Opinion

Finding the humanity at the heart of Star Wars

Shmi-Anakin-the-phantom-menace

Star Wars means a lot of different things to different people and one of this fandom’s great joys is in seeing how they all tesselate together. For some it’s all about the story’s mythic underpinning, while others hunger for space fights and lightsaber battles. There’s no right or wrong takeaway from the franchise and there’s plenty of room for everyone to play in the sandbox. For me, though, one of the most important parts are those quiet character moments that add an emotional depth and relatability.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about recently as the final season of Game of Thrones airs. I know, this is a blog about Star Wars and parenting, but bear with me. If I had an issue with the seventh season it was that it tended to prioritise visual spectacle and cheap thrills over the strong character drama and development that made me fall in love with the series in the first place. But on the precipice of the climactic battle with the Night King and his legions of winter zombies, we’ve been treated to two episodes of exquisite character interactions and little moments of real human drama. After all, if humanity is on the line, then we need to be reminded why humanity is worth saving.

And this brings me back to Star Wars. The franchise has been dressed up in a myriad of different labels down through the decades, many from the Creator himself and others from fans and media commentators: fairy tale; Saturday morning matinee; space fantasy and so on. It’s all these things at once but the most crucial categorisation, to me, is family saga. This is a drama about family; yes, there’s the Skywalkers front and centre, but the galaxy is a big place and there’s more than one family, found or bound by blood. I’m talking about the Naberries, the Ticos, the Bridgers, the Wrens, the Bonteris, the Gerreras and on and on it goes.

Each of these families has its own dramatic moments, from heartbreak and loss, to new life and love and dozens of quiet moments in between. It’s in these moments that we can glimpse the humanity at the heart of Star Wars and see our own lives up there among the creatures, droids and starships. That’s the nature of storytelling, to find the humanity in all things, as much in Game of Thrones as in Star Wars and the millions of stories that have come before and have still yet to be told.

Categories: Opinion

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