Star Wars Then and Now


In case you missed it, there were many notable events in 1977. It was a year that in retrospect tossed life, science, and SciFi into a jumbled, heaping pile of strange convergences and contradictions:

  • An international nuclear disarmament pact was signed by more than a dozen major countries, including the usually hostile United States and USSR.
  • The long-in-development neutron bomb became available for purchase. According to the Washington Post, “it was the first weapon specifically intended to kill humans with radiation.”

The so-called “arms race” was not quite over.

  • The aptly-named space shuttle, Enterprise, made its first test atmospheric glides from a piggy-back ride on a 747.
  • Real space crafts Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched by NASA. Their lifespans were designed for 5-year missions to look at Jupiter and Saturn. Thirty-eight years later, one is in interstellar space with the other soon to follow, and both continue to return information. It is expected they will continue to do so for another ten years.

Humankind can build sturdy, work-horse spacecraft. We have since learned that landing equipment (the Mars Rover) is a little more difficult.

  • Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Zachary Quinto were born. It was impossible to predict that each would become a major geek franchise star.
  • Elvis Presley, tragically but predictably, died.

Decades after Star Wars began, Hollywood remains both predictable and inexplicable.

  • Star Wars was released despite studio reluctance but with modest ambition by a young filmmaker with a visionary gift – George Lucas.
  • Rocky won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture.

A fleet of Star Destroyers was heading straight for Hollywood’s ivory towers plus a stunned sub-segment of the world’s population who just didn’t “get it”.

Like the passionate followers of ancient myths, a worldwide community of believers was brought together at the altar of Star Wars for a multitude of reasons. Certainly the vastness of the new galaxy opened our minds to creativity and innovation. But I think there is one scientific connection that has, to date, been ignored by academia and society as a whole. (More on that in an upcoming discussion.)


In this year of unexpected resurgence, Star Wars fans are looking eagerly forward to the December 18th release of The Force Awakens. Despite the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney coinciding with the retirement of George Lucas, the news that more Star Wars movies would be made stunned our community. Of course, we adapted quickly and embraced the prospects of new stories in that galaxy far, far away. A new chapter in our thirty-eight-year-old journey is beginning.

As someone who has been an adult fan since John Williams’ original score heralded a new world for the geek-inclined, I bring an original fan’s perspective to our favorite franchise and I am fine with being in the same age group as actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. No matter how young we are, the excitement feels the same as we countdown to the ultimate #FANGIRLFLAIL – and possibly the best holiday gift, EVER.

A long time ago, very close to home… Star Wars freed Mary’s imagination and planted her feet firmly on the fangirl path. Since then, her geek passions have expanded to include The Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Steampunk culture. A contributor to FANgirlblog from its inception, she encourages and supports its pro-female mandates and also hopes to raise the profile of “experienced” fans that are now clearly outnumbered by younglings.

You can contact Mary via email: or find her on Twitter: @StellarArtisan

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