ByJosh Hardie, writer at
Huge fan of BOTH Marvel and DC, and an all round nice guy. Love all things film and TV, the geekier the better! Tweet me: @joshakathor
Josh Hardie

With the release of the final Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, I thought it would be a good reason to use my little celebratory post to share my love for this incredible cinematic universe.

The wonderful thing about Star Wars is the massive fan base that these films have created. There's an expansive and varied mixture of fans from all around the world, and with the coming trilogy an even larger fan base will soon be upon us (finally the youth of today will be taught something productive).

Throughout this little celebration, I'm going to have to try and control myself when it comes to going into too much detail as there is an entire universe of excellent material that could be covered. I've lost many a day talking in depth with other fans so I hate to ramble on for an epic length. I mean, nobody wants to hear me discussing the differences between an Advozse and a Devaronian, am I right?

The year was 1994, I was four years old and my father had just sat me down to watch Star Wars with him for my first time. Afterwards, I remember being so consumed and captivated by what I had just watched that I demanded that we continue watching more until I had seen them all, I was also shocked that I had been on this planet for 4 years at that time and it took me that long to find it.

George Lucas had done an amazing job at crafting this world that was intriguing, captivating, magical and all kinds of wonderful. I knew instantly that I would become a lifelong fan. I also knew I wanted to wield The Force and be Boba Fett -plus I asked for my own wookie every christmas as well, but Santa can be cruel sometimes.

I remember the look of excitement on my Dad's face after the trilogy had ended, the sheer joy of passing on something that he loved to his son was one i'll never forget. I got the pleasure of understanding that feeling when I sat my nephew down to watch all 6, Just watching him pretend to swing a lightsaber and make blaster noises was heart warming. Not to mention hearing your young nephew start humming the Dart Vader theme music, that makes me smile every time. I felt pleased and happy that I could share that with him and pass on my passion, that was until he told me Jar-Jar Binks was the best part of episode one.

I should warn you all that any young family member you educate in the greatness of Star Wars, will inevitably want the merchandise. Their parents may not appreciate that aspect.

The Star Wars universe has been a massively influential part of the lives of millions of people around the world. It's been one of the biggest influence on my writing. The universe that George Lucas has created and the legacy he has made, has been a huge part of why I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to leave my mark on this world crafting something as equally great as the world he has made, not for fame or material gain - but for the sheer joy it would bring to so many people around the world, and will continue to do so for years to come.

The powerful story lines and the emotional levels these stories reach through has always been a powerful driving force behind the success of this world. The writers who pen these stories not only tap into the human emotions and complexity of the inner psyche, but they can also weave an impressive tapestry of a number of different aspects. They encompass perfectly executed action scenes, hit multiple levels of drama and suspense, and find the perfect balance of drama and humour that makes these tales appealing from many different angles.

This franchise doesn't just reach people through a series of films though. They have a huge back catalogue of book, comics, TV series, merchandise and video games, all of which are massively successful in their own right and only build upon the Star Wars universe. All of this has created a rich history and a wealth of characters, creatures, planets and even equipment that's unique to this world. So much, so infact, that they need several encyclopedias just to try and cover half of the incredibly detailed inhabitants of this galaxy far far away.

The video game world has been an extremely exciting way to expand on the history of this world and has provided a rich and detailed look into the start of both the Jedi and the Sith orders. Being able to control a collective of characters and giving players the chance to visit a multitude of planets within different eras of this world has only made my love for this franchise grow. There are a large number of Star Wars games that build upon the franchise the films started and, give us as fans, an even greater look into the history of George Lucas' masterpiece. From the old (incredible) PC games like "Jedi Outcast" and "Jedi Academy" to the up and coming Battlefront game, there's a wealth of material for fans to delve into.

Knights Of The Old Republic and The Force Unleashed were two of my favourite games growing up. I loved being able to take on the role of a Jedi in KOTOR and being able to explore that history. Shaping the outcomes was always a brilliant thing, plus who doesn't love a game that you can play through multiple times with different outcomes (plus making your character a belligerent d**k is hilarious).

The Force Unleashed was - in my opinion - a groundbreaking game. Being able to wield the full power of the force to leap, dash, blast and destroy was nothing short of amazing. How it bridged the gap between the first and second trilogy was inventive and added and even deeper look into the history of these characters, and taking down that star destroyer was just an epic moment. This game even let us in on the start of the rebellion. My one regret though, is that we'll never see the end of Starkiller's journey.

Don't get me wrong though, I loved Battlefront. But I just never had the attention span to fight through it myself. This is the same reason I get easily bored with Battlefront and Call Of Duty, not because they're bad - but more because I'm too easily distracted. But that's when I'd enlist my brother, who is a pro at these types of games and it would allow me to sit back and enjoy all of what I was seeing.

The video game slice of this world isn't the only thing that helps build upon the rich tapestry of our favourite world. They also have a long running TV world in place with The Clone Wars and Rebels. Both of which have a huge fan base and again create an incredible connection to the film series itself, as well as establishing new characters and evolving what has been done before.

