Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the Fourth Be With You: Our Favorite Heroes from the Star Wars Universe

Today is May 4th, so naturally, here at The Fangirl Initiative we're celebrating Star Wars Day! You know because... May the Fourth Be With You. Get it? In honor of this "American epic space opera franchise" and "worldwide pop culture phenomenon" (Wikipedia told me so), we want to discuss the heroes that make up the Star Wars Universe. From Luke Skywalker to Yoda and everybody in between, Star Wars has a lot of noteworthy heroes. Here are our favorites.

Anna Catherine| Rey

Rey is one of my favorite heroes from the Star Wars universe.

Even though she has to work very hard to live, she is compassionate and kind just like a true hero should be.

She knows she is strong enough to do things on her own and isn't afraid to tell others so.

She tries to protect her friends even when it's incredibly tough.

(Also, one should always wear a super cool helmet while eating.)

Anna Gensimore| Leia

Despite it's missteps (ahem, metal bikini), the original Star Wars trilogy did a pretty good job of giving girls a role model. Yes, Leia is not perfect by any means. But people aren't perfect. In Episode IV, Leia does indeed need rescued, but she orchestrated it in the first place. After being sprung from her cell, she immediately demands a weapon and has a plan for her and her rescuers to escape. Beyond any of this, she is supposed to be 19 years old at this point and is already a figurehead of the rebellion. Her adoptive parents' position on Alderaan undoubtedly opened some doors in her political career; Leia seemingly did the rest by herself.

Leia's relationship with Han always made much more sense than any sort she could have had with Luke (even before the whole sibling thing). I think part of the reason that I embraced that idea so heavily was because the part of me that related to Leia found Han so much more attractive than Luke. I remember being so worried that Leia would choose Luke and leave Han to fly the galaxy with his lovable co-pilot (ironic, I know). But seeing how she and he evolved and came to catharsis in The Force Awakens felt organic for me. I saw issues in marriages of people that I know quite well in my own life reflected in them. Admitting that they were both wrong was wonderful to see. Yet, seeing how Leia handled everything struck me; as she said, she kept on doing the only thing she knew how to do: she kept fighting. Even though it wasn't on the battlefield, her behind-the-scenes diplomacy and strategy are more than just as important. She embraced her strengths and did so with dignity. I hope we can all aspire to do that when facing adversity.

Galahad Strange| Obi-Wan Kenobi

If you’ve seen any of the Star Wars movies—okay, with the exception of The Force Awakens—you know the name Obi-Wan Kenobi. The  apprentice and student of legendary Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, Master to both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke Skywalker.

Obi-Wan is without a doubt one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars universe, but I believe he is also one of the most underrated. I think people tend to write him off—either consciously or sub-consciously—in favour of characters that are generally considered cooler, like Darth Vader, Han Solo. Luke Skywalker, and even his rival Darth Maul. Obi-Wan is my favourite Star Wars character because of his kind heart, his selflessness, his morals, and his humour.  Yeah, we tend to forget that, don’t we?  Obi-Wan has—not the most—but some of the most humourous lines in Star Wars.

He’s not perfect—one of his flaws is a rather common human failing: pride and hubris. An argument could be made that that failing played a major part in Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. But at the end of the day, it’s his better traits that win out. That’s also something that tends to get overlooked: Obi-Wan devoted himself to the common good. As a Jedi, he forwent a life of his own to fight for peace, order and justice in the galaxy. And after the Jedi fell, he ensured their survival by watching over Luke Skywalker for the rest of his years. Who among us can claim to be that noble and unselfish? Show of hands?

Fearless and gifted warrior. Bastion of the Jedi Order. Wise and compassionate beyond compare.

Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Jaime Heller| Chewbacca
(Spoilers for The Force Awakens, but seriously, you haven't seen it yet?!)

I bet you thought I was going to talk about how much I love Han Solo. Well, you're wrong. Instead, I'm going to talk about how much I love Han Solo's best friend, co-pilot, and fellow hero. Chewbacca. I've always loved Chewbacca, whether it was his fuzzy stature or his incomprehensible growls. (I would still like to know how Han, Rey, or whoever else can actually understand what he's saying. Amazing. When it comes to Chewbacca's language, I am Finn: "You can understand that thing?") However, I feel that sometimes Chewbacca gets pushed to the background. All the great heroes of Star Wars are Han, Luke, Rey, Leia, etc. All the great heroes are... human.

This is my new favorite thing.

Maybe it's because he's a Wookie, or maybe it's because he's a giant fuzzball that has the ability to strangle you, but sometimes Chewbacca gets neglected. He's just there to co-pilot and be the brawn of the operation. It's not like any of that is important. (Seriously, give the Wookie a medal!) But did you know the Chewbacca has blue eyes? Did you know he has a family, which he was reunited with after the Battle of Endor and the end of the Galactic Empire? (Seriously, that's a long time to not see your family.) Did you know that he's fought in a lot of wars and seen a lot of terrible things, yet we don't hear him crying or whining?

"I wake up in the morning feeling like Chewbacca..."

I like Chewbacca because he's different. He's smart, he has skill flying ships, and he can fight. (He also has great hair.) But he also is a good friend--to Han, to Luke, to Leia, and now to Rey. When Han was frozen in carbonite, Chewie knew what he had to do: protect Leia and find a way to save Han. With Han gone, Chewie's mission is the same: protect Leia, Rey, and whoever else, and find a way to save Ben. I think we forget (myself included) sometimes how invested Chewie is in other people's lives. Sure, he can get angry and want to rip off people's arms and legs. He might seem emotionless because we can't understand him. But he still is a part of the Skywalker-Solo-Whoever family. He's loyal, he's brave, and he's a hero. He deserves a medal. He deserves the stars.

These buffoons!

Oh, and he deserves to win. So let the Wookie win.

Sky Destrian| Finn

Though I'm a hardcore fan of everyone in the new trio in The Force Awakens, today I want to talk about everyone's favorite Stormtrooper, FN-2187, aka Finn.

I find Finn's character arc incredibly inspiring. As someone who was taken from his family and molded into a different person--someone meant to unquestioningly follow orders--Finn shows a lot of resiliency, bravery, and courage when he breaks away from that mold. As much as The Force Awakens hearkens back to the original trilogy, it is also a new story of self-discovery and realizing who you are meant to become. No one embodies this more than Finn, who finally knows who he is by the end of the movie. Finn's story is one of breaking free and overcoming the odds (which reminds me of another roguish hero determined to also ignore the odds).

I can't wait to see where his story goes from here (please become a Jedi, please become a Jedi...).


Who is your favorite hero of the Star Wars universe?


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