May The Fourth 2023: Why Do Students love Star Wars?

Annelise Kofod reporting on why she loves the saga from a Galaxy, far, far away.

The first Star Wars film I have a distinct memory of watching is Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. To this day its still the movie I can quote most word for word and I’ll take on anyone that says the Battle of Mustafar is not one of the best fight scenes in the entire Star Wars universe.

During this year of university some of my friends and I set up a weekly Star Wars night. It started with the release of The Bad Batch series on Disney+ and in the lead up to the third season of Mandalorian we re-watched the movies in order together. Just a night for us to take a break and share our love for movies we grew up with and debate everything Star Wars.

Over the past few years there has been an absolute boom in the popularity of Star Wars in my generation. Why is it that younger audiences keep falling in love with movies that were released before we were even born? Even decades before we were born? How has the franchise managed to be just as popular since its initial debut over 40 years ago?

My first introduction was through the prequels, on the other hand some of my friends have memories of the originals being their first experience. Many fans who were there for the releases of the originals will say my introduction “wasn’t true Star Wars” or that because of this “i’m not a true fan of Star Wars.” I grew up with the prequels, I can’t change that. But it doesn’t take away my, or my friends’ ability to appreciate all of the films, series, books, and comics.

Compared to when the originals were released now fans can communicate more than ever and share their love for everything Star Wars related. Specifically from a prequel standpoint as they have become cult classics among the gen x users on social media. Actors who were once sent death threats over their characters in the prequels have stated they now feel more appreciated than ever for the characters they brought to life.

Most of us were introduced through our parents. A passing of the pop culture torch so to speak. My taste in cinema can be heavily attributed to my parents and whatever classic movie my mom had playing on the TV. The two of them were always more than happy to share their sci-fi love with me including Star Trek, The Matrix, and my all time favorite, Back to the Future. Sci-fi has always been a popular genre so its no surprise generation after generations gets hooked.

The qualities that movie goers fell in love with in 1977 are the same qualities that those my age love about the films. While they may not be the most complex characters ever written, many have engrained themselves in cinematic history. Also who wouldn’t love the idea of owning a lightsaber? Don’t lie to me, you know you want one.

Disney’s expansion of the universe has been great with keeping it alive and telling new stories in the galaxy far far away. While heavily criticised at their first attempts of expanding the universe (enter the sequels), no one can deny they have done well to listen more to the stories the fans want to hear and focusing more on the classic Star Wars feel the originals are so beloved for.

If anything in the present day we have that much more Star Wars media to consume. For so long we were wondering what our favourite characters got up to between films. We got a conclusion to the Clone Wars series (2008-2010 (2020)) giving more background to the lead up of Episode III and the release of Rogue One giving more context leading viewers right to the beginning of Episode IV. We’re slowly filling in the chronological gaps, meeting new characters with every release.

Whether your a prequel defender, a lover of the original trilogy, or a die hard Disney+ original series fan, Star Wars continues to be a huge part of pop culture in many generations. While there may be many reasons my generation is absolutely hooked on the franchise, I am of the personal opinion that it can boil down to a simple cheesy statement: Star Wars continues to be a franchise that transports us to a new world with every release, telling stories of characters we can relate to in simple ways and expands our imagination.

Cover Photo by Michael Marais via Unsplashed