2016-06-08

Star Wars has long inspired professional artists and amateurs to create their own forms of expression. It is a story that has themes that are as old as humanity itself, and in our excitement over it, we connect. 

Where once spiritual tales connected people and inspired their art, the reimagining of ancient religious concepts has inspired fans to transcend the boundaries of organized religion and connect in the world of the symbolic and metaphorical. They may not even realize that they are doing this, but it is a human need they are satisfying. As they engage in their own storytelling and creative expression, today they are able to use the internet to connect to people all over the world in an instant.

Whether the expression they choose is reviewing an advertisement, creating animation to accompany a song that recaps the story (much as minstrels once did), comedic retellings, mash ups, pop songs, or home video sharing, The Force Awakens within each one of us when we are inspired to interact with the story and other fans, inspiring others as we do so.

The Power of Theme Music

In this video from The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, the Star Wars theme song is sung, but without words. But we can all feel the power of the music to connect to a host of feelings. 

So music connects in ways that words don’t, perhaps directly to our best feelings. Our minds can remember tunes for long periods of time and associate them with specific times in our lives.

John Williams, the composer of the Star Wars theme and score, has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history. Certainly you can hear in your head the themes to Jaws, Superman, Indiana Jones, E.T. and Harry Potter. Try it!

Some of the most moving pieces of instrumental music have been inspired by religious tradition, or the wonders of nature, or of love. Inspiration inspires creativity! 

Words and Music Combined

When we are involved in spiritual devotion, we sing hymns, or chant. Engaging words with the power of music helps us to remember the concepts, the stories and the feelings. That’s why Christmas carols are so popular.

Repetition helps us remember too, and memorized songs work even better.  So in the days before newspapers, minstrels would travel from town to town singing about the latest happenings. Songs with stories help us celebrate a hero’s journey, or a tale that teaches us a moral. 

Songs that make us laugh in the process uplift us even more, and help us connect with others. 

This animated video was uploaded to YouTube within a week of the release of The Force Awakens. And the artist known as Weird Al has created parody songs for each of the previous Star Wars trilogies. “Yoda” in 1985 and “The Saga Begins” in 1999. 

Mash Ups – Creative License

Just like George Lucas was inspired by Joseph Campbell’s book Hero with a Thousand Faces, and then combined those ideas in space, fans like to combine ideas from what inspired them.

This video combines a parody of the song “Let it Go”, from Disney’s Frozen, with footage from the prequel trilogy, and Anakin’s conflict with the Dark Side of the Force. The new chorus is “Let it flow” and the bridge goes like this” My power passes through the air to close the door…my deadly light saber will help your body meet the floor. My super reflexes reflect your laser blast. I’m never going back, the Jedi are the past!”

Also check out the Han Solo parody of Adele’s hit “Hello” with footage from the original trilogy and the trailer for The Force Awakens. 

Original Songs Built on Borrowed Ideas

We can apply inspiration to our own lives in creating our art, like these artists did. In 1996 Jamiroquai wrote the uplifting song, “Use the Force”. 

“I must believe…I can do anything…I can heal anyone… I am the wind…I am the sea…I am the sun…I can be anyone. I can step beyond all of my boundaries, It won't be hard for me to feel what there must be…I know I'm gonna get myself together. Use the force!”

In 1997, the band Blink 182 wrote a song called “A New Hope” about Princess Leia as the idealized woman of the singer’s dreams.

And in 2000, the band known as The Presidents of the United States of America wrote a song called “Death Star” about something so seemingly indestructible having a teeny weeny vulnerability.  It brings to mind the image of the Yin Yang from Taoism – that in the darkness there is a point of light.

Sharing with the Next Generation

This video shows children today reacting to the moment when Darth Vader told Luke he was his father.  They are as shocked as any viewer to learn that a hero can come from such darkness, and that we choose to follow the light. In the stories and in the way we share our love for them, we see that history repeats. We remember that as humans, we all need stories to inspire, and as creative beings ourselves, we find ways to incorporate that inspiration into our lives, our art, our décor, and our play.  Everything is cyclical – and as always, inspiration inspires.

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