Eric Zayas & Brooke Thames
Guest Writer, A&C Editor

May 25, 1977, a film premiered that still resonates with audiences 38 years later. “Star Wars” (later changed to “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”) was the first in a franchise of films that led to six movies, spawned a collection of television shows and videos games and created the setting for dozens of books detailing stories from a galaxy far, far away.

“Star Wars” has had its ups and downs over the years.

The original trilogy (“A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi”) is beloved by many, and the prequel trilogy (“The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,“ and “Revenge of the Sith”) has sparked mixed reviews and controversy among fans.

When the prequel trilogy ended, the “Star Wars” franchise seemed complete. That changed when J.J. Abrams took on the job of directing the next installment of the franchise entitled: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The new movie brings an even newer hope to the franchise and has made many members of the Pacific Lutheran University community excited. Sophomore Paul Bufford is hyped about the upcoming movie. In fact, he and his friends actually managed to get tickets to the premiere night of “The Force Awakens.

“I know it’s going to be hectic, but I know it’s going to be worth it because “Star Wars” is just […] it’s an amazing franchise,” Bufford said.

Bufford even mentioned how he had watched some of the “Star Wars” trailers right before speaking with the Mast.

Another PLU student who is pumped for the new movie is sophomore Joel Thomas, a member of the Resident Hall Association (RHA). Thomas said he got “goosebumps” when he saw the Millennium Falcon in the first film teaser. He remembered watching a clip from a Star Wars convention, where the second film teaser was showed to a crowd of “Star Wars” fans.

“They had that other trailer where they showed Chewie and Han at the end of it, and that was insane,” Thomas said. “I remember watching the footage of it […] and just hearing the screams [from the crowd] as soon as they came on the screen was crazy!”

The students of PLU aren’t the only ones who are passionate about “Star Wars.” Professors also love their share of intergalactic action.

Resident Instructor of Communication Art Land saw the original “Star Wars” film when it was first in theaters not once, not twice but twelve times. Whenever young Land had nothing to do, he’d go see “Star Wars” again, and again and again.

“Culturally it’s such a milestone. It changed so much in terms of media – in terms of movie, television and so forth,” Land said.

At a time when the Cold War made the future look uncertain, Land said “Star Wars” (and the entire science fiction genre) represented mankind surviving and thriving.

“It was a positive look at the future and made you feel hopeful about our prospects at a time when that was really important and needed,” Land said.

“Star Wars” represents so much more than just a franchise of sci-fi adventures for many different generations of fans. Lutes both young and old are unified by their personal connections to “Star Wars.” The excitement for the next chapter of the series is palpable.

“Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” premieres Dec. 18.

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