My Facebook feed is filled with comments, links and stories about the new Star Wars movies.
It is a mix of those who are excited, those who don’t understand why some people are moved and those who are deconstructing every piece of the puzzle so that they can determine if what they see fits into the Star Wars universe.
Some of the latter group make my head and my heart hurt because their determination to monitor what is true to the real story and what is not kills movies and joy.
They claim ownership of something that doesn’t belong to Disney, Lucas or anyone. Maybe there was a time when it could be said that one or a few owned the legend and mythology that was introduced long ago, but that time passed.
Now the stories belong to all of us and the attempt to claim ownership is as useful as trying to stop grains of sand from flying every which way in a dust storm.
Those fans kill the movies because in their misguided efforts they forget the source of joy that comes from these films lies in our ability to suspend disbelief.
If you never let yourself believe you can fly there is no chance that you ever will.
The First Children Of Star Wars
I am among the first children of Star Wars, meaning I saw the first movie the at a drive-in the year it premiered.
It was 1977 and we didn’t know anything about characters other than what we heard and saw on the screen.
Darth Vader was the personification of evil and Luke Skywalker was a boy we recognized as being a little bit older than us, but still one of us.
We grew alongside the movies, I was 8 when Star Wars came out, 11 for Empire Strikes Back and 14 when Return of the Jedi hit.
I was lucky, we were lucky because growing up with the movies offered a level of discovery that doesn’t exist today.
Because we didn’t have all of the history and the backstory wasn’t developed the way it is now, that suspension of disbelief I mentioned was easier for us.
That moment when I first heard “Luke, I am your father” hit like a thunderbolt. It might sound like hyperbole now, but then we didn’t know anything other than Darth Vader was the personification of evil.
There was nobody worse.
During every lap I took on Sunday afternoon there was a moment when my driving instructor said “Go! Go! Go!”
That was when I was supposed to push down on the accelerator and see what that Ferrari was capable of doing. Had you climbed inside my head I can guarantee at least once you would have heard a voice say,
“Punch it Chewie!”
It all goes back to that 8-year-old boy who watched the movie all those years ago. He still lives inside me and is still filled with wonder and joy.
He still believes that we can be more, do more and have more.
There are moments when the man looks the boy in the eyes and asks him to settle down and remember that sometimes the grown-up has to take over but the boy never ever backs down.
At best he sits back in his chair, defiant eyes daring the man to prove him wrong.
It is not the kind of battle the man will ever win. He can tell the boy about life, speak about responsibilities and what it is like to have your heart broken and dreams deferred but the boy won’t hear it.
The boy has seen possibility and believes in a future where maybe, just maybe the Force or something like it can be his.
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
There are times when I have to give it to the boy and admit that truth is stranger than fiction and that I have seen/done things that I never thought would be possible.
Moments where I recognized that all I thought and knew was possible or probable was shortsighted because of my own limiting beliefs and that because I opened my eyes things changed.
Some good, some bad.
But they happened and now I sit here alert and aware because I know that what is possible is greater than I had once imagined.
The boy feels a mix of frustration and vindication because he never doubted any of it. He just believed.
Our Children And Star Wars
My oldest was around four or so when he first saw Vader cut off Luke’s hand.
I didn’t intend for him to see it.
Empire Strikes Back is among a group of movies that are channel surfing killers, meaning if I stumble upon it I will likely watch some of it for a while.
One day it was on and my son wandered out of his room, fresh from a nap and clambered up on my lap.
I was thrilled to have him watch with me, excited to share something important and so I didn’t think about whether he would be upset by anything.
He was safe in daddy’s lap.
“He cut off his hand! He cut off his hand!”
It took a solid minute or two to calm him down and make him understand it was just pretend.They claim ownership of something that doesn't belong to Disney, Lucas or anyone.Click To Tweet
A decade or so later he calls me into his bedroom and tells me I am not to criticize how it looks.
“You’re not given carte-blanche to live like a slob. Clean this place up.”
“I am a teenager dad.”
“You’re a teenage slob, clean it up.”
He rolls his eyes at me and while he organizes and cleans tells me about Â the Clone Wars and fills in other Star Wars history he thinks I need to know.
“Dad, you really don’t know as much about Star Wars as you should. There is so much more, take Order 66.”
I cut him off and tell him I am happy to talk about it all and to listen to him, but want him to remember to suspend disbelief.
“Part of the joy of the movies is watching and believing that all of this is possible.”
“Dad, I am not a little kid anymore. I don’t believe I can use The Force anymore and you can’t fool me.”
“I don’t want to fool you. I just want us to enjoy the movie when we see it.”
“Don’t worry, we will. I can’t wait to go.”