What are the connections between information and imagination? How are we able to change minds through fiction based on the reality we see around us on a daily basis?
This is a question many authors must ask themselves. How will I be able to join minds so that people can take seemingly disparate information and make their own imaginative leaps?
The same question was asked of mathematician, wartime code-breaker and pioneer of computer science English hero Alan Turing. He was trying to crack the German Enigma code in WW II by building a machine.
Within a hundred years the worldwide web would be a result.
A movie trailer was released on 28th November 2014 in America, which is today a common enough occurrence.
This one however was different; short, succinct and employing the power of suggestion, it was just 1 minute 30 seconds long.
It contained a simple message ‘May the Force Be With You’. Within the half an hour after I saw it first the post had been seen by over three million people as it was shared on ‘facebook’.
Since then millions and millions of more people around the world have seen it and shared it with their friends. Last time I checked ‘hits’ of those watching had reached 19 million people and counting.
Just the mere power of a suggestion made by a few words and a few bars of music was enough to start this online sharing frenzy.
Now is the time for new hope in the galaxy. Star Wars; the imaginative movie phenomenon of my family’s time is back.
Help arrived in the shape of acclaimed film and television producer, director, writer, actor and composer JJ Abrams.
He is best known for his work in the genres of drama and science fiction combined with action.
We all love to recall the scenes of childhood, and the friends of our youth are always first in our recollection.
For my own three sons Star Wars is a familiar friend, with imagination the vital connection between the past, the present and the future.
Now their memories will be something as adults they can now share with a new generation. Han, Luke and Leia and their helpers Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 are back along with new friends, acquaintances and a man who will turn out to be formidable enemy.
The original characters magical connection and John Williams marvellous music certainly impacted on my children’s childhoods, defining their playtime for years by inspiring their imagination and creativity.
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will be reprising the roles that made them household names.
These original stars will generously, as part of the spirit of our age, be sure to pass the light sabre along stylishly.
Watch the official Trailer… there are a number of fakes around!
Working through his company Bad Robot Productions and with collaborator producer, writer Bryan Burk, JJ Abrams has been given support by the mighty Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm so he can return to everyone’s favourite universe.
Many of the young performers engaged were not even born when the first movie hit the screens, but nevertheless have, more than likely, been raised on its legend.
The casting call for new talent to nurture took place in cities across the United States and in the United Kingdom with over 37,000 hopefuls attending and further 30,000 submitting applications online.
Out of this amazingly only two were cast. A young American actor Crystal Clarke studying in Glasgow and Britain’s Pip Anderson, whose skills can be examined in a recent ad for Sony, starring Anderson as Spiderman
Star Wars (1977) originally won six Academy Awards and is often ranked as one of the best films of all time.
It is considered ‘culturally, historically and aesthetically significant; a copy has been placed in the American Library of Congress, tangible proof of the power of imagination!
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (1966) not only has an excellent reputation for movie making on a grand scale, but also for making an important creative connection with his audience.
It’s part of the formula for continued success that sees him now entering into the realm of the imagination of Star Wars original creator George Lucas so that he can help to re-imagine the franchise’s future.
Abrams contemporary Star Trek movies have been an emotional roller coaster ride for everyone involved, both stars and audience.
They importantly engage and connect on every level with the many and varied challenges faced by the Starship Enterprise’s popular crew.
Star Wars the original movie when it was released in 1977 became the highest grossing film at that time.
With the theme of light against darkness and the age-old struggle of a force for good triumphing over one full of evil is one we are all familiar with.
My eldest was ten years old and his brothers 7 ½ and 5 ½ when we went to see it.
“May the force be with you” became the happy greeting of children around the world. The movie memorabilia, books, action figures and dress up costumes were integral to their childhood.
My eldest son’s next birthday meant we had a Star Wars party, which was detailed right down to all the kids drinking ‘blue milk’ just like Luke Skywalker.
Breaking bread together was always a sacred and personal moment in our household as my sons grew up seeing Luke sitting down with the parents of his youth in the future had a big impact, and eating together regularly established family unity.
It was also about building relationships, learning to talk with each other as a family. The significance attached to the exchange as Luke expresses his frustrations about wanting to leave home and forge his own path beyond his ‘universe’, was an important aspect of the scene.
He didn’t want to stay within parameters set down by the society he lived in, but wanted to experience life to learn from it.
This is a solitary journey we all must take eventually and one parents or guardians should not stop their children from making. Making mistakes is the only way we all keep learning and moving forward.
The struggle of good and evil is taking place all over the world every day on a large and small scale. This is nothing new; good and evil is a phenomenon integral to human society.
As long as humans have roamed this earth it’s been part of our ongoing struggle, both exterior and interior.
It’s also one we all have to deal with as we endeavour to surmount the challenges of their own lives and continue to imagine and help create the future.
With JJ Abrams at the helm, a whole new generation will now begin to understand the ‘power of the force’, one that is all about offering hope of peace and freedom for all.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014 – 2019