My last two list-type posts–about sacrifice in Star Wars and Order 66–-were definitely on the sad side, so I thought I’d write a post listing the moments in Star Wars that give me joy. Star Wars can hurt sometimes (okay, a lot), but let’s face it, we also love it because it’s fun, hopeful, humorous, or just heart-warming in general.
The big victories of the good guys (Triump of Good over Evil) are certainly joyous–the destruction of the two Death Stars and Starkiller Base, the defeat (twice) of Palpatine, etc. are all excellent examples of this. But I wanted to look deeper and point out the smaller, maybe quieter moments and themes that make me stop and think, yeah, this is why I watch. Again, no books or comics, just movies, shows, and animation to simplify it. There’s actually a lot, so I limited myself to five joyous moments or situations in Star Wars (in no particular order):
The relationship between Din and Grogu (Found family). These two are just a sweet pair. Grogu is initially just a job for Din, but after he delivers the “asset” he changes his mind and goes back to save him. That moment is so satisfying, when he gets on his ship and fingers the little round silver ball the child likes to play with. Nope, he thinks, and goes back with guns blazing. Din knows what it’s like to be an orphan in a dangerous galaxy; he had the Children of the Watch to adopt him and become his found family. He decides he will be the one to look after this child.
Rey/Finn/Poe friendship (Found Family, Friendship). I love that these three are all just good friends; there’s no need for romance between any of them. Sure, there’s plenty of shipping that goes on (Rey and Finn, Rey and Poe, Finn and Poe, etc), and I do have my own opinion on that, but for now they’re all just friends and I like that. All three trilogies had their two men and one woman formula, with a romance thrown in there somewhere. And while I like a good romance, sometimes it’s just not needed.
Anytime Han does something selfless (Being A Better Person). Han worked hard from the very beginning to convince everyone around him (and us) that he was a scoundrel. But we knew better. There’s a heart in there, whether he likes it or not. When he and Chewie come back to help Luke destroy the Death Star, we cheer. We know he’s that kind of guy. When he falls for Leia, when he joins the Rebellion, when he confronts his deeply troubled son to try to connect with him again (and dies for it)–this is why we love him. Even in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when a young Han is desperately trying to build his scoundrelly image, he gives the coaxium to Enfys Nest for her cause. He doesn’t join her, but he gives up a lot of valuable assets, because he knows it’s the right thing to do. We need more scoundrels like him in our lives.
Anytime Ezra (or any Jedi) communes with an animal through the Force (Compassion). The Jedi are a big part of what I love about Star Wars (the Jedi at their best, that is). Their compassion for all life forms, especially animals, just grabs my heart. We see examples of this with several Jedi, but Ezra in particular seems to have an affinity with them. Lothcats, lothwolves, purgill, an assortment of scary beasts–he connects with them with the Force and can communicate with them at a certain level, getting him and his friends out of some sticky situations. Ezra and other Jedi view the animals as living beings in the galaxy who deserve respect and compassion.
Rex and Echo helping their Clone brothers (Family, Loyalty). The Bad Batch has been focusing on the Clones after Order 66 and what their fate will ultimately be. Clone Force 99 themselves have had to reassess what their purpose is, but clones like Rex, and lately Echo, have felt the call to help their brothers in this new, cruel Empire. Many clones come to realize the wrongness of Order 66 and go AWOL, many are facing decommission in the face of the stormtrooper program, and others are being arrested for “insurrection” and brought to Mt. Tantiss for Dr. Hemlock’s nefarious experiments. When Hunter asks Echo what the point of fighting the Empire is when they can’t win, Echo replies, “It’s not about winning. It’s about helping our brothers.” Well said, Echo.
These are more like situations and themes than single moments, but you get the idea. These are the things that warm my heart, give me joy, and keep me invested in Star Wars. Along with a lot of other things, like awesome lightsaber duels, thrilling space battles, aliens, larger-than-life heroes and villains, and everything else that defines Star Wars.
What do you love about Star Wars? What part of it gives you joy? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!