Today is 40 years to the day that the very first Star Wars movie was shown. (Well it was when I pressed “publish”). That day was Wednesday 25th May 1977. George Lucas himself didn’t think the movie would take on the life that we know it has since that day, but many of us are glad that he came up with it, especially those who have made their careers or simply a quick buck from the movie franchise, its spin-offs and the merchandise.
Before the movie exploded to become a cultural phenomenon, George’s company LucasFilm had been in existence for six years. After that, his company grew employing more people, and in addition to those who worked for that company, there were many who were (and still are) employed by the other companies Lucas went on to create including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
I recently watched part of a documentary on Walt Disney and how he built his Empire (pun intended) with the people, for the people; although there were plenty of workers’ strikes along the way. I think that it’s fitting that Disney went on to purchase LucasFilm to keep the dream of both of these great film-makers alive for many years to come. And with that, there will be countless people employed to write, create, produce, star in, distribute and sell the tickets to Star Wars movies for years to come.
Then there’s the people who make and sell merchandise, the people who dress up as Star Wars characters and get paid to do it for parties, charity events and red carpet premiers of the movies around he world, and the people who have created businesses such as Jedi training schools for kids.
It’s a great industry that makes so many people happy, so many people rich, and so many more lives enriched. And there are so many jobs that you can have in the real world that might not exist today if it wasn’t for Star Wars and related industries that its existence allows the existence of.
But what about within the Star Wars Expanded Universe itself? What are the jobs that people, aliens and droids can have thanks to that galaxy and all the happenings being in existence? And what would your job be? Would the career you have now, the career you love or the career you would love to do exist?
Of course it would. Whilst we think of Jedis, the Resistance, the Empire, the Rebels, the First Order and all the people who are part of those organisations, we often forget that there are every day people doing every day things. From moisture farmers to bar tenders, from people running companies that produce the weapons, spaceships and even clones those aforementioned organisations use, there are plenty of opportunities for employment. In fact, those occupations and the organisations that own the businesses are shown in the movies, cartoons, and Expanded Universe books.
In The Force Awakens there’s the famous scene where Finn tells Han that he worked in sanitation which was a shout out to Kevin Smith and his Clerks movie where the two main characters discuss how the Stormtroopers would have been useless plumbers and builders and that external contractors would have had to have been brought in to build the Death Star.
And there would be countless other jobs that must exist off screen and never discussed in the Expanded Universe books.
I often laugh to myself that the Empire, Rebels, Resistance, and First Order all have logos because, you know, it’s important they advertise via an easily recognisable icon, you know what I mean? And, of course, someone would need to design them. In the real world this job would have fallen across the desk of a graphic artist or a graphic designer who was given a sketch to turn into a presentable product. But, technically in the Star Wars universe, there would have to be people who were contracted to design these logos.
My guess is there would be so many jobs that we don’t see on the big screen when watching Star Wars just like there are so many thankless jobs and unknown occupations that exist here on Earth that people like you and me do every day, or every other day, and they keep the world moving.
So whether you are one of the Bothans who stole the Death Star 2 plans, someone who works in catering are the Resistance’s head quarters, the person sitting at a sewing machine making the clothes for people to wear on Coruscant, or someone who is a contractor doing plumbing on Tatooine today and installing toilets on the Death Star tomorrow (those Empire people might be bad guys, but they deserve to use a clean and working lavatory), or whatever you do in the real world, thank you for the job you do, no matter how menial, tedious, or unrecognised it may be.
Let us all celebrate the 40th anniversary of this movie franchise that has become a big part of our lives and made those hard days at work worth it when you can come how and throw an old favourite in the DVD player and forget about life for a while.
What would you be in the Star Wars universe? Would you still do your job, or would you do something else?