The Force, the Fandom, and the Five Year Old
on raising a young jedi through a fandom plagued by the dark side
I. What’s in There? Only What You Take With You.
This is the last thing you need from me.
I know, not a particularly strong start to a letter or an essay or whatever this is, but I firmly believe the world would be better off with less words spilled about the space-opera Disney-owned pop-culture juggernaut that is Star Wars coming from men like myself. Especially after these last couple of weeks, when fresh blood has been drawn over continued disagreements about Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, like so much snow-covered red salt.
Still, in this moment and throughout this past year, Star Wars has been very important to you. It’s possible that by the time you read this (should you ever read it), Star Wars will be a mere blip, no longer visible in the rearview mirror of your entertainment memories. Since it’s important to you now, it’s also important to me, but you know as much as I do that it’s always been important to me, whether I like to admit it or not. It’s defined my life and supported my imagination in ways I never expected. Later this week, you will watch The Rise of Skywalker in the movie theater, your first Star Wars theatrical experience. The movie is the supposed finale of the “Skywalker saga,” a saga which has already ended twice before, but because this is your first Star Wars at the movies, I’m having strong alpha and omega feelings about this visit to the pictures, this entire franchise, and about the fandom as a whole.
As you know, the first movie I remember seeing in the movie theater was a Star Wars film. It wasn’t '“Star Wars” or “Episode IV” or “A New Hope” or whatever clunky collection of titles it’s gained since its original release. My first Star Wars movie was The Empire Strikes Back. I didn’t see it when it was initially released, as I would have only been two, but the whole family caught a re-release a year later. I have a very fuzzy memory of it, but I do recall being mesmerized by the visuals, captivated by the characters, and absolutely thrilled the entire time, mixed with the occasional bout of confusion.
It’s not that I couldn’t follow the story. I had seen bits and pieces of the preceding installment on television. Star Wars wasn’t played on TV that often, and it was a big deal when it did. I watched fragments of it during Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s house because they’d sprung for a paid TV channel, a luxury my family could not afford. I also knew much of the story from books your grandmother would buy me when I was in the hospital for migraines or ear infections, which happened frequently in the first couple of years of my life. I followed Empire’s story without many issues. My confusion stemmed from my childhood inability to grasp a fairly simple metaphor.
You know the scene in Empire because we talk about it often. Luke is training to be a Jedi with Yoda on the swamp planet Degobah, and he senses what feels like “cold, death,” in a cave.
“What’s in there?” he asks Yoda.
“Only what you take with you,” Yoda answers solemnly. Luke then straps his weapon-covered utility belt around his waist. Yoda tells him he won’t need his weapons. Luke straps them on anyway and heads inside.
The cave is dark and eerie. Light seems to crease completely into shadows. There’s a familiar breathing noise. Darth Vader is somehow there, in the cave, with Luke. Time seems to slow down. Luke takes out his weapon and ignites it. Vader follows suit. They briefly duel with their lightsabers, but Luke strikes first and soon lands a critical blow, decapitating Vader. Vader’s awful black death-mask rolls face-up into frame and then the mask explodes. And underneath? Luke’s face, one of his eyes still smoldering.
I didn’t understand the threat this metaphorical warning was telling me when I was young. In fact, I didn’t even realize the face was supposed to be Luke’s. My confusion cemented a few scenes later, when Vader was visibly strolling around on the bridge of his Star Destroyer.
“I thought they killed him,” I whispered to my father, your Pop-Pop.
“They built a new one,” my dad whispered back.
I still laugh thinking about that answer. I can’t say how I processed it at the time, but that scene in the cave has stayed with me, because I feel like it’s a very obvious and underscoring summation of all things Star Wars.
