I heard about Star Wars the summer before it came out at the Hugo Convention. I heard it was going to be a cool science fiction movie with space-fights based on actual footage of World War I dogfights. When it came out I was disappointed that it wasn’t actually science fiction. It was instead a morally simplistic fantasy story of good fighting evil set against a background of outer space, although, as promised, it had cool action sequences and production design.
I have since since three more Star Wars movies. The second one was a bit better, the third one was quite a bit worse, and the fourth one was so poor I didn’t watch any more of them. I’ve heard that the later movies provide some moral complexity, explaining how the purely evil character of Darth Vader became evil by embracing expedience over ethics. Since the first three films had an infantile moral compass, dividing the world into pure good and pure evil, there is a lot of room for improvement without reaching interesting.
Grown-up people should consume better fiction than Star Wars. Wallowing in simple revenge fantasies, narcissistic dreams of uniqueness, Manichean notions of a tiny elect of good people fighting darkness, are bad for you if you take them seriously, and hypocrisy if you don’t.
Celebrate Star Wars day by saying goodbye to it and instead reading something good. “The Worm Ouroboros”. The short stories of Hemingway. The Aspern papers. The Wind in the Willows. The Turn of the Screw.