Star Wars: “A Bigger Fish”- The Fandom Journey of a New Star Wars Fan by Miriam Orr
I haven’t always been a Star Wars fan.
Actually, there was a time – believe it or not – that I knew nothing of Star Wars. It’s hard to believe that I, perhaps the biggest fangirl I know, was unfamiliar with the franchise. I had my reasons though (and so did my parents) for keeping the franchise at bay, and it wasn’t until the December of my 21st birthday that I joined the battle of the galaxies and would team with the light side (sorry, all you Separatist Loyalists and Sith).
It was December of my senior year of college, 2015 – and, after much debate, argumentation, prayer, and council, I was on my way to see my first Star Wars film. This feeling of anticipation and excitement had clustered inside my stomach and was running through my nerves, and I felt giddy; like a child ready to unwrap the first present of the holiday season, until the final moment arrived and the swelling chorus of the main title for Star Wars: A New Hope erupted and the scrolling yellow text overtook a starry backdrop.
It had been a long time ago and seemingly in a galaxy far, far away (almost 16 years!) since I’d watched Star Wars, as in my family the films do not go over well with my parents. A few months ago after having a strong desire to look into the ground-breaking film, I talked to my parents about the idea of watching the film and was met with some skepticism and opposition: why would I want to watch them all of the sudden? After all, weren’t they films filled with Eastern mysticism and Buddhism, blatantly against everything I believed? I debated with my parents and prayed about the topic for a long time before my college decided to show A New Hope, and when the opportunity arose, I talked to my parents yet again and was surprised – they’d relented and told me making this decision was a part of adulthood, then by all means I should go. Determined to see the film and sort through the theological implications and discover some type of truth to be used evangelically, I set out and made the hour trek from home.
Once at the film, one of my professors, Dr. Andrew Harris, Ph.D, presented the idea of Star Wars being a myth – and also that the idea of myth expanded beyond just being a fake, fictional story. He compelled our campus to approach sci-fi with an open-book mindset – that often science-fiction had a bigger meaning behind a simple story. Myth, after all; he stated, was a concept invented by the Greeks that was used to convey lessons through oral tradition – a myth stood for something bigger; a life-lesson.
The idea of Star Wars being a myth, or as Harris put it, a story meant to convey something much larger, is a valid one. Watching the film, I was reminded of Genesis 50:20 from the Holy Bible, (as I am a Communications and Biblical Theology major) which states, “…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Is this not the entire concept of Star Wars – the battle between light and darkness?
Contextually, this verse is about a man named Joseph, who is replying to his brothers – who have sold him into slavery – after they have just realized who he has become in Egypt; the second hand of Pharaoh. Though, I think it has implications for Star Wars – and I don’t think it is taking the concept of the idea out of context when I suggest that Star Wars was intended, originally, to stand for something bigger than just a science-fiction adventure. I don’t think Lucas, while writing the film, intended for Star Wars to take off to become as culturally significant as it did – or that it would have such meaningful implication for different religious affiliations across the world. After all, consider the quote above, from Qui-Gon Jinn: there’s always something bigger than what we think.
I was able to talk to the college audience I watched the film with, and was surprised by the feedback that I got. I spoke with first-time watchers like myself, as well as seasoned veterans; passionate fan-followers and then just the normal-movie goers. They were all very passionate about the idea of Star Wars being a myth and having undertones, and one person I talked with stated: “If you think about it, Star Wars has a great message to it. The battle between light and darkness is relatable to a lot of different people – regardless of religion.”
So I took my observations to the Internet – and I met some interesting people. I met Buddhists and atheists, Christians and the like who all responded to the idea of the undertones of Star Wars. All were unique in the same aspect, however: there was something bigger to Star Wars. Regardless of the vein, there was something bigger. It spoke to many people on many different levels – it is just how the viewer engages the film, and how they choose to respond to it – and use it to their benefit.
One blogger I talked with stated, “Oh, yeah – Star Wars is a huge community, and has a huge following,” they stated, “and there are so many spiritual undertones. The Bible’s use of a light and dark concept parallels with Star Wars a lot – and it’s a great launching pad to be able to talk with people evangelically and make points using word pictures that a lot of people will get on the same level with.”
For me, personally; Star Wars challenged me to think deeper about the world and the light/dark inside of it. It challenged me to examine my own life and realize which side of the fence I was on – and how I wanted others to find the “light” side as well. For hundreds and thousands of people, Star Wars is not just another film to them – it’s a lifestyle, an engaging point; an anchor. For some, it’s what brings them to an understanding of faith and morality. For others, it’s a place of acceptance.
Perhaps the greatest film of all time, this genre obviously has a message of light and darkness that speaks volumes to people – otherwise, it wouldn’t be as widely accepted as it is today. Books have been written about its implications to the faith and morality of human beings. Blogs have been written about it. People have been engaged.
Perhaps it isn’t just a film after all. Perhaps it’s more than that – perhaps there’s a “BIGGER FISH”.
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Since the bright and adventurous age of 5, Miriam Orr has been writing adventures to captivate audiences of all walks of life. She has been published in over ten poetry journals and graduated the creative writing certificate program through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut. Currently, she possess a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Christian Studies from Crown College (MN). She hopes to respond to the call of Isaiah 6:8 across the globe and venture with the heart of Jesus Christ into the nations. Miriam currently resides in Minnesota and enjoys film, fiction, cars, poetry, and coffee. You can see more of Miriam’s work on her blog https://loudfictionblog.wordpress.com/