Sometimes a podcast does this. The host has a decent run then gets distracted by life, circumstances, sometimes other hobbies. In this case, I’ve been trying to figure out what this show really needs to be. There are a lot of shows out there: Rebel Force Radio, Full of Sith, Coffee With Kenobi, Fly Casual, The Star Wars Report, Blabba the Hutt, Now, This is Podcasting!, Cloud City Casino, Star Wars 7×7, Fangirls Going Rogue, The Cantina Cast–just to name a lot, and that just scratches the surface! Where’s a guy like me going to fit in with all that noise? So many choices!
When I started The As-Yet Untitled Podcast in 2007, there was only The ForceCast to speak of. I’ve watched the podcasting community grow, and so many more voices now have a great Star Wars show! There is a Star Wars podcast to fit every listening taste–far too many to listen to all of them. Even thought it’s not about competing, I do want my content to be unique or else I get bored. I don’t need to be a news aggregator–there are shows for that. I don’t need to have insider guests and info–there are shows with that. I don’t need to spend 2 hours plus waxing on and on–there are shows that do that. I’m not really a colelctor, either! What I have is my own perspective on the happenings in Star Wars–we are all unique in that regard–but what is my specialty?
I thought that The Star Wars Survival Guide was a a decent title. It was different. It lent itself to the idea of giving the listener just enough to survive. Get in, get out, talk about what’s pertinent, and be the show that doesn’t take up a lot of time. So I tried that, but I’m not that interested in a shotgun news approach. Then I tried the single topic episode approach: Take a thing like Star Wars Rebels (shows for that), The Force Awakens (who isn’t talking about that?) or Battlefront (I’d rather play it than talk about it) and wax on about it. Pick a news article and praise it or fisk it–meh. Bring on a guest and talk about something Pablo Hidalgo had a conversation about–that was a lot close to what I’m looking for, but it’s not just about having another voice. Every show has a guest or a panel.
The ideas started coming when I edited my Twitter profile and the subheading on this page to say, “Surviving life one Star Wars reference at a time.” If you are a Star Wars fan, you may already be aware of how often in life, a line or a concept from Star Wars speaks to any given situation. I once finished a conversation with the mom of my ex-girlfriend with, “I’m sorry I couldn’t do better, but I’ve got my own problems.” True story. I’m not proud of invoking Lando in that moment–ok, I pretty much am–but it happened to be the truth. My wife and I are for real Han and Leia–she’s a princess with a big mouth who’s usually right and I’m a scruffy-looking nerf-herder who’s mouth gets him in trouble! In my faith I’ve led many a Bible study, so I’m used to taking a text and gleaning something from it that is helpful for life.
That is where the epiphany hit me. Now I’m not saying it’s a particularly good epiphany. We’re all probably pretty good about spotting the life lessons Star Wars has to teach us. But who out there is really talking about those at length and in depth? What can Star Wars’ mythology and thematic elements teach us about courage, hope, heroism, friendship, sacrifice and honor? You don’t have to believe in a deity at all to recognize the wisdom in this saying: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” You may be familiar with James Allen’s 1903 essay, As a Man Thinketh, So is He, or maybe Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. Star Wars has good things to teach us that we can think about, so why not explore that? Besides, Uncle George certainly enjoyed that part of his saga.
I don’t want to moralize or proselytize–that’s not what this show is for. This is a safe space for all. I’m not here to use Star Wars as a vehicle for confirmation bias, I just want to talk about the ways in which Star Wars is good. In the coming days, I’m going to feature episodes discussing these thematic elements–breaking down where they occur in all the films, Prequels included. I’m also going to explore each film from the standpoint of what makes them valuable to watch and learn from. Despite their criticism, all the films have good values intrinsic in their stories. You’ll also hear more voices that you don’t often hear from in fandom.
Together we’ll explore how Star Wars can help us survive life.