Star Wars means the world to me. I can't quite say why, but when I hear the first notes of music and see the words Star Wars light up the screen, it awakens something inside of me. It's raw emotion I can't explain; but I cry because of how connected I feel to the story, the characters, and their message of hope. You might not understand this, and that's ok. You may think it's silly or crazy. It doesn't bother me, I've gotten those looks before. But when I'm at an event or anywhere really, surrounded by like minded people who see the value in a good story; it makes me feel that anything is possible and gives me hope. What kind of hope can something like Star Wars give? For me, that answer has grown over the years; but it all started with a spark of creative hope.
I fell in love with Star Wars at the age of fourteen when my mom took me to see A New Hope. It was re-released in theaters for it's 20th anniversary, and she thought it would be fun to share her love of Star Wars with me. To say that my mind was blown that day would be an understatement. I LOVED every aspect of the film. From then on I was hooked and couldn't stop thinking about it. I remember that Christmas everything on my list was Star Wars.
The Creativity of Star Wars
My creative hope started when I learned how the movies were made. I received this book that Christmas:
Inside were pages and pages of story boards, models of spaceships, and puppets from all three original movies. That the crew on each film could take random everyday objects and piece them together to make props and sets amazed me. I thought to myself, that's something I could do! I wanted so bad as a teenager to be the person who made a movie like Star Wars. Not just writing the story, but making the scenes, the props, the pyrotechnics, and anything else that would make my story shine. Did that happen? No. Yet, I never lost my creative spark that was ignited by Star Wars. I use it now in my writing, when I practice photography, sewing, and even designing my website. Knowing that something so successful came from things so simple helped me have hope that I could be as creative as I wanted to be.
Is that to deep for a space opera? Probably. If you're reading this and a Star Wars fan, I think you know what I mean. Because the props, costumes, and sets were built from everyday objects, it's easy for us as the fans to look at something in our own home and recreate something from Star Wars. That's the beauty of it right? The imagination can take flight in a world such as Star Wars. There's no set rule of who can be in the universe and who can't. You want a made up crazy alien in your Star Wars universe? Sure! Want Mara Jade to make an appearance? (because I do!) No problem, just add it in. It's okay.
The droids, lightsabers, costumes, ships, and planets of Star Wars have become so iconic that we forget it all started with simple everyday items. From Star Wars to Indiana Jones: The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives gives great insight into how some of our favorite things were made. My absolute favorite is the Millennium Falcon. The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy wasn't always how we know and love it today. Several early version were elongated designs as seen in the picture below:
It wasn't until George Lucas was inspired by a hamburger he had for lunch, that the final round, flat design of the Millennium Falcon began to take shape. Once the basic shape was known, it took many designs to find the one that worked best as a live-action prop and bluescreen model. Many of the iconic bits and pieces both inside and outside the Falcon included parts from Formula-1 race car and motorcycle model kits.
When anyone thinks of Star Wars, I think it's the light-sabers that get the most attention. Who hasn't thought of themselves as a Jedi, waving their light sword around? In the original trilogy, the many different light-sabers were made from old press photography camera flash bars with other random parts attached to it. It's as simple as that! Of course, if you're making one from things in your own home you might not be able to create the light part of the saber (unless you have some really cool tech). Don't worry, they didn't either! In the original trilogy, the glow of the light-saber came from filming the actors holding sitcks wrapped in light-reflective material. Later in the series, it would be created using animation that was laid over the actors prop swords.
Even the famous TIE fighters and X-Wings were made out of everyday materials such as glued on model rocket kits and even the egg shaped containers that women's stockings used to come in (this was the 70's and 80's after all). I'm still amazed at the model makers's ability to take common objects and transform them into the iconic and beloved Star Wars vehicles we know today.
From Star Wars to Indiana Jones is so full of amazing insight into how the props were made that I highly recommend owning a copy. I found it here on Amazon, and also on Ebay. Take time to study the creative side of making the Star Wars universe, you won't be disappointed!
The Creativity of Star Wars Fans
On any given day, you can go to Pinterest and find millions of tutorials, pictures, and articles on how to make any type of Star Wars item you can imagine. We, the Star Wars fans even have a day unofficially (and by that I mean it hasn't been made into a holiday yet) set aside to celebrate all things Star Wars and use our creative ability to shine like the Force.
I have this insane need to always fuel my creative side. Seriously, if I don't do something creative at least once a week my hands start twitching looking for something to make. Luckily we live in a world today where it seems we have endless Star Wars related activities at our finger tips. Way back in the 90's when I officially became a Star Wars fan, I didn't have a lot of creative opportunities like we have today. My favorite thing to do other than posing my action figures and making my own scenes from Star Wars, was playing the PC game Rebellion. The player could either control the Rebellion or Empire in their galactic war. If you've never heard of it, look it up. It was really fun!
Today however, there are so many ways to celebrate Star Wars with our creativity. It's safe to say the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney has helped Star Wars to grow and reach new fans. Yet, I'd say it's the fans themselves, new or old, that keep interest in the movies going. Is it to bold to say that the fans are the reason for growth in availability of creative avenues related to Star Wars? I don't think so. If the demand isn't there, there would be no supply. Right?
You can love or hate the latest Star Wars films, no one is going to agree all the time on how the stories should go. All of us have different opinions on what should happen. Again, I'm just saying Mara Jade would be a great addition! But, one thing I'm so happy about is the emergence of Star Wars crafting.
The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton is so fun and there are a lot of crafts your whole family of Jedi can do together! I've made a few things from this book and my favorite is the Wampa made out of a washcloth. I made one for my son's 5th birthday (Star Wars themed of course) and he loved it! It's so soft and squishy. Kind of like how the real Wampa might be if he wasn't trying to eat everyone.
I'm thinking of trying to make Yoda next so I can have my own baby Yoda to squeeze!
I stumbled upon the book Star Wars Maker Lab at my kid's book-fair. They both love science, and it's loaded with fun activities to get young minds working. Jabba Slime has been a favorite of course, you can build your own droids such as BB-8 and a mouse droid, and even build your own lightsabers!
Star Wars creativity has also moved into the kitchen! There are quite a few out there, such as The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch or you can go old school like me and try The Complete Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies, Darth Malt, and other Galactic Recipes and The Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes. All of these are great for your kiddo who loves to cook with you in the kitchen or an adult who loves Star Wars and cooking!
Last but certainly not least are the apps. Oh the apps! There are so many out there from coding to gaming. My favorite to play around with is The Official Star Wars App. With this app, the whole Star Wars galaxy is at your fingertips, including:
Notifications about movies, new trailers, and breaking Star Wars news.
Fun Augmented Reality with some of your favorite Star Wars characters.
Get Star Wars themed weather from places like Endor and Hoth.
Star Wars Selfies that put you in your favorite scenes from the movies.
Stay up to date on official Star Wars news and blogs from starwars.com
Theme your app with lightside, darkside, or droid interfaces.
And so much more!
Doesn't it look like Kylo Ren is right there??
Star Wars ignited something inside of me all those years ago that has never been extinguished. It continues to fuel my desire to look for hope in the world and use my creative passion in every way possible. I hope it ignites that spark in you too. If you're heading to the movies this week to see Rise of Skywalker remember this: It all started with a story about a farm boy, a scoundrel, a princess, and most of all Hope.