Yes, the destruction of Star Wars was intentional. Here's why they did it.

Almost every dude between the ages of 12 and 60 has a story of his first introduction to Star Wars.

My story is pure '90s-American-evangelical-homeschooler nostalgia. I was 11 years old; the oldest of six kids in a strict fundamentalist family with no TV in the house. I could count the number of movies I had seen on one hand, two of which were Buttercream Gang movies (if you know, you know), and I had never even heard of Star Wars. I had just earned a "personal pan pizza" from Pizza Hut's "Book-It" program as a reward for reading 5 books, and our homeschool group had taken a trip to Pizza Hut to enjoy our well-earned spoils.

This was back when Pizza Hut had a jukebox, arcade games, and a dessert bar. Yeah, it was the coolest place ever.

Star Wars had just been rereleased into theaters for its 20th anniversary. With my pizza, I got a commemorative cup that depicted the famous scene of a one-handed Luke Skywalker standing across a bottomless pit from Darth Vader. Little ol' sheltered me, having no idea what I was looking at, got home and showed the cup to my parents. My normally strict, severe father got a little boyish glint in his eye and asked: "Wanna watch Star Wars?"

We rented a TV and VCR for the occasion. My mom rented the trilogy from the library on VHS. The TV came on a big metal cart, which he wheeled into the living room like a substitute teacher with no lesson plan for the day. The next three nights, I got to experience the great modern myth that was the Star Wars Trilogy, and I was blown away. From then on, every squirt gun was a blaster and every long stick found in the woods was a lightsaber.

Twenty-six years, 8 more movies, and I-have-no-clue-how-many streaming shows later, Star Wars is a bland, hollowed-out IP owned by Disney, a company run by a bland bean counter who drones on in corporate-speak (and with less vocal inflection than a Star Wars droid). It's all produced by Kathleen Kennedy, an incompetent feminist activist must have some nasty dirt on someone at LucasFilm that allows her to keep her job against all odds. The loyal fanbase is gone, its movies are losing money, and there are no signs of a course correction. The most recently announced film will be directed by yet another feminist activist.

(I'll go out on a limb here and predict another Disney flop.)

At this point, I have to believe that for key creatives at Disney, the destruction of Star Wars is intentional, purposeful, and done without regard for money. I sometimes hear: "Why do you care so much about a goofy Flash-Gordon knockoff for kids that features space wizards and laser sticks?"

I think the question that should be asked instead is: "Why do they care so much? Why are they willing to lose millions on subverting, vandalizing, and deconstructing a beloved story? What, exactly, are they trying to destroy?

Experiencing Star Wars at that formative age was revolutionary for a kid like me whose entire worldview at the time was formed by a very small sect of conservative fundamentalism. It gave me a glimpse outside the four tiny walls of the legalistic "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle" religion I lived in and gave me a small glimpse of the universality of good, evil, sacrifice, and redemption. It made the Scriptures and the Gospel feel more real to me. They weren't just "literally" true, but were also true in ways you can't measure - ways that speak to our innermost being.

C.S. Lewis had a similar experience before he converted to Christianity. A longtime lover of fairy stories, myths, and legends, he acknowledged the ways the themes in these stories deeply moved him, but he was still trapped within the four tiny walls of atheistic materialism. It was his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, who, over one late-night conversation in the fall of 1931, convinced Lewis that these myths he loved were pointing to something very real - that they were giving him a glimpse outside the prison he was in. The Gospel was the "myth that came true."

Lewis recounted some of the conversation this way:

"We began on metaphor and myth — interrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still, warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining. We all held our breath, the other two appreciating the ecstasy of such a thing almost as you would.

We continued (in my room) on Christianity: a good long satisfying talk in which I learned a lot: then discussed the difference between love and friendship — then finally drifted back to poetry and books."

The discussion went to the writings of 19th-century poet William Morris and Christian apologist George MacDonald. Lewis continues:

"These hauntingly beautiful lands which somehow never satisfy, — this passion to escape from death plus the certainty that life owes all its charm to mortality — these push you on to the real thing because they fill you with desire and yet prove absolutely clearly that in Morris's world that desire cannot be satisfied.

"The [George] MacDonald conception of death — or, to speak more correctly, St Paul's — is really the answer to Morris: but I don't think I should have understood it without going through Morris. He is an unwilling witness to the truth. He shows you just how far you can go without knowing God, and that is far enough to force you . . . to go further."

In the case of Lewis, the universal themes and beauty of myth are what began to convince him there was more to life than what he could touch, taste, and hold. Later in his life, Lewis would write: "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."

Tolkien said as much in his essay "On Fairie Stories." Fairy tales, often derided as "worthless escapism," should not be thought of as an escape from reality, and more as an escape from prison:

"I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home?"

This brings us to George Lucas and the creation of Star Wars. Lucas was very open that his stories were intended to be a recreation of the "monomyth" - a universal story, the bones of which are found in everything from Greek mythology to Arthurian legends to the Gospels. In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers, he said:

"I put the force into the movies in order to awaken a sort of spirituality in young people. More a belief in God than in any particular religious system. The real question is to ask the question. If you haven't enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question: ‘Is there a God, or is there not a God?' For me, that's the worst thing that can happen… I think there is a God, no question."

You can argue all you want about the particulars of Lucas's myth, with its Eastern mysticism-inspired "Force," or (shudder) Midichlorians, but there's no denying the universality of the themes. He followed the structure of the monomyth to a "t". And for sheltered 11-year-old Joel Berry, it helped make the truths of Scripture and the story of Jesus feel more true. This Bible I was forced to read and memorize was pointing to something very real, something built into the fabric of the universe and my soul. I knew I was made for another world. The Bible told the true story that ancient myths point to and that modern myths echo.

So why are Disney's Star Wars writers intent on replacing those timeless mythic themes, the themes that produce real questions and yearning in the soul, with current-day politics, feminist screeds, and nihilistic human drama?

To me, the answer is easy. The enemy of our soul wants us in his prison. Satan wants our attention on the temporal, the sublunar, the flesh - whatever is within the four walls of materialism. He wants to squelch that longing for another world by any means necessary.

That's why I say the destruction of our cherished myths is intentional - perhaps not within the halls of Disney, but at the cosmic scale. It's not just happening to Star Wars, but to Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, and almost every other beloved tale from the storytellers of the Christian West. Our transcendent longings, passions, and imaginations are being dragged back into the realm of vanity and dust. The individual creatives and writers at Disney, Amazon, and elsewhere may not fully realize what they're doing, but Satan does.

A little more than a week after his conversation with JRR Tolkien, C.S. Lewis accepted Jesus Christ as the "true myth." He recounted it this way:

"I know very well when, but not how, the final step was taken.

I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning. When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.

Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought."

Who will write the next great myth, a myth that will produce a longing in the hearts of those who read it? Disney isn't up to the task.

It's up to us.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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