Star Wars Life Lessons Part 1: Anyone Can be a Hero

by Mike Monroe on June 20, 2017

in FILM

Post image for Star Wars Life Lessons Part 1: Anyone Can be a Hero

This is the first in a series of articles in which I’m going to be discussing some of my favorite scenes from a series of films that has had a major influence on my life: The Original Star Wars Trilogy.

Star Wars Life Lessons Part 1: Anyone Can be a Hero

Anyone can be a hero, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will be a hero.  Now, not taking into account midi chlorians (yuck) and family history, when we first meet Luke Skywalker, he’s a nobody, an orphaned farm boy living with his aunt and uncle, the usual schtick when it comes to epic fantasy.  The difference is, for me at least, this was the very first version of this origin story that I had been introduced to as a young boy.  I’m sure it’s the same for millions of others.  When you’re a young boy and you see a young man with no real qualifications, other than some piloting skills, take on an enemy the size and scope of the Empire and win, it has a lasting effect on you.

Luke wasn’t alone.  There was Obi Wan Kenobi, the venerable jedi master played by the best actor giving the best performance ever in a Star Wars movie, the esteemed Sir Alec Guinness.  There was Princess Leia, the badass princess who from the start is obviously a big player in the story’s politics, and as we find out later, a rebel leader.  There’s Chewbacca, the super strong hairy space monster we all love.  There’s See-Threepio  (Like how I did that?  That’s how they write it in the script.), the know-it-all android who knows a gazillion languages and always seems to have the answers for everything and always seems to provide them at precisely the wrong times.  And there’s Artoo Deetoo, the trash-talking trash can that rolls around with numerous gadgets, saving the day on several occasions.

hansolo

I left someone out.  That’s because, if this were a superhero movie like the Justice League, all of the characters mentioned above have super powers of some sort.  Even Luke Skywalker ends up with super powers, though in the first movie, which is the one I’m talking about here, he was just some nobody farm boy.  So there are the super-powered super heroes, and then there’s Batman, the guy who somehow manages to maneuver his way through a world of super heroes and super villains without the help of super powers.  But he did have billions of dollars.  This next guy, who happens to be my favorite Star Wars character ever, didn’t even have billions of dollars.  As a matter of fact, he was in debt to the extent that he had bounty hunters scouring the galaxy trying to capture or kill him for it.  He had a crappy ship that didn’t even move half the time, a blaster, and balls the size of Uranus.  He was also a little sketchy, being a smuggler that only cared about himself and money (at least on the surface).  He’s by far, for me at least, the most relatable character in the movies.  Luke is to some extent, but if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us are probably more like Han Solo than anyone else in the Star Wars universe.  The morally ambiguous everyman who gets dragged into situations way over his head and then somehow manages to make the best of it.  Luke blew up the Death Star, but could he have done it without Han distracting Darth Vader?  Luke would have been toast.  And could the rebels have blown up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi without Han’s courageous quest to blow up the shield generator?  I think not.  And then there’s Starkiller Base, but although I loved the Force Awakens, I’m talking about the Original Trilogy here.  And it turns out that though he’s decidedly morally ambiguous, when it really matters, Han chooses the right path.  He ultimately choses good over evil, which is what this story is really about when it comes down to it, choosing good over evil.

So in Star Wars (which we now call A New Hope in retrospect, in order to better differentiate), we have Luke the farm boy, Han the morally ambiguous everyman, and a bunch of superheroes.  Now Leia’s awesome and she was the first badass female character I was introduced to as a kid, and she’s a good role model for girls of all ages to look up to, but I’m not focusing on her in this article because she was already a big player when she showed up and here I want to focus on the little guys.  The two characters who have the biggest impact in the first movie are the two least likely ones, the nobody and the everyman (and Artoo Detoo, of course.  He always likes to roll in and destroy my well-thought out points.  That’s just the type of droid he is.)  In the climax, Luke, with a huge assist from Han, is able to blow up the Death Star, saving numerous worlds and billions of lives in the process.

lukeskywalker

As a young boy watching this movie for the first time, I felt like I could do amazing things, too.  I could be Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.  If it weren’t for the hope and confidence I got from this youthful realization, I may not have made it through some of the rougher points in my life.  Even now, when I have challenges, like trying to figure out how to write a computer program to solve a particularly messy problem, or when I set out to write the next Great American Novel,  I just tell myself “Well, Luke and Han blew up the Death Star, so why not?”  And then, when I really need a boost, I throw Star Wars into the DVD player and lose myself in two and half hours of childhood fantasy.  And let’s not forget John Williams’ amazing score.  If I can’t watch the movie or the scene, I just listen to the music, which for me has the same emotional impact.  It allows me to return to my childhood.  We all need to do that sometimes when the burdens of the world weigh us down, and for me, Star Wars is one of my most tried and true go-to self-motivators.  It beats a motivational book any day, at least for me.  Motivational books don’t have space ships and light sabers and explosions and Darth Vader.

So to illustrate what I’ve talked about here, for your viewing pleasure, you can watch this scene for the 1,138th time, which is the ultimate scene of nobody and everyman conquering insurmountable odds to save the galaxy:

And just because he’s awesome, here’s David Bowie:

Next article:
Star Wars Life Lessons Part 2: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Mike Monroe

Michael Monroe was born in Baltimore, MD and has lived there most of his life. He’s a poet and fiction writer whose preferred genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, and he’s always had a thing for Allen Ginsberg and the Beats. His poetry has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, nthposition, the Lyric, Scribble, the Loch Raven Review, Foliate Oak, Primalzine, and various other publications.

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