I have no issue copping the ‘mega nerd’ mantle that comes with owning just how big of an impact Star Wars continues to have on me. Those not dedicated to the franchise are probably caught in a perpetual eye roll right now, but for those of you who’ve been touched by these epic stories, you’re probably catching what I’m throwing.
Star Wars teaches us that the dynamic of good and bad isn’t as clear-cut as it’s made out to be – that temptation, regardless of what that temptation might be, can take you down a pretty crappy road. Selflessness and everyday heroics are what we should collectively be striving for instead. It reaffirms ideologies that need attention, like the power of women and how they’re equally capable of shifting the fate of the universe – even in an oppressed state. And most importantly of all, Star Wars teaches us how to dream – how to lose ourselves in imagination and picture a better place that we can achieve together, even if it’s only being championed by a minority.
Yes, sappy, I know. But there ain’t a lick of a lie in what I’m saying, people.
Lucasfilm has directly been giving back to the community through its 40+ Y/O Force For Change initiative which actively contributes to charities like Unicef Kid Power and Starlight Children’s Foundation. The positive impact of the franchise, however, goes far beyond this.
Here are but a few examples of people who, because of Star Wars, are making a positive difference to our universe.
SCOTT LOXLEY’S STORMTROOPER WALK FOR CHARITY
Aussie legend Scott Loxley decided to get creative with his approach to fundraising for Monash Children’s Hospital.
He undertook a 15,000KM walk across the Nullarbor, Kimberly, through the NT before heading down the East Coast all while wearing a Stormtrooper costume. Yep, that thing would be hot in the best of conditions – let alone trekking through a desert in 45 degrees (something that led him to lose a third of his body weight).
Throughout the 400+ day journey, Loxley swum with a crocodile, survived a snake bite (thanks to the costume) and even appeared at an AFL game at the MCG before crossing the finishing line.
Thanks to support from global organisations like the Stormtropper-cosplay group the 501st Legion and his family, Loxley raised over $100,000 for the hospital. Legend status = confirmed.
LUKE BOYNTON’S LIGHTSABER ACADEMY
Luke Boynton’s an accredited high school teacher with a background in behavioural and learning support. He’s also obviously a huge Star Wars fan – having created a Sydney-based organisation called The Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy. As you would’ve guessed, its purpose is to train would-be Jedi in the art of wielding a lightsaber.
While open to everyone, the organisation has a focus on inclusivity for people with special needs.
“We teach lightsaber combat and that’s great, but there’s lots of life lessons that we work into the classes while they’re distracted and having fun,” Boyton told ABC. “You start off learning about the lightsaber skills, but as you go on it brings people out of their shells.”
“We live in a culture of destruction; by doing an activity like this it reconnects people,” he said.
“Our credo at the temple is that everyone is equal.”
In addition to organising a fun activity for all members of the community to engage in, The Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy actively raises funds for charities including Gosford Children’s Ward.
THE 501ST LEGION’S FUNDRAISING EFFORTS
The aforementioned 501st Legion packs one hell of a punch when it comes to giving back to worthy causes. At the heart of this global organisation is the idea of ‘bad guys doing good‘, which has prompted them to raise an incredible amount of funding for all sorts of charities.
“In 2016, we saw a 50% increase in direct donations contributed in honour of the Legion. We’re nearing that $1M USD mark,” says their website.
Yep, they raised roughly $889,000 last year.
In addition to scoring this much-needed cash, they’ve got no issues with pulling up their socks and undertaking grunt work themselves. They clocked over 182,000 hours worth of volunteering last year, something they’re looking to eclipse in the future.
If you’re new to the Star Wars universe and are scratching your head wondering how it could prompt people to be everyday heroes, then we strongly encourage you to catch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in cinemas now. You’ll realise what’s what pretty quickly.
You can head HERE for more information about the movie and to grab yourself tickets.