It’s far too-easy of a philosophy to go through life sensing fear and reminding yourself that most fear and darkness comes from within yourself, but it is still a lesson, and it’s a lesson I wish more Star Wars fans would heed. Perhaps you can’t be “wrong” as a fan, there’s just different aspects to fandom you’re drawn to, but Star Wars fandom is complicated because while the central material at the heart of the fandom seems like a goofy, zippy, sci-fi romp with a stoic concentration on the balance of good and evil, the message of the movies, the shows, the books, the trilogies, all of it, is a bit of a contradiction.
I’ll ask you sometimes what Star Wars is about. You’ll answer differently, but none of your answers are wrong; “space,” or “the light side battling the dark side,” or “helping people, standing up for them, fighting for them, fighting for what’s right.”
When I think of these movies, I think of them in the following three ways:
The first was written and designed to be an allegory about the Vietnam war. It’s no secret that George Lucas and John Milius dreamed of filming a version of Apocalypse Now as 60s film brat students in Vietnam as the war raged around them. Despite his OK Boomer heart, Lucas surely infused a lot of his 60s anti-war rhetoric into his science-fiction epic. The Empire is the US at the height of our containment policy. The Death Star is the atom bomb. The rebels are everyone pushing against the growing, crushing militaristic force of globalized capitalism.
Despite this anti-empirical, anti-militaristic stance, the movies in the first trilogy sell the “fun” and “adventure” of war. The central character longs to run away and join the fight. He eventually does, befriends a wizard general, a pirate, a dog-person, some robots, saves a badass princess, and blows up the big super-weapon in the end. The pirate doesn’t want to fight, he’s just in it for himself, but in the end he comes around and risks his life all for the glory of war. And for his friends, whom he secretly does actually care about.
Finally, Star Wars is a science-fiction saga focused on war, even selling war as fun escapism, but at the center of that militaristic mayhem is a pacifist heart.
In the final movie of the original trilogy, Luke “defeats” Lord Vader, now officially outed as his father, Anakin. In the midst of that defeat, he cuts off Vader’s hand. Luke reflects on his own lost hand, cut off by Vader during the climax of Empire, now replaced with a robotic supplement. Surely Luke must be thinking back to that cave on Degobah, to the direction he could be headed in as his father’s replacement.
And so, the climax to three movies filled with epic laser sword battles, spaced-out fighter planes blasting enemy ships with illuminated streaks of blaster rays, and giant elephant-tanks battling teddy bears, ends with the hero giving up. He throws away his weapon and refuses to fight.
This selfless act of peace inspires the “good” that still lives within Anakin to fight back and destroy the Emperor, who corrupted him decades ago. Not a redemption, but a stab in the direction towards one. Vader’s reaction is not peace, but a just violence given all that the terrible things the Emperor has wrought. And then, shortly after this scene, Vader sits dying, gasping for breath. Luke cradles him. It’s still, nearly silent. And we immediately cut to an exciting space battle scene, where the good guys are seconds away from blowing up the gigantic space station Luke and Vader are currently sitting in.
What does all this mean? If Luke is the protagonist, surely we’re supposed to weigh his decision not to fight heavily as the ultimate takeaway. But for a trilogy of movies celebrating warfare to end with a plea not to fight, only to have that immediately cut back to more fighting? When is it time to fight, and when is it time to surrender?
This is why I believe Star Wars is so beloved and why its fandom is wrought with such intense friction and strife. It’s a space opera ink blot of a Rorschach test. Want to believe it’s about peace? There’s Luke tossing away his weapon at the climax of the original trilogy. Want to focus on the spiffy war, the spectacle of the huge super-weapons, the giant ships, the cool brutality of it all? It’s not real, anyway. It’s just blasters and clones and faceless bad guys who can’t aim. Well, dive in, because we’ve got you covered too.
So what does any individual fan ultimately get out of it? Only what they take with them.
