Princesses and Emperors? Knights with dashing swords and codes of chivalry? Hermits that teach the secrets of the universe? Here’s a few things to note when starting to watch Star Wars.
Concept by: George Lucas
Original Work: Movie Trilogy (Original)
Derivative Works: (Oh goodness, where to begin…) A prequel and a sequel trilogy, several video games, an animated series, a comic adaptation, several expansive novels, and more, more, more!
A little secret: I only recently watched the movies. I know that sounds unreal, for a story that has been around for decades. However, if you’re reading this and thinking that you are not alone, there’s still a chance to hop into this series. So let’s take a look at what you need to know.
In Star Wars, the conflict arises from the battles fought for power. One side retains the republic approach, while the other enforces a totalitarian rule. The trilogies cover a unique storyline within this universe, each with its own band of characters and adventures. They usually depict different generations, but they also appear in each other’s stories.
While this sounds repetitive, the story takes a different approach in each trilogy. But it drives that the conflict never ends. That there exists a cycle of destruction and restoration of balance.
A note: I am NOT going to attempt to summarize the entire Star Wars universe in one post. It’s impossible to cover everything. But here are some themes and concepts that are interesting to note about the movies as you start.
Light vs Dark Side
The Jedi and the Sith. The Empire or The Rebellion. There’s a lot of dichotomy in Star Wars, but the essential trick is that of the Light Side and the Dark Side of the force. Aside from the magic superpowers of the force, it also affects the story when it comes to moral alignment.
It’s not a simple good vs. evil either. The light is selfless, orderly and chivalrous. The dark is impulsive, selfish and emotional. To act in either direction strengthens that side, both in the universe and in characters.
Since the cast is usually young and impressionable, this makes them vulnerable. It affects their decisions and alignments, not only those who can actually use the force. This actually crops up a lot in the film, especially in critical points in the story.
Yes, we do have to talk about it. The Star Wars focuses on… well… the wars. The cause of these wars is the arguments about how to run a vast number of civilizations. The Empire is authoritarian under one ruler, while the Republic builds on a democracy.
“So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”
They go into detail of this in the Prequel Trilogy (the one that came out in the 2000s). To some, it was boring as hell and dragged out, but political decisions escalated the start of the war. The characters travel to different planets throughout the franchise. These often show the effects of governing decisions on different planets.
As I’ve already expressed through the intro, Star Wars is actually a fantasy and I am not alone.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”. Those words usually appear in fairy tales. The setting, however, makes it a somewhat unique perspective. The technology is futuristic, but roles and activities are still built on a fantasy.
Change galaxy to kingdom or castle and you’ve got yourself a medieval fantasy. We’ve got knights, damsels in distress and evil lairs destroyed (a planet-destroying lair–twice). Even complete with chariot/carriage races (or pod races) as a main means of entertainment. Glance back once in a while and you can re-imagine the entire series in a medieval setting.
Genres don’t limit narratives, but it is important to differentiate science fiction and fantasy. The story does get techy or scientific, but it isn’t explained well. But to be frank, it doesn’t matter much. The world building here seems to emphasize on the characters than how the world came to be.
How is Star Wars received? Well, the opinions are usually mixed. As a story that has stood the test of time, it has both its fans and haters. It’s up to the taste and interest of the watcher, as with any film, regardless of popularity. So feel free to love it or hate it.
Be mindful of Star Wars though as it changes over time, due to its alterations and enhancements. They try to reintroduce more advanced visual effects, along with some scene changes. To critique Star Wars once seems almost pointless. It’s still a work in progress (whether we like it or not), along with the ongoing sequel trilogy.
Now that that’s covered, where do we go when starting to watch Star Wars? You can look this up because many people have debated on how to enjoy the franchise in the correct order. Personally, I started with the original trilogy first and was not disappointed. In seeing Star Wars, you can also compare between storytelling in different eras of cinema. Episodes IV to VI are your best bet if you want to get the full-on history and effects mode. If you want to follow the story, you may also start with Episode I to III (The Prequel Trilogy)
It would be highly recommended if you like themes of personal conflicts, cheesy lines, and friendship. Star Wars is not only about that, but it’s few of the many endearing qualities that make its lasting impression.