result of that walk is not the interesting part. Return of the Jedi taught us this in a cutesy Ewoky kind of way. No, it would take the prequels to show us the downfall of a warrior for good took place because of love and misplaced faith. See no evil. Not a lot of good either, but you know what I do see? A heckuva lot of the human condition.
That’s the thing. Humans are screwed from the get go. Why? Because we don’t understand love. We grasp the concepts of need, want, lust, and possession pretty damned good, but love is an alien thing to us. We can’t get our heads completely wrapped around the fact love is about sacrifice. It’s about putting another person totally above yourself. No one can do that without some humanity seeping through to screw things up. We all fall short from time to time.
Therein lies the rub as the Bard would say. So what is this rub? Good stories aren’t about attaining perfection. Truly great stories are about the imperfection of humanity and those brave souls who fight against our natures to achieve not perfection but normalcy at the cost of who they think they are to see the person they were always meant to be. Good or bad, that is the story we love to read, or see as the medium dictates.
I think what I’m getting at is I love a good story and that’s what Star Wars is, a good story. And, good stories are hard to come by. Okay, the Prequels could have had a bit more work, but when taken into the context of the society mores of the Republic, I can accept the horrible acting as… Well, hell if I know what it is, but I like the three movies in segments. The last fifteen minutes of Phantom Menace, most of Attack of the Clones and everything that doesn’t involve the romance of Padme and Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. If you leave out the crap, the first three episodes are pretty awesome. Most importantly, they give you the total story of how New Hope came about.
For those of you Philistines who have never seen the prequels let me sum it up in a few sentences.
Little kid crushes on older girl. Same kid a little older obsesses over the girl and somehow brainwashes her into loving him. Girl gotten, boy kills girl by smothering her with love before going insane. Which if you ask me he was crazy to begin with.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. I love Star Wars. Now, I get to write stories that owe their lives to those movies that fueled my childhood.
As I wrap this up, there’s only one thing left to say.
May the 4th be with you!