Project Stardust celebrated our one-year anniversary at the end of August, and the occasion had us reflecting on what Project Stardust means, what we’re proud of accomplishing so far, and what we’re looking forward to achieving next. It also got us thinking about why we love Star Wars so much in the first place. What drew us into the Galaxy Far, Far Away? And why do we keep coming back?
As we talked about it, and as folks submitted their answers for this roundtable, a few themes kept popping up over and over. The idea of found family, for one, and the way Star Wars embodies hope for a better tomorrow—and a better today. But perhaps equally important was the idea that Star Wars is fun.
Star Wars as Adventure and Exploration
I love Star Wars because I love adventure. It’s also possible that I love adventure because I love Star Wars. I loved Princess Leia as a kid. As an adult, I thought Han was exactly the kind of man I wanted to be with (News flash: No. No I didn’t). I have to say, Clone Wars and Rebels are really well done and gave me a new and better perspective on the prequel trilogy. I am also enamored with The Mandalorian. It’s so OT in how it feels, and the characters are great.
I originally saw Star Wars as a very young child. I think I was actually hooked by Leia and Vader. They are such contrasts with Leia being in all white and Vader in all black. I loved the flight scenes, and it was the most thrilling thing I had ever experienced at age 7! What kept me coming back to Star Wars is the Skywalker story. I wanted to know who Vader was and if there was actually good in him! And then when the prequels came out, I had to see Vader’s origin story. And now I am in love with this galaxy far far away and love anything set in the Star Wars universe.
I love the sense of adventure, and the multitude of stories that the universe can hold. The fact that after all of the Star Wars media I have consumed, and after everything that has been added to canon as well as Legends before it, there is still so much more to learn, so many parts of the galaxy left to explore—the franchise is wonderfully large in scope, and has endless potential to grow.
And yet, despite how large it is, Star Wars still has the ability to focus on the kind of personal and emotional storytelling that more often than not really hits home with me. One of my favorite themes in Star Wars is found family. The notion that you can find a family basically anywhere; blood has nothing to do with it. You are never too broken to love and be loved in return. I love getting to see characters find their place in the galaxy; it gives me hope, and it reminds me of how grateful I am for my own found family.
I also gravitate toward any narratives that are painted in nuances of gray. Complexity is very important to me, and so the stories that I tend to favor are the ones where the line between light and dark is blurry, where characters move between the two extremes, never fully planting themselves in one camp over the other. I feel like we have gotten a bit more of that sweet, sweet nuance in Star Wars as of late, and I am so here for it. The galaxy is infinite, and in Star Wars, anything can happen. This is a franchise that will forever be with me, and getting to see where it goes next is nothing but pure joy.
Star Wars as Tapestry of Story
When I first got into Star Wars, it was absolutely the characters that hooked me. But as I’ve grown older and taken in more of the media available from Star Wars, it’s the themes and the interconnectivity of stories. Knowing that all of these amazing characters exist in cohesion with one another. Nothing thrills me like hearing Hera’s name dropped in Rogue One or seeing Sidon Ithano at Maz’s castle and knowing clone trooper Kix is that close to meeting Finn. Knowing the GFFA is this giant tapestry of stories is so amazing, and I love seeing more and more of that tapestry get filled in with color.
I love everything about it! But, if I had to pick out one thing, I think it would be characters like Leia and Ahsoka. Each of them has a strong arc as a woman—not without their flaws—but both are committed to a cause that they are inspired by. Each sacrifices something for that cause, but their sacrifices don’t define them.
Plus, the themes of hope and family that are woven throughout each story in the universe. At the end of the day, despite its flaws, the fandom helps keep me engaged. The excitement and creativity that comes from other fans is contagious. From watching fan artists develop their styles to seeing my fellow ‘Dusters getting excited about the latest book, movie, or piece of merchandise, there is something in Star Wars fandom that enhances an individual experience. Part of this, too, is seeing that theme of family—and found family in particular—come to life.
I think Star Wars is a familiar escape. The universe is so vast at this point, it’s impossible to get bored. I’ve watched the movies so many times, and I pick up something new all the time. I think there are deep themes about hope and love and redemption, but there’s also a lot of silliness and whimsy. There’s also a lot of space for speculation about characters or concepts. Some things may be answered later in some capacity through comics or books or another film, but to me, it’s fine and preferable to have some open-endedness to let the imagination roam in. Life is never easy, but 2020 felt particularly scary and stressful and surreal. It was beneficial to have this one happy place and to meet other people who had the same happy place.
Star Wars as That Inexplicable Je Ne Se Quois
I wish I could explain what drew me to Star Wars in the first place, but I’m not sure it’s that easy! I first saw Star Wars when the special editions of the original trilogy were rereleased in theaters, and there was something about the story in Empire Strikes Back that captivated me. I saw it with a friend for her birthday, and then made everyone at the party watch the VHS tape of Return of the Jedi they had at home. It was all new and amazing and now, twenty-five-ish years after watching Star Wars for the first time, I am still finding new worlds and characters to discover. It’s Leia’s bravery, Luke’s growth and evolution, and Han’s dashing that hooked me then and still has me in love today. Star Wars has always had the full package: outstanding visuals, lovable characters, and compelling music that ties everything together. I love every movie (even the ones people don’t exactly stan) and can’t wait for more stories to be told.
I love Star Wars because it is such a vast universe with deep and compelling story lines. I was drawn to the original trilogy back when it was being re-released in the 1990s, oddly enough, because Taco Bell had a line of toys with their kids meals. Those toys led me to the movies, which led me to becoming a life-long fan. I stay engaged because of the fandom, because of all of the friends and fun times that I have had as a result of our mutual interest.
It’s honestly hard to quantify why I love Star Wars so much. True, it’s essentially a modern myth for a culture that has forgotten most of its myths. True, it tells a universal story of redemption, love, and the fight between good vs. evil. True, it has grown and evolved over the years as I have, too. I love Star Wars for all those reasons, but it’s so much more than any one of those things on its own. It’s a whole galaxy, a whole universe where everyone can find a story they relate to, a character they feel close to. Star Wars is just a story, but that’s everything.
Star Wars as Hope
I love the recurring theme of hope throughout every facet of the series. Even when things are dark or bleak, there’s always hope, there’s always a light waiting for the characters at the end. As a child I loved Leia; her fiery spirit shaped much of my childhood personality. As an adult I was drawn back to the series by Rey. Her kindness, her sense of wonder, and her bravery all are traits I see in myself, and her story has brought so much light to my life.
I love Star Wars because of what it represents: hope. Hope that things can get better; hope that a small group of determined people can change the world. Hope that one person from less than ideal circumstances can make a difference.