George Lucas created the fantastical world of Star Wars after showing he could make films by creating the successful realistic film American Grafitti. He was deeply interested in mythology and also in a particular scholar of Mythology — Joseph Cambell. I read a lot of Campbell and learned from him. But we have very different points of view on many things that matter. I am for example a Christian. Campbell was not.
I like Star Wars, I really do and I have seen all of the films and almost all of them more than one time. But I also enjoy a wide variety of science fiction and a wide variety of other forms of art, literature and entertainment. It is certain that to me Star Wars is not my religion or my principal path through life but rather is among my preferred entertainments. But in a year when I am posting very few entries to this blog and in which I am not setting up a lot of holidays as thoroughly as I could I am posting on May the Fourth which is a Star Wars Fanday because it sounds like the famous blessing of that Galaxy Far, Far Away — “May the Force be with you.” Joseph Campbell was involved in the creation of the Star Wars Universe in ways both direct and indirect and was involved in promoting it directly through his series of television interviews with Bill Moyer titled The Power of Myth. Besides being a popular television series for something of its type it was also a widely distributed book. A quirky take on the connection between Campbell and Star Wars can be found at the link here. Star Wars is not mostly about science then and is not largely hard science fiction but it is not very anti-science either. In addition it may well have had an element of challenging Christianity in the culture but some of the most devout and active Christians I know enjoy Star Wars quite a bit. Tonight the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on movie screens across the United States and this is an example of the impact that Star Wars has had and also the fact that in the abundance of new science fiction blockbusters Star Wars is only one element one can forget how fresh and different it was when New Hope, the first film appeared. Chris Pratt has also done another science fiction role besides that of Peter Quill in the film Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence which was a great piece of hard science fiction and did fairly well — for hard science fiction. But Star Wars helped to create that audience as well.
I am not blogging frequently these days. I am working on a variety of other things but not at all with the assurance that most of it will be a fruitful and worthy expenditure of energy. But I am occupied or preoccupied with a variety of other things. Our lives and our society are full of images and events with resonate with the Star Wars universe. It opens us up to be spiritual, social, scientific members of our society and also to escape into a world that is not ours at all.
So we can look at the time we spend watching movies (and I watch a lot of movies) as having a special place in our imaginative lives. Perhaps for Christians like me whose lives have been adventurous but presently are not so adventurous and whose quests seem out of flow — there is something to remember in Star Wars today that will make us better at living the lives we do live and following the quests we are on.