In elementary school, when it became cool to play Star Wars on the playground at recess, the obvious choice was to be Princess Leia. Unfortunately, in the male-dominated star-culture of these movies there is very few desirable parts for the girls to play. So we as 8-year-olds took some artistic license with the plot and reenacted scenes with about seven Leias and approximately nine Luke Skywalkers versus a horde of flailing storm troopers in a nonsensical intergalactic battle across the playground. It’d be safe to say this may have been almost as entertaining as the movies themselves, but for very different reasons.
That is the strongest memory I have of Star Wars. I know I’ve seen the movies, I think I even saw the original one in a movie theater playing a special showing. I remember liking them. That’s about the extent of my passion for the franchise. The only other memory I have is going to see some Episode in eighth grade and thinking that Obi-Wan Kenobi looked like my dad.
Based on my limited knowledge of Star Wars, I can easily see why the franchise has become so powerful and immense. It allows people, just like third graders at recess, to escape their day-to-day lives and the power structures that normally are imposed on them from without. Star Wars creates an elaborate new world with new rules, where the difference between good and bad is obvious and laser guns kill instantly without leaving
bloody wounds. And judging by the immensity of characters and story lines that have evolved since I’ve watched any of the movies, it seems as though the fan culture of Star Wars has used Lucas’ framework to participate even more in the creation of an alternate reality in which to exist (the official website character list displays the vast range in character types that are considered “official,” from the original Harrison Ford to entirely fantasized CGI creatures). On the most basic level, Star Wars can be classified as extremely effective escapist entertainment media. On multiple levels, however, the Star Wars franchise fulfills many psychological needs of humans searching for control of their own world, a battle for power that they can always win.
And, if given the choice between Jar Jar Binks, C3P0, R2D2, or an Ewok, I would readily throw Jar Jar Binks into oblivion. I could have gone so many minutes of life without hearing irritating third-grade voices imitating that character. I was 8 years old, and even I knew that was obnoxious.