Is Star Wars Proof Readers Like the Same Old Story?

 

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Unless you live in a cave, or Afghanistan (which to be fair is sort-of one and the same thing), you know the seventh Star Wars movie is out.

This movie has already surpassed the half billion mark in box office receipts and the Star Wars Franchise, nearly 40 years old, is still going strong. New generations of fans are always being born, and there is literally no shortage to the possible number of video games, t-shirts, posters, fan art, etc., available. I still remember, as a kid, all the Star Wars games and books I used to have.

So what is it about Star Wars that makes it so popular? And how does it affect the type of stories we write? Is it true that, despite people saying they like ‘fresh and original’, they in fact, prefer the exact same story with some subtle changes?

I searched for the answer to my questions to the omniscient, onmipresent God Almighty, who is manifested on this Earth in the form of the search engine, delivered from Mount Silicon from His prophet Google.

Levi Throckmorton, Star Wars historian (did you know there was such a thing? How much does that pay?) says:

  • Star Wars is genre-defining. It was the first feature film of its kind and it opened the gate for space-based science fiction to occupy an unshakeable position in mainstream culture.
  • The story of the original trilogy of Star Wars is one of humanity’s favorite stories. David beats Goliath. The underdog good topples the powerhouse evil.
  • The universe is vast. Multiple planets are mentioned, visited and explored. All manner of sentient and non-sentient beings are on display, including the primary antagonist being a mixture of both. Entire books have been written just about the spaceships, land vehicles, and weapons that exist in Star Wars. And those are just the films…
  • The movies aren’t the end of the story. In fact, the seven Star Wars feature films that exist only comprise around 35 years of the history of the galaxy. There is so much more information to explore, whether via novels, comic books, video games, or the Star Wars Wiki (lovingly nicknamed Wookieepedia).
  • The stories are relevant to children as well as adults. A 40-year-old can watch these films or read these books and get just as much pleasure and satisfaction as a 10-year-old. The Star Wars universe isn’t something that just fades away as you grow older. If anything, rewatching the movies with an adult perspective on the politics and relationships featured in them has only enhanced my love for the universe.

Here’s a second take from Michael Wolfe:

This may in part explain the recycling of the same idea in our movies, books, TV shows, and video games: Regular joe discovers he’s (almost always a man, it seems) the ‘chosen one’ and must save the world from pure evil, which is evil because it is evil.
Some scripts like Game of Thrones defiantly bucks this trend with main-character-killing or no specific good vs. evil plot to overcome. But for sure, the good will triumph over evil plot is popular, chosen one stories are popular, especially when the hero is unaware of his special powers and doesn’t want to cause trouble in the beginning. It also helps in my view to be “first to market”, getting there before anyone else does. Once you do that, anyone who tries to compete with you will be derided as a “copycat” and will have to compete against your brand, which will occupy space with the divergence of media that is our internet world.
Having said that, is it a bad thing that the most popular story ever told is recycled 2-3 times a generation in a well-told story? or does the public love these stories because they do not believe we live in a just world?

As always, make sure to follow my blog for more fun analysis and talking points. Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate, and Happy New Year.
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