A newbie’s guide to Star Wars

Illustration by Zoë Collier

Illustration by Zoë Collier

In a galaxy far, far away, with aliens from a thousand worlds, a bunch of robots and guys in robes fire lasers at each other. There’s romance, rebellion, and a big furry guy. There are explosions, showdowns between good and evil, and the ubiquitous but never fully explained “Force.” THIS. IS. STAR WARS!

More or less.

So the most I’ve ever seen of the Star Wars saga is the trailers for the first six movies. Using what little Star Wars knowledge I already had and what I saw in the trailers, I thought I’d offer my version of the story. As I run through the films, I’ll refer to them by release order — none of this Episode I, III, or XXIX crap.

The first film is a boy-meets-girl-meets-universe kind of thing, from what I can see. You got your up-and-coming young kid who wants to be a Jedi (some kind of knight? Or possibly a fungus?), you’ve got your stormtrooper henchmen, and you’ve got your big, bad Darth Vader. Then there’s lightsabers, explosions, etc. Pretty typical sci-fi action sort of thing.

Then in the second film, we’re told that Luke Skywalker and Han Solo destroyed the Death Star. I’m not sure what the Death Star is, but that sounds bad, so I’m glad they got rid of it. Then you’ve got more stormtroopers running around, more lasers, more Chewbacca gurgles. Same ol’, same ol’.

The third film’s trailer FINALLY gave me something more than a character introduction and a montage of laser battles: Luke asks if Darth Vader is his father. The big bad guy is the main character’s father?! Shock and awe! I think I would have made a Chewbacca gurgle if I had heard that for the first time in theatres.

Now, in the fourth film, we suddenly have a new cast of characters. This is the prequel trilogy, showing Anakin Skywalker’s descent into evil and his transformation into Darth Vader. You got a cute little boy who you know will kill thousands of people one day, and Samuel L. Jackson is there to support him. How wholesome and sweet to see a little child pilot a spacecraft when I don’t even have my learner’s license.

In the fifth film, Anakin is now a young man whose big head seems to be getting the better of him. The old, clearly evil chancellor supports Anakin’s evilness, while his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi thinks he’s being an ass. All this occurs amidst some sort of civil war between our heroes and some bad guys.

The sixth film is where shit gets real for evil Anakin. The Jedi no longer trust Anakin, and they shun him from their little council. Anakin wears hoods to signify his angst and evilness. The Jedi try to take down the chancellor, who is surprisingly badass, and there are more laser battles. It ends with Darth Vader’s asthmatic breathing, and the saga comes full circle.

So basically, Star Wars is about lasers and spaceships and good and evil. As a newly-minted Star Wars expert, I would wholeheartedly recommend the saga to any sci-fi fan. Maybe then someone could tell me what actually happens in the films . . .

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