From the Dark Side; A Star Wars Overview

As with everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock, I’ve grown up hearing Star Wars references and seeing bits and pieces literally for all my life. Lightsaber battles at recess, parodies and references in cartoons, the infamous anti-sand monologue cementing itself in my mind far before I knew of its origins; without ever seeing the movies, I grasped the general plot better than the Bible. For a lot of my life, I was indifferent to it, then later growing a disdain for the franchise due to how it dominated pop culture for a while, and my own personal (family related) reasons.

Then one of my friends got really into it and I decided to give it a chance, if only to understand what she was talking about, since she would go on and on about them; I’m incurably nosy, and wanted to know what the big deal was (especially with Anakin, her favorite).

I had seen the A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and about half of Return of the Jedi in my freshman year of high school, but the most I remember of them are that the ewoks were cute and Princess Leia was cool; nothing original. I had also seen the first in the sequel series, but remember literally nothing from it aside “that was indeed a Star Wars movie”. 

So, to begin; the original trilogy. My previous stances of “ewoks cute” and “Princess Leia cool” stand firm, if not firmer. I am also one of Yoda’s biggest fans, especially since I was already a previous fan of Frank Oz, his puppeteer, who helped create the Muppets. I’ve also grown attached to Luke due to his heroic spirit but also touch of sass (the Chanel boots meme loops through my mind about once a week).

Now, as for from a movie standpoint, they are about as good as everyone says; ever-enduring, and quite enjoyable, albeit with some questionable moments here and there (the infamous Leia Luke kiss and subsequent decision to make them siblings). There are also a few assorted plot holes, but nothing too bad, considering that it was highly unlikely Lucas could ever conceive that the movies would become what they have today. The art direction is also amazing, costuming and sets and puppeteering all only adding to the unique world the universe takes place in.

Now, for the prequels.

Despite having been a Star Wars hater, if anything, even I knew how controversial the prequels were (and possibly still could be). However, from my perspective, they’re quite good, and an impressive feat of development both from one trilogy to the next and a worldbuilding perspective. The writing is compelling and engaging, even if a bit rushed at times from my perspective (Anakin went from anti-Sith to Darth Vader without the suit very quickly if you ask me). The costuming is undoubtedly gorgeous, and the expansion on the different planets and cultures is nice to see. It being a doomed narrative also adds another layer to it, as no matter what Anakin does, we all know how his story ends.

Also, as an aside, upon seeing him, I have no idea why Jar Jar Binks received such overwhelming hatred. Before seeing the prequels, I legitimately thought he helped build the Death Star or something along those lines, with how badly I saw him hated; but no, he’s a rather average side character; aiding (and hindering) the main characters as the plot demands, and having his own schtick (his well-known manner of speaking), but nothing too stand-out, especially in a way that would make him be hated as he was. In fact, during my viewing I rather enjoyed him.

Now, as for the sequels, as previously mentioned, I had seen the first sequel and remembered nothing of it. And I have no desire to remedy that; in layman’s terms, I am not watching them, and do not plan to. However, hearing from both fans of Star Wars and animation overall how good and well-written the animated The Clone Wars series is, and how it features Ashoka, a long-standing exception of my previous ire towards the franchise, I am tempted to go check it out.

Star Wars is something that’ll just never go away in the cultural sphere. There’s always something that can be done with it, always something new to be expanded on in some way, or a new way to depict something. An impressive feat, and one that must at the very least be respective for its endurance throughout the ages. No doubt it has had its highs and lows, highs specifically in the visual artistic elements, and if nothing else it’ll be interesting to see what they do next. The latest installment, the long awaited (and overdue) series dedicated to an adult Ashoka, is evidence  of this.

Ashoka released August 22nd on Disney+ with new episodes each Tuesday until October 3rd.

Mia Berrios

Mia Berrios is an undergraduate at Rowan University, and majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She's interested in many different parts of pop culture from video games to movies, as well as in writing and editing.