Why We Love Star Wars

The Star War prequels were very high-grossing but much maligned films. Growing up watching them I didn’t know enough about the prequels to realize I should hate them. It is a similar case with the new film. There are many vocal critics of the film calling it “unoriginal” among other things. If originality is what we wanted, Jar Jar Binks would be touted as avante garde creativity. But he wasn’t, and with good reason.

“The Force Awakens” stand to be the highest grossing film in United States history (in nominal terms) and has a shot at taking Avatar for the worldwide title. Why is this? It’s because people love symmetry. They love the same story told over and over again in different ways.

Joseph Campbell calls this “The Hero’s Journey.” There are 17 stages of the Hero’s Journey but they can be grouped into the departure, initiation, and return. Those are the phases we feel the most as human beings. Star Wars has all of these in each trilogy.

***Some spoilers below***

Departure- Rey is the main character of the new Star Wars film. It is found later in the movie that she has powers of the force within her. What better status quo to start from than an orphan who scavenges for scrap? Everyone can relate to strugglistar wars1ng to accomplish something that results in subsistence. It’s only when the second phase happens that life begins to change.

Some catalyst for change enters your life. In the case of Rey it was BB-8, Finn, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. BB-8 had blueprints that were instrumental to the resistance (not unlike R2D2 in the original trilogy. Rey gets caught up in the struggle and starts her journey with the other characters who are at different stages in their own journey.

Initiation- This is where all the action happens. The hero is transformed over time into their completed form. Rey is still in this stage at the end of the move.

Return- The return is always momentous. Imagine Bilbo Baggins coming back to the shire after his experiences in “Lord of the Rings.” This is the type of adventure that leaves you feeling like your entire reality is different and you often wonder if your friends have seen the light.
Everyone loves Star Wars because it represents the journey they want to go on. The hero’s journey repeats itself over and over but each story is different. What “The Force Awakens” does is instill that feeling in the viewer. We love the hero’s journey because we all kinda know exactly what it entails.

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