Written by Ollie.
In 1977, we met a hopeful boy named Luke Skywalker. A poor and lonely farm boy who would long to leave his dusty old planet of Tatooine to see the stars. His sister, Princess Leia, hoped for the safety of her people in a transmitted message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. This duality between the seemingly powerless and powerful, both with their unshaken optimism is a theme that I'd like to explore as part of our #MayTheFourth coverage on A Space Oddity.
In a time where we are all looking for even the smallest glimmers of hope, Star Wars has a surprising number of valuable themes, messages and lessons that we can learn from during difficult times. In a quote from 2017's 'The Last Jedi', Vice Admiral Holdo says:
This particular quotes resonates with me as it illustrates just how important it is to have something to belive in, to trust and to be hopeful for. Regardless who you are or what your background is, if you have hope, you have something to live for. This harks back to Luke as he stood on the sands of Tatooine in 'A New Hope', a seemingly ordinary individual that had the courage to believe in the extra-ordinary and the thought that peace could be brought to the galaxy.
The theme of hope transcends all the films in the Star Wars universe, including the anthology films. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a film that embodies this theme. We follow a group of (again, seemingly ordinary) individuals, who seek balance and order in the universe, if it means that they must sacrifice themselves in the process for the greater good and hope of a better future for others, then that's what it takes. Jyn Erso, the film's lead protagonist exclaims:
This unfailing hope shows us that despite all the odds, perhaps in the darkest of times, hope prevails, guiding us through the hard times as we continue to believe in all that's good.
In difficult times, it's hard to look past the nihilism that often consumes our thinking, but positive thinking and optimism are both ways in which we can break past and through the torrent of fear and pessimism. In The Phantom Menace, we heard Qui-Gon Jinn discuss how our focus can shape our reality. If we focus too heavily on the negative, we no longer see the positive - something I personally believe we all could do with during these times. "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night."
In times when your hope particularly begins to dwindle, remember that there's always light at the end of the tunnel. Just like Leia in her message to Obi-Wan, a message that was recorded out of fear and desperation, her calls were miraculously answered and it became the start of a journey towards freedom, happiness and most importantly a new hope for everyone. For Leia, hope aided her through the hard times. Whether it be the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan before her very eyes and the unfortunate truth that she'd lost her son to the dark-side, she remained her position that sometimes hope was all that was left, but that's "everything we need".
I wanted to close this short essay and discussion of the theme of hope with the man that started it all, George Lucas. It's easy to forget that these are all his words after all. The point of this article was to discuss the deeper meaning of some of our favourite films, and how the theme of hope is etched into every frame, in all its forms. As Lucas said, "there should be a point to movies. Sure, you’re giving people a diversion from the cold war for a bit, but at the same time, you pass on some facts and rules and maybe a little bit of wisdom". I'll leave you with this quote, a particular quote of his that stuck with me which is:
Have a very happy Star Wars Day 2020, and may the force be with us all.
- Written by Ollie
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