I finally saw The Force Awakens! I waited until my brother came home for Christmas so we could see it as a family. Since so much of the Star Wars universe revolves around family, I think this was the right choice. Thankfully, I successfully avoided spoilers before walking into the theater, so I got to watch wide-eyed and delighted as my 27-year-old self regressed twenty years and became enraptured in the world of my childhood.
If you haven’t seen it yet, STOP READING. SPOILERS AHEAD.
There is so much I could talk about (BB-8 is SO CUTE, Chewbacca is hilarious, it’s so good to see Han and Leia, there is diversity everywhere and it is amazing) but I want to focus on the scene that made me well up with tears. No, it wasn’t [REDACTED BECAUSE THAT’S SUCH A BIG SPOILER].
It was when Rey used the force to summon Luke’s lightsaber and used it to fight against Kylo Ren.
I did not expect to start crying, but seeing a girl using the force, twirling a lightsaber, BEING A JEDI….it gave me all the feels.
I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog how much Star Wars meant to me as a kid. I used to tape-record the dialogue, then write out scripts so I could live in the universe line by line. I accumulated magazines, books, figurines, and knick knacks. I loved and hated the prequels, but saw them multiple times in theaters despite my ambivalence. I admired Leia and Padme, but I fell in love with Luke and Obi Wan. I wanted to be them so badly. They were noble, strong, and calm. They were Jedi.
As I grew up, I realized that as a girl, I didn’t really have a place in the Star Wars fandom. When a friend gifted me figurines for Christmas one year at school, multiple people said, “YOU like Star Wars? But you’re a girl.” Every time I joined a group of boys talking about the Millennium Falcon or force lightning or the music, it was clear that I was a Special Snowflake, an oddity, a girl who was obsessed with a boy’s movie.
This wouldn’t have been a big deal for someone who wasn’t so often paralyzed by crippling self-consciousness. But I cared desperately about fitting in, so I shoved my love of fantasy to the side (until Lord of the Rings brought it back in fuller force than ever).
Today, that all changed. Watching The Force Awakens, and realizing that the title is referring to REY, A GIRL, a girl whose power with the force is awakened….who gets to fight with a lightsaber AND pilot the Millennium Falcon, well. My heart exploded. I cried. My 7-year-old self was redeemed, assured that girls can be Jedi too. More than that, I was overwhelmed by how lucky little girls are today. They can go see the newest Star Wars movie and be starstruck by an awesome girl who fights, runs, fixes, and wins. I am delighted into giggling fits at the idea of little girls asking for lightsabers for Christmas, twirling them around the living room and making whooshing noises, and if anyone says, “Lightsabers aren’t for girls” they can shoot back “Rey had one!”
I loved the movie for so many reasons, but it stole my heart because of one: Girls can be Jedi too.