As the years tick away, I'm finding myself in a situation where my fandom for the Star Wars universe is growing stronger. A franchise which has captured the imagination of young people for generations has tightened its grip on mine into my mid-30s.
Star Wars was always a big part of my life. I have fond memories of standing on my parent's bed, watching a well-worn VHS tape of Return of the Jedi over and over with my light-up sword in hand. I was convinced, if only in my world of make-believe, that the Force was real.
Many hours were spent, arm extended, staring at inanimate objects in hopes that my mind would eventually unlock the secret to moving them.
In my early 20s, I spent countless hours in fan chatrooms and forums discussing the practical application of the Jedi code in the real world. No doubt, if I had to put a religion down on a census form, the answer would be Jedi.
I'm now a father in his 30s. While my imagination has waned in its influence over my reality, my appreciation for what Star Wars means to society as a whole has only grown.
Don't get me wrong; I am no fanatic. Look for my upcoming list of reasons I love Star Trek shortly.
Here are five reasons I love Star Wars.
One of the coolest aspects of Star Wars comes from the contrast in the temperament of the Jedi and the Sith. One example of this is the combat scene between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Darth Maul.
In one part of the sequence, a force field separates Qui-Gon and Maul. Darth Maul paces furiously, eyes fixed on Qui-Gon.
Meanwhile, Jinn sits and meditates. His expression completely relaxed and eyes closed.
This type of contrast permeates the Star Wars universe. This contrast, however, is not between good and evil. Not at all.
It's actually a struggle between balance and imbalance.
The Jedi strive to bring balance to the force while the Sith crave power. As such, the Jedi are never explicitly good. Rather, their goal is to bring balance and peace.
Likewise, the Sith are not doing evil deeds for the sake of being evil. They're simply giving in to their impulses and doing what they feel is necessary for them to gain power.
One very telling example of this comes from Emperor Palpitine shortly after Anakin becomes Darth Vader. He says, "Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy... and we shall have peace."
For some recommended reading on the subject, check out the Screen Rant article listing 15 reasons why the Jedi are bad guys.
The Jedi council fills an interesting role in the Star Wars universe. The Jedi are peacekeepers, protectors of the peace and balance of the force. By all accounts, it's a religious order that plays a role in the government of the Republic.
The Jedi play a significant role in the Galactic Republic. They're a branch of the military in times of war and a religious order at times of peace. Jedi consider themselves keepers of the peace, but they often take on the roles of generals and military leaders.
Jedi can opt to take on roles consistent with what we consider police. Jedi quell riots, negotiate peace between factions, and act as representatives of the Galactic Republic when called upon.
The heavy politics discussions in the prequels turned off a lot of fans, but I found them intriguing. No, the dialogue wasn't perfect, but the story of how the free democratic republic became an empire is fascinating.
Who hasn't wanted magical powers? Jedi have them in spades!
Want that TV remote that is just out of reach? Simply concentrate on it and it'll float into your hand.
Want to leap from tall buildings and land safely? The Force will make it so.
Just about everything about the Force is cool. The light side and hard side, the intense training and will required to master it, and the various powers the force grants to its users.
What I'm not particularly fond of is the midi-chlorians. The prequels gave us the idea that tiny invisible creatures are responsible for all the cool powers that Jedi have. It would have been a little cooler if this particular point was left out of the canon.
But hey, nothing is perfect.
These aren't just glowing swords. They're plasma blades powered by living crystals called kyber crystals. Jedi, Sith, and other force-sensitive beings would construct their own lightsaber as part of their training.
What's really cool about them is how different they are from standard swords. For one, wielding a lightsaber is not like wielding a sword at all. You're directing an energy stream. That stream has the shape of a sword's blade (adjustable on most lightsabers), but contact with it on any physical surface results in burning, cutting, or melting.
Lightsabers can be wielded by non-sensitive individuals, but the abilities of the user are greatly enhanced by the force. It's a very dangerous weapon, as the slightest contact with the blade will cut and cauterize flesh in an instant.
Lightsaber colors, lore, and combat is super exciting to me. For example, the red glow of a Sith's lightsaber comes from a process called bleeding the kyber crystal.
This process is important. The crystals themselves are living, and they are partial to the light side of the force. So, if a dark side user wants to use them in their lightsaber, they would have to use the dark side to dominate them. This process causes them to "bleed" and as such the blade glows red rather than blue, green, purple, yellow, etc.
Kylo Ren's lightsaber has a more chaotic blade. This is because the crystal in it is cracked.
At the heart of Star Wars is science fiction. The mystical force and lightsabers are great on their own, but the technology draws me in, too.
Ships that zip across the galaxy in hyper speed, blasters that project laser bolts, holograms, and other technical marvels make Star Wars a compelling franchise for any tech lover.
One of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe is the droids. These little robots come in all shapes and sizes. They perform a vast array of tasks from interpreting to combat, and are created with a personality and self-awareness that goes a step beyond anything we have in our world today.
R2-D2 looks like a trash can on wheels, but this little droid can do a lot more. It can repair a ship under fire, fly across rugged terrain, hack into terminals, and add snarky banter to any conversation.
Star Wars is many things. It's a science fiction adventure, a space opera, and more. Above all, it serves as a glimpse into another galaxy far, far away.