Star Wars Day 2016 – An Appreciation Post

Today is May 4th and that means that it’s Star Wars Day! In honor of my favorite science fiction franchise, and one of my favorite franchises of all time, I’ve put together this little appreciation post to share my love of Star Wars across the galaxy.

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Star Wars is more that just a great series of movies to me. I grew up with these films, quite literally. Back when I was a youth my mom, who is the original Star Wars fan in my family, would put episodes four through six on periodically for my brother and I to watch and enjoy. My brother grew into a huge fan and because he is a big time reader, he ended up reading many of the EU books and novels as well as informational books about the series as a whole. Basically, when it comes to pre-Episode VII Star Wars, my brother is an expert. Any question we have ever had about random species, planets or characters my bother had the answers to and could give us in-depth analyses. My brother and I are very close and therefore talked about these things a lot growing up and even today we still have great conversations about Star Wars. He collected Star Wars toys for years and years, we played with them together, he taught and I learned. All of us, my mom, dad, brother and I, would watch and talk about Star Wars which is one of the many ways in which we all bonded into the strong family we are today. Star Wars is more than just a movie series I enjoy, it was basically a way of life for my family throughout my life.

I’m 26 years old and when I was a little kid there weren’t a lot of powerful female characters for me to look up to. That’s not to say there weren’t any at all, but there weren’t very many and given my likes (video games, sci-fi/fantasy/action movies, superheroes, etc.) there were fewer for me to personally experience as these things were typically full of bland female characters with no depth. Star Wars, however, had Princess Leia. Growing up I always loved Leia; she was special to me and not just because she was the one female main character in movies full of men. She is a very powerful, deep and wonderful character, one that I could see myself in. Even today there aren’t many female characters I can honestly say I relate to, but Leia is definitely one of the few and for that I cherish her as a character. Carrie Fisher brought Leia to life and I am forever thankful to her for that. She is a wonderful, amazing person and has done a beautiful job with the character of Leia. Without her, Leia would never have been as astonishing as she is.

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Darth Vader may be my favorite Star Wars character, but I don’t relate to him at all. I simply love villains in most stories and find his character to be very rich and full. But when it comes to heroes Leia is definitely at the top of my favorites list. She’s not your typical princess tag-a-long trope, she is the complete opposite. She’s smart, spunky, stubborn and passionate. These are qualities that I personally posses and seeing a famous heroine who shares these qualities was really amazing for me as a child. Leia didn’t let anyone walk over her, she didn’t stay silent, she didn’t simply sit back and let the boys do all the work. Leia made her own choices and had her own reasons for making them. She fought hard with the Rebellion and she never gave up on the cause. She didn’t sit back at HQ behind a big desk giving orders, she got out there and got her hands dirty. These are qualities I can relate to both then and now, making her character a true role model of mine.

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When Leia kills Jabba the Hutt I still want to clap even though I’ve seen it a thousand times. I am still blown away when Leia stands up to Grand Moff Tarkin and Vader without even flinching, having the guts to deliver some serious sass even though her life is on the line. I still tear up when she tells Han Solo she loves him as well as when she saves him from Jabba’s palace. Seeing General Leia Organa for the first time in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens brought tears to my eyes; I was just so filled with pride and adoration for her. While I may be a hardcore Darth Vader fangirl, Leia will always be my hero.

The Star Wars franchise has always amazed me. The fact that this expansive, deep and completely unique series of stories came from one man’s mind is not only impressive but simply marvelous. I may not always love every aspect of the film series, the prequels have their issues and the changes made post-prequels to the original series are sometimes odd, but I have nothing but admiration and love for George Lucas because without him, this beautiful thing wouldn’t exist.

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The Force Awakens was a perfect movie by my standards and I’m so excited to see the direction this new series of films takes. With characters like Rey, Poe, Finn and Kylo Ren, Kylo Ren and Rey being my two favorites from the new cast, I see great things happening in the future. Plus films such as Rogue One, which expand on the series yet don’t take place within the numbered franchise, are being made and that is just fantastic. It’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan; as someone who loves this series deeply I couldn’t be more excited for more Star Wars!

May the Force be with you, friends.

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