II. You're Going to Find that Many of the Truths we Cling to Depend Greatly on our Own Point of View
I didn’t expect much from the new Disney-owned Star Wars trilogy before they were released, although I won’t lie that the advertisements for The Force Awakens gave me a nostalgic thrill. They looked good. The characters looked like they were emoting, the performances looked earnest. This doesn’t sound like much, writing it out, but believe me when I tell you that it mattered a lot to me at the time. As a young kid who had his imagination kick-started by Star Wars and was subsequently stuck in a Star Wars-free limbo for years after Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, I craved for more on a regular basis. I had to make-do with the Ewok TV movies, which, believe me, didn’t measure up. As the pre-internet fandom at the time faded away, I’d read rumors of another movie and dream what they would be like, never expecting to see them. The prequels happened and that’s about the best thing I can say about them. By the time Revenge of the Sith was released, I felt finished with Star Wars, the entire saga had become something of a Monkey Paw scenario for me; be careful what you wish for. You enjoy the prequels far more than I do, which only makes sense, as you’re five years old, but even you prefer the other movies to the prequels (although your repeated requests to re-watch Attack of the Clones leaves me a bit suspicious about your claim that it’s your second-least-favorite Star Wars movie).
I watched The Force Awakens with a handful of adult friends and a whole bunch of low expectations. You were just under a year old. I had a lot of problems with the movie, mostly how similar it was to the original trilogy, how it lacked much originality. That said, I liked the new characters, and that made a huge difference. I especially liked Rey, and while the movie telegraphs her importance and connection to the Force throughout the entire runtime, I won’t deny that the big moment near the climax, when Rey force-grabs a discarded lightsaber to duel the evil grandson of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, worked on me on an emotional level. As the John Williams Force theme swelled in the theater, I found myself surprisingly moved. In fact, my eyes brimmed with tears. I imagined you watching this moment like I watched Luke Skywalker as a boy. I imagined you dreaming of what was possible in the recesses of your imagination through the power of this moment. You deserve that. And not just you, every girl, every person. There should be a Rey for everyone, because here I was, a middle aged cis man, and even I realized the importance this could have on you.
This level of representation shouldn’t be that big of a deal. But the fact that it is such a big deal underlines how much work we have to do, because a far bigger deal would be if it weren’t a big deal. If it was just “the way things were.”
For Christmas, inspired by the reaction I had to the movie, and realizing that there existed the potential for you and I to share some kind of bond across a galaxy far, far away, I impulse purchased your first Star Wars toy, a Rey Funko Pop bobble-head, which sat on top of your bookshelf for a long time. You played with it and twisted Funko-Rey’s head around until it faced her back. That was fine. I never imagined you’d one day love Star Wars to the extent that you do now. Some days I feel like you’ve always loved Star Wars. But it’s only been less than a year.
Four years now after the release of The Force Awakens, we’re facing the end of this trilogy, and you are now a Star Wars fan. For your fifth birthday last February, you asked to watch Star Wars (or Episode IV - I still have a hard time calling it A New Hope, although that is what you know it as). I happily obliged with your request, thinking you’d lose interest after watching it. Your reaction was curious. Darth Vader terrified you so much you left the room. That’s that, I thought. She’s not ready. But something about the world of the movie pushed you back. You kept asking to watch it again. We kept making sure you weren’t scared. You weren’t, you said. So we plowed through the movie, and you wanted more. So we watched more over the next several months, and now we’ve watched them all save for Rogue One (a bit too intense for you) and the upcoming Episode IX. And you’ve seen several episodes of Clone Wars, Rebels, and the Mandalorian as well, mostly snuggled up next to me.
I’ve loved this experience so much, but I have to admit it’s shocked me. I never expected you to dive in with this level of interest, with this intense of devotion. Sometimes you tell me you love Star Wars so much because “it makes you feel like a big kid,” which is such an interesting reaction because watching it with you and experiencing it through your eyes makes me feel like a kid again. I’d grown bored of these movies over the years. Watching you watch them though makes me love them all over again, in a very different way.
