Alex Kane (who is a contributor to StarWars.com and many other publications), experienced that Star Wars is a universal language, a story, that unites us all.
I’ve left my home country, the United States, only one time. I was in Canada for less than 36 hours, earlier this year, to interview the leadership at BioWare, the developer behind the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. That day I spent in Canada consisted of a delicious hotel breakfast buffet, about 10 hours of work at BioWare’s offices, a quiet dinner at an Edmonton pub—and then I was off to bed before my 8 a.m. flight back to the States.
When I wasn’t conducting interviews, I spent the rest of my time at BioWare with a game designer, photographer, and photographer’s assistant.
Can you guess what we talked about? Naturally, we discussed Luke Skywalker’s characterization in The Last Jedi, George Lucas’s worldbuilding in the prequels, and our introduction to the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS as children.
The four of us, strangers before that day, didn’t agree on much about the films, but Star Wars was our icebreaker. It’s an inescapable part of our world’s increasingly global pop culture. And, my, how we love it.
In April, I fulfilled a dream I’ve had since 2002: I attended Star Wars Celebration for the first time. As a correspondent for Lucasfilm’s StarWars.com blog, I covered some of the event’s biggest panels, and got to be there in the room for historic moments like Ian McDiarmid’s unexpected appearance onstage after the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker was unveiled before the entire world. I’ll never forget spotting Jett Lucas in the hotel bar at 2 a.m., or shaking hands with Solo’s Erin Kellyman over breakfast with my editor the next morning.
But all of that pales in comparison to the memories I made in my downtime, mingling with like-minded fans from around the globe.
From deep-dish Chicago pizza with my roommates, to crashing the Reylo meet-up at Millennium Park (I’ve never seen such a joyous expression of fandom in all my life), to standing in a sea of cosplayers at BioWare Austin’s low-key Old Republic party, to having drinks with folks I’ve known for years on Twitter alone—Celebration was truly that.
Along the way, I met a fan from Slovakia who said he’d learned to speak English growing up by playing Star Wars games on his computer.
Here’s a universal language—a story that unites us all—no matter what the angry, impotent noise of the internet trolls would have you believe.
George Lucas himself has said Star Wars is a tale about love; I’ve found that to be true in countless ways, and I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made in a galaxy that’s not, in fact, so very far away.
Alex Kane – Journalist, a contributor to StarWars.com and other publications (for example Polygon, Rolling Stone, Variety, etc.)