It’s easy to be cynical in the face of so many fans professing how Star Wars helped them through tough times. But the truth is that this multi-media franchise has deeply touched the hearts and minds of millions across this lonely blue planet. If Star Wars doesn’t save lives, then it certainly helps us weather difficult stretches. To quote Rey in The Force Awakens, “I believe that”.
For me, this was obvious with Solo: A Star Wars Story or, more specifically, the days leading up to its theatrical release. Depression had crept up on in that slow, insidious and unexpecting way it does. I felt submerged behind my own self, while a black hole drank the light of my thoughts and feelings. The grip of my daughter’s fingers on mine helped beat back the gathering shadows, and her smile felt like the single ray of light in a darkening world.
Sitting down to watch Solo, though, I felt a weight lift and the growing shadows flee from my mind. I felt myself again, connected to the core of my being. Something about Solo made its way through the storm clouds, like the Millennium Falcon navigating the maelstrom.
Having battled with depression and anxiety for years, Star Wars offers me a rich world to dive headfirst into and immerse myself in lore and stories. By making sense of them I can, in turn, make sense of myself. Though part of me still wishes that Solo stuck to its original December 2018 release, it arrived at the perfect moment, like a gift from the gods, and gave me hope when I needed it most. If that’s not the power of Star Wars, then I’m not sure what is.