The Star Wars films are arguably the biggest films in movie history, and I have been a fan since the early 80’s. Yesterday I read a post on the Metro.co.uk blog about why the new film is so important to fans. It was a good piece and nice read, but to me, as a fan and blogger, it made me realise something: Star Wars has become part of our a culture.
Now, I don’t have a PhD in Sociology, but the evidence is there. For starters, just look around the web, or even your local retail shops – mall there appears to be more Star Wars themed products than ever before. Books with new adventures based on the original trilogy, cook books, craft books, kids’ books, comics, magazines and even Lego toys all entirely devoted to Star Wars. And then there is the fan art which is all over the internet.
However it doesn’t stop there: TV shows like “FRIENDS” made regular references to the films, and the geeks in “The Big Bang Theory Theory” regularly talked about the films, games, etc. in many episodes, as do the characters of “Two and Half Men” ( from season 9 on). However “How I Met Your Mother” tops it them all, that show is basically one big Star Wars ad! Just to be clear, they all refer to the original trilogy, and not the prequels.
Clearly, Star Wars is saturated in everyday life. Merchandise such as T-shirts, shoes and other items of clothing with the tiniest reference to the films are out there – yes, even your local H&M has them. Where fans can’t find a specific item, they make their own Star Wars goodies, just look on Etsy. People people make the most amazing stuff.
And then there’s the Cosplay. At Eeach Con there are always people who dress up in the various Star Wars characters, and not just those from the movies. With Stars Wars Rebels coming to the small screen this autumn, the first “new” characters have already been spotted at these events - for instance, Sabine Wren. One of the new Star Wars Rebels characters, a female Boba Fett as it were (although, this really does not do her character justice but for those who not into Star Wars that much they might not understand if I start talking about Mandalorians and their clan).
Also at every Con you will there probably find a “Slave Leia” as well as many, many Stormtroopers. The latter have risen from the ranks the of Cosplay and has become known as the 501st Legion. This has gotten a life of its own.
The idea for the 501st Legion was formed when two people started a website way back in 1997 so that they could to show off their Stormtrooper costumes to others. Since then it has grown into a large organisation with over 6,500 members worldwide and their existence has even made it in to Star Wars books. The Legion does all sorts of charity events, and giving back to the community is one of the 501st Legion’s highest priorities.
So you see Star Wars is more than just the films, it has become part of culture. I know this is a strong statement to make, but the fact of the matter is, it is. No other film has reached this status or has been saturated in society as much as Star Wars has.
Stars Wars it keeps on inspiring.
(sources: Wikipedia, Wookiepedia, StarWars.com)