By MAVERICK LIN
May 11, 2017
“The impact of Star Wars is staggering. Its reach is not limited solely to pop culture or the film industry. It has even been felt in politics, science, and technology. Even religion.”
Film Industry Impact
Star Wars ushered in a wave of movie making. Gone were deep, meaningful movies based on dramatic conflicts and themes- in came action-packed special-effects blockbusters. The stellar success of Star Wars generated a boom in special-effects and state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.
Not to mention the amount of money Star Wars raked in. By box office tickets alone, it brought in more than $7 billion worldwide.
It also helped set up successes like Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Matrix.
Star Wars has made its way into the fabric of American society. Many English-speaking countries have incorporated Star Wars references into its vocabulary. Some popular references include:
- “I am your father.”
- “May the force be with you.”
- “It’s a trap!”
- “Evil Empire”
Not to mention the amount of Star Wars novels, comics, TV shows, video games, documentaries, festivals, toys, music, spin-offs, clothing, theme parks, attractions, and communities that have been linked to Star Wars.
When Ronald Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, which was a defense network of lasers and missiles intended to intercept Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), it was quickly named “Star Wars”. The name resounded further when Reagan referenced the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”.
During a defense debate in the UK Parliament, Member of Parliament Harry Cohen relayed the Star Wars joke:
“May the 4th be with you.”
US President Barack Obama also incorporated several Star Wars tidbits throughout his presidency. At his 2015 press conference, Obama couldn’t wait to watch The Force Awakens and ended it by saying:
“OK, everybody, I’ve gotta get to ‘Star Wars’”
A couple of government elections even involved a candidate running under the pseudonym “Darth Vader”.
The Obamas dancing with a Stormtrooper and R2-D2 at the White House.
Several characters in the Star Wars series have inspired scientific names of organisms:
- Yoda purpurata- an acorn worm from the North Atlantic Ocean
- Han solo- a trilobite species from China
- Wockia chewbacca- a Mexican moth
Weapons and robots from Star Wars are creeping their way into real life. A Hong Kong company recently made an powerful handheld laser that looks eerily like a light saber.
There is also a “Death Star” shaped bug-zapper that uses lasers to gun down mosquitoes.
Believe it or not, Jediism is a real religion based on Star Wars.
In a 2001 UK survey, 390,000 stated their religion as Jedi- making it the fourth largest religion surveyed.
If that was in 2001, the numbers probably have skyrocketed by now.
No other film has had the wide-reaching impact as Star Wars. Some are certainly close, but I think Star Wars still trumps them all.
The lessons, morals, and themes promoted by Star Wars will continue to echo down through the generations. It is not going anywhere, especially since filmmakers are continually releasing new Star Wars movies- recently Rogue One.
Star Wars will always be there to guide us young Jedis.