The Force Awakens
The original Star Wars trilogy is easily the dominant mythological text of the latter 20th century. The archetypes and outlines of superheroes will stand the test of time, but A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi‘s Joseph Campbell-fueled sci-fi narrative could survive intact until the campfires of the post-apocalypse. For me, it’s a story that has always existed. Luke Skywalker and co.’s journey in cinema ended the year before I was born. The promise of Star Wars beyond Jedi was good on paper, but for all my enthusiasm, I underestimated how dream-like the prospect of a new film still was. Even after over two years of scavenging the Star Wars rumor mill, I was unprepared – and I wasn’t alone.
Not a single Star Wars fan I spoke with could deny tears at the sight of Han Solo and Chewbacca. Whether they caught the reveal of the second Force Awakens teaser in person or online; as soon as that charming, silver-haired smuggler grinned, we awoke from a child-like “what if” to an overwhelming reality. Together, an arena of 9,000 people teared up at the joy of Han Solo walking back into their lives.
“Chewie, we’re home.”
The line couldn’t be more on the nose, but the effect is just as potent on every re-watch. I recognize the sensation immediately: dreams where dead friends are miraculously alive again. It’s a beautiful shock. After all this time, after over a decade of prequel griping, a few seconds of Han Solo on screen completely disarms me.
It’s one step further for Nerdy Show‘s resident holocron, Matt Spill. “In ’99, Chewbacca died in Vector Prime (an Expanded Universe novel) and I processed his death like a normal human being processes the death of a loved one. His roar at the end of that teaser – I absolutely teared up. He committed a heroic act and gave his life, but now he’s suddenly alive… he’s home.”
On State of the Empire, we try to keep things objective. Our fan love is carefully armored with journalistic scrutiny and playful cynicism. Leave it to Disney to deftly cut though all that. All it took was some flashy sequences and the return of some old friends to break us down.