Your devotion to Star Wars has occasionally almost taken us to some fairly dark places. For a while, we were watching clips of movies and shows on YouTube, and that brought us to some fan films. I have nothing against fan fiction, but I didn’t feel comfortable allowing you to watch someone else’s interpretation of Star Wars because even the Disney-sanctioned material can sometimes dip into difficult territory. I’m always able to talk through it with you, but how am I supposed to gauge someone else’s interpretation of the material? Would you be able to separate what was “Star Wars” and what was someone’s idea of Star Wars? Or would it all seem the same to you?
You made repeated requests to watch some of these fan films, so I watched them first to see if they would be okay for you. A couple of them were. Most were not, to the point where I banned Star Wars fan films and we’ve cracked down on YouTube as a whole.
One short fan film involved Darth Maul and his training in the ways of the Sith. A group of Jedi track him down and he takes them all out, one by one. I remember reading a comment on YouTube from someone claiming to have felt a stronger connection to the final Jedi facing Maul (a woman) in fifteen minutes than he had with Rey over the course of two entire movies. It should be noted that the Jedi in question is an apprentice to a male Jedi, and is constantly told what to do. She spends most of the fan film running away and asking her Master to rethink the fight he’s leading them into. She does eventually face Maul, and handles her own well enough against him, but ultimately is defeated by him, because of course she is. She doesn’t have much to do. She doesn’t have a name. She exists to get defeated. She exists to highlight how cool Darth Maul is.
This idea is repeated several times through these fan films. Another one I watched features a giant battle between Jedi and Sith. An evil, demonic looking Sith character stabs a Jedi with his red lightsaber (surprise, she’s a woman). If that’s not enough, he then uses the force to torture her as she writhes disturbingly on the ground while dying, until eventually he pulls her heart from her body using he Force.
Apparently there are fans who want this kind of thing from Star Wars. I do not understand them. More directly, I do not understand why they love Star Wars. Because this is not Star Wars to me. This is not what it’s about. One thing the new movies have done that I’ve loved is made the lead villain a character that reminds me of these types of fans. Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader, obsessed with the Sith, with the Dark Side, to the point where he’s a collector (his grandfather’s helmet for example). But his obsession reveals his insecurity. He desperately wants to be like his evil heroes, so he emulates them, hoping to be powerful like they are. But feeling that desperation underlines his internal shortcomings, which heightens the reasons why he doesn’t feel like he already lives up to that level of power.
So much of Ren’s turn to the dark side has to do with “point of view.” Individual perception is a unique trope in Star Wars. Obi-Wan uses it to explain to Luke why he did not tell him Darth Vader was his father. Instead, he tells him a former pupil of his betrayed and murdered his father after being seduced by the dark side of the Force. In a way, he is right, since Anakin ceases to be Anakin in the aftermath of his transformation to Vader. But this feels like a cop-out attempt to spare Luke painful feelings. In The Last Jedi, point of view is important enough that we see a key scene in the past three different ways, Rashomon style. Ben Solo (a pre-dark side Kylo) awakes to find Luke with a raised lightsaber. He assumes Luke plans to murder him because of his slip into the dark side, and indeed, Luke does consider it. But Luke is the same guy who tossed his lightsaber away to avoid fulfilling his destiny of being the one to defeat Darth Vader. He’d rather die than kill someone he loves, and he does love Ben Solo. It’s heartbreaking this his temptation to snuff out the dark side is the exact act that pushes Ben Solo into becoming the evil Kylo Ren, but that’s exactly the point, and it’s why considering individual point of view is so important, both for these characters, and us as fans.
