Under the Influence

In the second to last Star Wars Insider (issue #136), there was an article where artist Carlos D’Anda says, “I think it’s safe to say that most of us working in comics, games, or movies were majorly influenced by the Star Wars universe.”  Carlos is the penciller currently working on the upcoming comic book series just labeled “Star Wars.”  It is scheduled to be published January 2013 by Dark Horse Comics and takes place between ANH and ESB.  I don’t remember much of the article, other than they were trying to make it a fresh take on Star Wars, and also how hard it is to draw such familiar characters.

It was the quote that stood out to me, though.  If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve been influenced by Star Wars and it does not only apply to people in the industries he was referring to.   It applies to all of us fans, whether you only watch the movies occasionally, or if you go to conventions in a full costume.  I don’t think how much you are “into” Star Wars effects how much you’ve been influenced.  Being influenced by something goes down right to the core of who you are and touches something there that changes your whole life.  You can go to every Star Wars Celebration and dress each day in a different costume, but if your thoughts and soul aren’t touched by it, then I wouldn’t say you are necessarily influenced.

How have I been influenced by my favorite movie?  I mentioned in another  blog entry that when I was younger, I kept a “Jedi Journal” and tracked my days on whether or not I was living like a Jedi should.  That, in turn, led to me being a somewhat (I hope) nicer and more genuine person.  This is, and probably always will be, the main way Star Wars influenced me.

There are always stories running through my head.  Millions and millions of different stories, but generally there is one major story arc that I play out and try to find a tangible plot to it.  It’s part of my obsessive need to feel like I am not part of this world; that there is something grander and larger I could be a part of.  I’ve done this since I was little and even as I get older, I still escape into this world that exists in my head.  Star Wars changed those worlds.  It never occurred to me that human beings could be friends with aliens.  That we all could live in a friendly world, drink at the bar with them, and have them as our co-pilots.  Previously, I had always thought of aliens as our enemies; not realizing that it’s the actions that make someone good or bad, not what they look like.  My stories involved all kinds of aliens as my sidekicks and my adventures expanded to so many different planets with different means of transportation.

Lastly, I believe I’ve become a more open person to different people.  This is slightly different from my Jedi Journal because this happened later in life.  As I began to attend more conventions, meet more fans, and expand my knowledge on Star Wars, I realized that what someone might see as dumb or stupid could speak to another person.  We are all connected by this love of a movie, and that is a powerful cord.  I can now see what someone might love, and say “I don’t understand your love for it at all, but I respect your obsession.”  I’ve been there and I know it hurts when others judge you.  So I try to keep an open mind on what makes people tick and what grabs their interest.  I had a friend tell me that I had the most eclectic group of friends out of anyone she knows.  I was really flattered and take it as a big compliment that I can reach across social boundaries that people have created in their minds to differentiate us all.  These social boundaries can often be torn down with acceptance and a little less judgment.  Just because someone looks or dresses a certain way, doesn’t mean they like the things you pigeonhole them into.

When I now read back on how I have been influenced by Star Wars in the core of myself, I see threads of similarities in all.  Perhaps my Jedi Journal created a nicer person, who realized that it doesn’t matter what aliens look like, which eventually translated into the real world and saw that you shouldn’t judge based on what someone likes.

So when people say to me “It’s only a movie,” I know that, no, it’s not only a movie.  It’s much more.

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