After 40 Years, Why Does the Star Wars Franchise Still Dominate Culture?

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted December 17, 2019

Fans of the 42-year-old Star Wars movie franchise will spend plenty of money—and nearly 2.5 hours in their seats—to view its latest installment, The Rise of Skywalker, when it debuts this week.

The new film could bring in more than $200 million on opening day alone, according to Forbes magazine. Given that the first four Star Wars films released since Disney bought series producer Lucasfilm in 2012 have raked in almost $5 billion at the box office, it seems highly likely that this new addition will pile up a lot of cash for its producers and shareholders.

Enduring Popularity

The films’ enduring popularity comes from many things, it seems. One is a set of characters, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo—and not to mention the aliens Yoda and Chewbacca—who grab audience attention and affection. 

The growth and development of these characters over the years, as well as the depth added to the backstory of what happened “in a galaxy far, far away,” is another crucial element. Many have also noted that the films’ themes, described as “universal and timeless,” as a strong factor. It is amazing to note that the entertainment value of the franchise has been sustained for longer than many of today’s moviegoers have been alive.

And it’s not just the big screen that has succumbed to Star Wars mania. Over the years, several television specials and even an animated series have been produced; online streaming service Disney+, which debuted in November, is currently airing The Mandalorian, a spinoff that includes what the Los Angeles Times calls a “so-called Baby Yoda,” a character that is captivating meme-loving fans. 

Apparently, the sky’s the limit for the beloved franchise. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said the new film is the beginning of big changes: “It’s a really important transition for ‘Star Wars’ ... Now is the time to start thinking about how to segue into something new and different.” While naysayers have severe doubts about the future of Star Wars, Kennedy remains optimistic about its “endless possibilities.”

The Real “Cosmic Conflict”

But the truth is that Star Wars is not an eternal phenomenon reaching the realm of immortal glory. There is only one story that has the ability to do that—and it is reality, not fiction.

This story of good and evil is much more epic, famous, and important than Star Wars will ever be. It is the great controversy between Christ and Satan, and it has been raging since before this world was even created: “And there was war in heaven: …. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Revelation 12:7, 9). 

In fact, it is the most important war of all time—because it has to do with you and the fate of every soul who has ever lived on this earth. This saga has seen battle after battle across the pages of history, battles of treachery and betrayal, like humanity’s fall in the Garden of Eden, to one of ultimate victory, Jesus’ death on the cross, and continuing up to Jesus’ second coming.

Star Wars may have its themes of good versus evil, its Jedi Knights and Galactic Empire, its hero’s journey and salvation tropes, but don’t be fooled. It lacks one vastly important element—God. At its heart is a supposed savior, a young orphan of unknown origins who exhibits a keen ability to manipulate a supernatural force, aptly named “The Force,” in order to defeat the powers of darkness. Sound familiar?

Sure, it may seem like a parallel of Christ and Satan—but make no mistake. Luke Skywalker is no Jesus Christ. He is a human being who communes with dead spirits and whose real father is the iconic villain Darth Vader, who redemptively sacrifices his own life for his son.

That’s quite a switch from our Savior Jesus Christ, who, raised by an adoptive father and a human mother, gave His own life for our sins, whose heavenly Father “cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). Neither is God some impersonal divine power to be bent to human will, like “The Force” is; but God the Son came down to earth to fulfill the will of God the Father. 

Perhaps Star Wars’ loyal fanbase has endured the test of time because its fans are in search of something greater—infinitely greater. Pastor Doug Batchelor says, “The origin of evil is a profound, universal theme that so many seek to understand. That first struggle in the universe, which occurred long before our time, continues to raise questions for us today.” 

He goes on to add, “God has implanted within you this question of ‘why?’ He wants you to know that things aren’t supposed to be this way. God’s original plan for humanity was ‘very good.’ Something has gone horribly wrong. By asking why, you are searching for a promised paradise that we have yet to experience.”

Can we find the answer to this question? Our free documentary, available online, explains that we can. Cosmic Conflict traces the story of this great war, its heavenly origins, and the way we can regain the paradise that was lost. You’ll also be able to download, free, a copy of the companion book, which offers deeper insights into your questions.

A film might entertain you for a couple of hours, but this documentary could change your life forever!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.
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