The anticipation for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is unprecedented. With ticket pre-sales setting new records, it is poised to unseat Avatar as the most profitable movie ever, barring bad reviews and/or word of mouth. A well-orchestrated marketing push has only amplified the hopes of fangirls and boys, many hoping to have the prequels wiped from their memories.
The Star Wars universe provides a rich tapestry with many parallels to our own. The spiritual themes present throughout the films aren’t a direct analogue to any one faith but speak in very real ways to many (even as a number of these adherents may be the Star Wars equivalent of Christmas and Easter believers).
The following post was written upon the release of the second trailer for the film last Spring, which in itself became a cultural moment. It contains several points which, many trailers later, still stand true for the upcoming film (and the church too). You’ll also find links to a couple other Star Wars themed posts just below. Enjoy, may the Force be with you, and remember, Han shot first!
The internet nearly exploded last week with the release of the second teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading this and watch it immediately). People certainly welcomed the first trailer when it was released in November of last year, but there was a substantive difference in the excitement this one generated.
With the new Star Wars film, director J.J. Abrams, is navigating a difficult path. He has a new story to tell in a universe that already includes 6 films, an abundance of other media products, and a strong, opinionated fan base. To be successful, he needs to reach a new generation of people without alienating those who have already fallen in love.
George Lucas, Star Wars creator, proved how difficult this task was when he released the first prequel, The Phantom Menace, in 1999. He then reinforced the point with the next two films. Technical achievements they were, but strong in the force, they were not.
Many church leaders are also called to walk Abrams’ difficult path, to reach new people without alienating those who already call the church home. In attempting to describe his success thus far, The New York Post generated a list of the 5 things they felt this trailer got right. As my inner sci-fi nerd compelled me to read that list, my inner church nerd forced me (pun intended) to write this adaptation using the 5 things they named.
Continue reading ➞ 5 Things the Church could Learn from Star Wars – Updated Edition!