The Last Jedi, and my life through the Star Wars movies (spoiler alert)
But I have changed.
So have the actors on the screen.
They were once so vibrant and young, full of promise. Now they’re old, wrinkled and dying off - Luke (Mark Hamill) on screen and Leia (Carrie Fisher) in real life. I did’t watch the latest installment of the series feeling young and energized. I wondered: has my life stayed in the same place, treading the same waters as the movies?
I was 11 in 1977 when the first Star Wars movie came out. We didn’t go to movies much, but the buzz about Star Wars had become so loud that even we conservative church goers in central Pennsylvania had to check it out. I remember it like it was yesterday. We all piled into our orange Dodge van, (even my 83-year-old grandmother,) and drove to the Camphill Theaters to watch it. It sticks in my mind for two main reasons: I now had my first crush - on Carrie Fisher (one that would only increase with Return of the Jedi) and my grandmother so wonderfully informed us on the way home that Darth Vader was clearly the metaphor for the Devil.
The rest of the movies have marked various chapters in my life: 1980 (The Empire Strikes Back) I had just started high school, 1983 (Return of the Jedi, I paid five times watch it at the theater) I was a junior and a camper at Interlochen Music Camp, 1999 (The Phantom Menace) I now was married with two kids, 2002 (Attack of the Drones) I was running my own business in music production, 2005 (Revenge of the Sith) I had switched to working at a church; 2015 (The Force Awakens) I was now a Professor of Music Production and Business at NCU, and now in 2017 (The Last Jedi) we are empty nesters and loving it.
So, has my life not changed like the Star Wars movies? I don’t feel as old as Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker look. They seem to be at the end of their lives and I feel like I’m at a new beginning of mine. Am I delusional? As I look back on my life, every chapter has been better than the previous one. I’ve always tried to outgrow problems and opportunities. Why haven’t the movies done the same?
I almost wish the series would end here with all the questions at the ending of the Last Jedi. Questions are so much more interesting than answers. Wondering what might happen to the rag tag group of resistance fighters is much more interesting than watching them win in the happy ending I’m sure we’ll get in 2019. As Empire Strikes back was the best of the first trilogy, I’m pretty sure the Last Jedi will be the best of this last trilogy. That’s one of the major things I’ve learned in life. Questions trump answers any day. Don’t strive to find the answer; try and understand the question.
I don’t hold out hope that Disney will share my sentiment on this.
May the Force be with you.
Rob Barrett, Jr.