The Star Wars universe is a beautiful thing. Audiences in 1977 recognized that fact in droves. Audiences in 1999 still recognized that fact – in spite of the obvious flaws in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and its sequels. The franchise has a beauty that reaches far beyond science fiction fandom, and far beyond teeny-bopper crushes on rugged cinematic heroes. Its beauty reaches into every corner of society, uniting the entire spectrum of age, gender, culture and politics – as fans of this fantastical story, borne of the mind of George Lucas.
So, what is this unifying beauty? Firstly, it is a story of hope and optimism – of good people from all walks of life, and from a wide range of different planets, rising up against tyranny and defeating evil. Secondly, it is a story of action and adventure that takes us far beyond the rigid confines of what we ever thought was possible – leading us into a place where great things can be achieved and, when people have the courage of their convictions, galaxies can be saved. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is about family. This is the aspect of the Star Wars saga that really makes it accessible to everybody – because everybody can relate to the Star Wars concept of family, even those that don’t have one.
Families in the Star Wars universe are complicated and fraught with tension. Children are abandoned, to be raised by others in far-flung star-systems, and siblings are separated. Parent and child are destined to be locked into conflict, and history can, on occasion, seem to repeat itself. Then there is found-family – those people that form an unshakeable bond of friendship that ties faster and stronger than any sharing of a gene pool. In spite of all the tragedy and drama, however, the concept of family forms the framework of the Star Wars universe, against which the epic tale of galactic warfare plays out.