The Second Coming of Star Wars

The Second Coming of Star Wars

Thanks to the Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars is in a renaissance, unlike the times of the Prequel Trilogy.

It's no surprise that I'm a big fan of Star Wars. Have been since I was a little kid, the movies inspired me to write and be interested in filmmaking, and there's the annual pilgrimage to the theater to go see the next one (getting there far too early too). This was not always the case though, and just five years ago, we weren't even sure if there would be another Star Wars, let alone a movie a year like the MCU. Since the buildup to the release of The Force Awakens, there has been a massive resurgence in the popularity of the series, not unlike the impact the Original Trilogy had on the public in the 1970s and 1980s. We are in a Star Wars renaissance, and if they keep it up, this could go on for long enough that there will be major generational overlap between this era and the next of the saga.

When the first film, A New Hope was released in 1977, it was an immediate success, becoming the highest grossing movie of the year, was one of the biggest Oscars upsets when it lost Best Picture, and firmly made its place in the popular culture of the next few years. Toys, comics, shirts, even a disco album and a television movie – the infamous Holiday Special – were everywhere following the movie. Even by the time The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen in 1980, the brand had not faded away like so many do. Rather, each sequel brought on more to the series, new worlds and creatures and stories. However, once Return of the Jedi had been on the top of the world, it quickly went back down, and by 1987, Star Wars was barely in the mindset. Children had moved on to other things like G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Transformers, whereas adults had grown tired of the science fiction genre that re-emerged after Star Wars. The excitement returned with the announcement of the prequel trilogy in the 1990s, which promised to show us how Darth Vader became the man in the mask. And then The Phantom Menace came out, and the love of the series became targeted to the Original Trilogy, considering these new films were definitely more focused on the ability to sell toys and show off what digital effects can do (while there were countless models, many of them were given CGI overlays). After Revenge of the Sith in 2005, the brand became more focused on the Clone Wars cartoon series, which became successful in its own right, but never as big as the first three movies were.

In 2012, after the announcement of the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney and the production of a seventh film, slowly, people began to revisit the series. As more news about it came out, trailers and clips and marketing, and the title – The Force Awakens, it was back to being a major phenomenon. Tickets for the movie sold out almost as quickly as they went online. People watched the previous six films just so they could go see this one with their friends. Almost overnight, Star Wars was back to being the most anticipated movie of the year. Even hose “too cool for this” crowds were getting back to the series they grew up with. This is likely due to nerdy/geeky things being considered “cool” now, thanks in part to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the rise of Internet culture (looking at you, Reddit). You don't get weird looks anymore wearing a t-shirt with Chewbacca on it, rather, there's probably somebody else wearing one too. Upon release, The Force Awakens made over two billion dollars in a matter of months. The Star Wars Story movies are just as big, with Rogue One crossing the billion dollar mark and more films being commissioned, including an entire spin-off trilogy. The upcoming The Last Jedi has also already made several million dollars, and that's simply off of pre-release ticket sales.

Of course, maybe it could just be that the current era of Star Wars is just a little jump in popularity, and it will go right back down just as fast. But until then, this is a time where once again, Star Wars rules over the world's culture. Audiences around the world gather together to see the films, and continue to express their fandom via cosplay, collecting, online groups, anything you can imagine. This is the second coming of Star Wars, after the Dark Ages of the prequels – though I'll admit, I do like that trilogy. We are in for years of new movies, and with that, new fans. This is a rare series that continues to produce content that is accessible to all, and every release becomes a major event. Star Wars isn't going anywhere, and even if it does fade, it will return for a new generation.

Cover Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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