I love the creative and new ways the creators of these series establish and grow new elements as well as keep it linked to its original material. As a huge fan ,there's nothing more exciting than seeing a classic face like Darth Vader or Chewbacca turning up in a new series. Even as a 25-year-old I still get extremely excited both watching the shows and playing the games.

The games and TV shows haven't only just helped expand on the world and build up new characters, they've also created an imaginative and fun series with its Lego sector. Not only can you build your favourite Star Wars scenes, vehicles and sets at home - but you can now play as your favourite Lego characters in a fully interactive and destructible world. With their Lego: Star Wars series, they have managed to link a slice of their merchandise to their video game section in a creative and hilarious adventure that's not only fun for kids, but for adults as well.

The merchandise section of this Universe is an unstoppable beast within itself. There's something out there for everyone from high end collectables to affordable toys. I love going to my brother-in-laws house at the moment, because his step-son has just aquired a pair of Lightsabers. What person would ever give up playing with a Lightsaber?

I'm not much of a collector myself these days (other than comic books), but I still appreciate the level of detail that's put into the Star Wars merchandise. As a kid though, everything was Star Wars oriented and I felt extremely smug carrying in my Darth Vader backpack and Yoda lunch box filled with the galaxies meanest action figures. I'd never leave the house without my Boba Fett.

It's the passion and imagination that's been poured into this universe that has captivated my imagination for years. It may sound corny but at every low point growing up - Star Wars was always there. Whenever a bully would try to pick on my I'd find myself trying to choke him with the force or use my Jedi powers to wipe their minds, but sadly it never worked.

I can remember fondly, many times spent playing outside. Running, jumping and just imagining what it would be like to feel the full force of a Jedi Knight, and on occasion a Sith Lord (who hasn't at least once). To this day I still can't pick up a stick without swinging it like a Lightsaber and giving in to my inner child.

Star Wars has always been a massive influence on me and will continue to do so for the future and the release of the new trilogy will only add fuel to this already raging fire.

I will always remain a huge fan of this world George Lucas has created for us all to enjoy, despite the looks of derision from those who don't appreciate to beauty and magic that this world brings to so many people. One of the most wonderful things about being a StarWars fan is the feeling of family you get from other fans. It has spawned a community of people who can all come together and share in their love for this world and enjoy the many different perspectives that each person takes from this series.

The passion that so many people around the world share for this universe is awe inspiring and is a really incredible thing to be a part of. Being part of this community of fans always makes you feel like you have someone out there. Someone who shares your passion and love no matter what your going through personally. It makes fans feel like they're part of something huge and bonds thousands in a shared and common interest. the level of friendships and family bonds that have been created out of this world is a truly fantastic thing to witness.

The StarWars universe will always provide an overwhelming level of passion, creativity and inspiration for it's millions of fans and has birthed some amazing cosplay ideas that are just incredible to see. It's for these multiple reason that I love this creative and ever growing world and I could spend hours writing a massive essay about the hundreds of reason that make these stories appeal to me. I feel honoured to share and be a part of such a fantastic fanbase that continues to grow. I'm so glad that I get to share in this love with millions of other fans that are all equally amazing in their own right. I will always be a huge Star Wars fan and I look forward to where this series is going in the future.

The next few years to come will bring us some truly amazing films from this world. Films that will expand the original series further and films that will explore more of this incredible universe. I, for one, can't wait to see where these films will take us. But no matter what I know they'll be getting my money on the release days regardless of anything different being added in.

What Star Wars Means To Others.

To help get a better understanding of the incredible impact this universe has made, I asked other contributors to share their feelings. I simply asked for them to share what they love about this franchise, so that others can help share their appreciation with you fine readers. I've also done this to really show how much these powerful stories and characters have touched so many others.

Matt Walz

"When I was growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut. Part of that was from my grandpa, but the other part was Star Wars. Seeing people soaring through space and flying to distant planets was everything I ever wanted. Star Wars opened my mind to the incredible, strange genre that is science fiction, and it's been my clear favorite ever since."

Trent Tofte

"Star Wars has meant a lot to me over the years because I can identify with Anakin Skywalker and understand probably better than some other people the emotional aspects of his process of becoming Darth Vader"

Paul Singh

"Star Wars to me is not just a set of films. It's a movement. This series has transcended traditional storytelling and has become a global phenomenon that binds together people of all ages, creeds and class. To this day, I ALWAYS wave my hand when approaching automated doors as if I really was a Jedi. These are movies that I watched over and over as a kid, and will no doubt be movies that I watch over and over when I have kids of my own. In every sense of the word, Star Wars is timeless!"

I'm really looking forward to seeing where the new films are going to take this series. As a fan I'm also extremely excited for the expansion of this world, and the new stories and characters that this is going to bring. But more importantly I'm always going to continue pushing myself harder, and one day when I extend my hand towards an inanimate object, I will be able to harness The Force and move it.

Please sound off in the comments section below and share your love and appreciation with this incredible franchise. In true Star Wars fashion,

"May The Force Be With You."

P.s George Lucas, the teenage Josh Hardie thanks you for this...


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