The Story of Star Wars Is Our Story

For those who grew up in the era of Star Wars, the 40th anniversary of the space opera franchise is something to celebrate. Even if you’re a latecomer to the series, enticed by all the hoopla and impressed with the last two Star Wars movies, you can appreciate the 40-year history and the accumulated achievement of nine films, dozens of books, countless games and apps, plus the endless array of licensed merchandise. One estimate puts the value of all Star Wars films and products at $41 billion, or just over a billion dollars for every year Star Wars has been around.

These are staggering numbers, but there’s another even more impressive number: One. Millions of people have experienced Star Wars, either by working on the creative side of production or paying for the consumer products, but the genius of Star Wars comes from just one source. And it isn’t George Lucas. In fact, it isn’t a person, but a story.

Yes, George Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars: A New Hope, the movie that started it all. And he also wrote outlines for nine stories. But the original story was not his idea. It came from a place long ago and far away.
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Jedi Training

My son Caleb graduated from Jedi Training Camp last summer.
This is not a joke.

His padwan name was made up from the first syllable of his first name, and the last syllable of his last name. Spelled Cal – On. Pronounced Khae Lon. Everytime his mom or I tried to say his name he would inevitably correct us, alternately more or less gutteral, depending on how our attempt sounded…“it’s Khhaaae Lon.” We’d try again. “No, no, like this: Khhhaaaaae Lon.” Got it, bud. Moving on.

There was a graduation ceremony. John Williams music in the background, names announced for each young apprentice. They would walk to the front, be saluted by their peers, and one of three “Masters” would present a medal to each, and say, “Congratulations on becoming a Jedi Knight."

We made a light saber. Each padwan recieved a list of supplies to pick up from Home Depot, and we assembled it on our front steps. Then I took some time “shooting” at him with blasters of soccer balls, footballs, and tennis balls. He did the sound effects of his light saber swatting away the assault. As we played, Caleb peppered me with facts:

“Did you know they filmed the Degabah scene in George Lucas’ swimming pool? They did. They poured in swamp water.”
“Did you know Star Wars came out on my birthday in 1977? They did. I wasn't born yet."
“Did you know Stormtroopers are dramatic? They are. And one of them hits his head."

But I already knew. Oh, I know a thing or two about the Star Wars Universe.

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