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Karla's Kolumn: Finished it is -- Lessons learned from the Star Wars Saga

It is here, Episode IX of the Star Wars Saga. First there was just “Star Wars: The New Hope” aka Episode IV in 1978, and now 41 years later it is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Episode IX, completing George Lucas’ original vision for “Star Wars.”

I have come to the realization as Episode IX approached that I am not as big of a Star Wars fan as I thought. I love all nine episodes, some more than others. I have or will have in my DVD collection, all nine episodes.

But, I have not read the books, I have not watched the cartoons or the animated movie “The Clone Wars” and I am not streaming on Disney Plus the Mandelorians. Am I disappointed? No. Do I feel like I’m missing out on something? No.

I love the original Star Wars Saga and episodes 4-6, the originals, are still my all-time favorite. I’m Ok with it ending (although you know it won’t, more than likely). I was 9 years old when Episode IV came out and I remember waiting for V and then for VI, especially (spoiler alert) to find if it was confirmed that Darth Vader was Luke’s father and how Han Solo would get thawed out. (You really need to give “Star Wars” a try.)

I was perfectly happy after Episode VI. I knew Lucas’ vision called for three prequel movies and three after but I was OK if it didn’t happen. But 16 years after Return of the Jedi (VI) came Episode I, The Phantom Menace in 1999 and it has been a whirlwind ever since all leading up to this past weekend with the premiere of Episode IX.

While the movies have been entertaining and at times controversial, they have provided life lessons.

Now, if I haven’t lost all you non Star Wars fans yet, here are the life lessons I have gleaned from the nine episodes.

Episode I – Life is about choices. One of the controversies surrounding the Star Wars Saga is from the religious people who don’t like the movies about “The Force.” But really the movies are about the age old battle of good versus evil, no matter what context you want to wrap it in.

And ultimately we all have a choice to choose good or choose evil. It is the oldest choice since the beginning of time when God gave Adam and Eve a choice.

Episode II — Circumstances can lead us to making the wrong choice but ultimately it is our choice. Anakin chose the dark side of the force, Luke chose to resist the dark side. Kylo Ren “was lured” and ultimately chose to be led to the dark side.

Rey resisted the many calls to the dark side but chose the ways of the Jedi instead.

Episode III — Whatever choice we make we have to live with the consequences. Anakin chose the dark side, in part thinking it would give him the power to save his wife, Padme, but it ultimately killed her. Ben Solo chose to become Kylo Ren and join the dark side, losing his family. His choice eventually led to him killing his own father Han Solo.

Episode IV — While we have to live with the choices we make, sometimes we get a do-over or a second chance. Luke saw the conflict within his father Anakin aka Darth Vader and Vader was able to choose the way of the Jedi again and ultimately save his son Luke.

Episode V — We choose how we will react when tragedy strikes. We can wallow in self pity for years, like Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker. We can blame ourselves for the choices others have made like they did, or we can realize that it was their choice and move on and fight on like Princess Leia/General Organa did.

Episode VI — When making choices and decisions in our life, know who your real friends are and surround yourself with friends and family who want the best for you, who are not just trying to use you or manipulate you.

Episode VII — If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. It can be easy to let ourselves be lured by promises that are too good to be true (like the power over life, which doesn’t exist). Anakin was consumed by never wanting to feel the pain he felt with the loss of his mother. He was also consumed with idea of power and wanted the power to take or give life. (Again you really need to watch the movies.)

Episode VIII — This one actually came to me as I watched “The Rise of Skywalker” this past weekend. Don’t be afraid of being who you are.

Spoiler alert. General Leia Organa gave this advice to Rey and it came to serve her well in this final episode. May it serve you well.

Episode IX – Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and beings. There was Jar-Jar Binks, Wookies, Ewoks and the robots C3PO, BB-8 and my favorite R2-D2, just to name a few.

You see a hero is a person or thing who has courage and courage is moving forward in the face of fear.

And finally, as we wrap up the Christmas season and head into a new year with a presidential election and continued fighting in Congress, and a divided country, I leave you with the words Rose said to Finn in “The Last Jedi.” Finn was going to sacrifice himself for the rebellion (that’s simplified but rather than reveal a whole storyline I encourage you to watch the movies).

He asks her, “Why did you stop me?”

She said, “I saved you. That’s how we win, not fighting what we hate but saving what we love.”

May the force be with you in 2020.

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