So: considering the point of view of the type of people who make these fan films, what can I come up with? I’m not going to deny that Darth Vader is a “cool” character. He’s striking and unique, one of the greatest movie villains of all time. The Emperor is cunning and conniving, performed with just a tinge of comic brilliants by Ian McDiarmid. Darth Maul is stoic yet acrobatic, Count Dooku is …well, he’s Christopher Lee and that’s enough. The allure of the dark side has always been the temptation the good characters feel towards accepting its power and getting corrupted in the process, which makes Anakin’s character arc so compelling, even if the execution of the arc in the prequel films falls completely flat. Perhaps part of that failed execution did a major disservice to the fanbase. Anakin is pathetic at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and Kylo, as complex he is, can sometimes come across as a child having a tantrum. But Darth Vader is never seen as pathetic, never portrayed that way. That’s intentional, I’m sure. Vader severs himself from his emotions. But wasn’t that what the Jedi were telling Anakin to do all along? By not having a healthy outlet for his emotions, Anakin becomes Darth Vader and cuts off his emotions even more. In the end, he becomes a villain by trying and failing to do what they’d been telling him to do all along, because human beings should have healthy outlets for their feelings.
With all that being said, it’s odd to see certain fans embrace the “powerful” side of these characters without examining how pathetic they are, how awful they are, how evil they are, how little they care for others. It’s as if they choose to see past those aspects to focus only on the ones they want to, which brings us back to the cave.
Only what you take with you.
The strangest thing about many of these fans is how inconsistent they are. Many of them hated the prequels when they were released (and who can blame them), only to turn around and lament the fact that Disney purchased Lucasfilm / Star Wars and pushed George Lucas out of creative control. It’s absolutely fair to criticize Disney for a wide variety of things, their gross capitalistic gobbling of all pop-culture properties chief among them. But when Disney released The Force Awakens, several of the same fans lashed out about its lack of originality, arguing that it relied on nostalgic reflections of the original trilogy. Again, an absolutely valid complaint, and one I somewhat share. But then these same fans turned around and absolutely lambasted The Last Jedi, which took risks with the material, arguably for the first time since The Empire Strikes Back.
My expectations with these Disney movies were always very modest, which is why I’m shocked that The Last Jedi is one of my favorite Star Wars movies, to the point when after I initially watched it, I was confused. At first it felt like an ambitious mess, and something seemed missing while watching it. What dawned on me during subsequent viewings was that it wasn’t that something was missing, something was added. Unlike most Star Wars movies, The Last Jedi is about something beyond being about Star Wars, all while very much being about Star Wars. Star Wars is the text and Star Wars is the subtext. Who gets fan ownership to this franchise? Is it the legacy character of Kylo Ren, born to intergalactic superstars like Han Solo and Leia Organa, nephew of Luke Skywalker, grandson of Darth Vader? Or is it Rey, who as Kylo tells her, came from no one? As told to her in The Last Jedi, Rey’s parents were drunks who abandoned her. Her parents were nobody. She came from nowhere. And yet she’s strong with the Force, stronger than Kylo even. (My fear is that the next movie may alter Rey’s parentage somewhat, but we’ll see).
On a fandom level, Kylo represents the old guard fans who stomp their feet and insist Star Wars needs to be their way, on their terms. The same fans who emulate Darth Vader, who make fan films celebrating the creepiest aspects of their dark side imagination. On the other side of the coin, fandom doesn’t need gatekeepers. Any fan is a fan, regardless of when they become one. Who is Star Wars for? The old guard? A new generation of fans? The generation that grew up with the prequels, and therefore have a different perspective of it? Is it for you, Nora, all of five years old?
Many of these old guard fans couldn’t understand The Last Jedi. Several of their complaints had to do with odd things like the fact that Luke Skywalker “gives up” on the Force and lives in seclusion, the fact that he dies in the end, the fact that he doesn’t come back to face down the First Order (although in a sense he does). But of course, Luke gave up in the original trilogy, during the climax no less. He risked sacrificing his life for the people he loves. During the climax of The Last Jedi, he does the exact same thing, but in the imagination of many of the old guard, they’re not thinking of the fact that he gave up the fight to save his father. They’re thinking of the fight. They’re thinking of how he gets angry and cuts off his father’s hand. They’re thinking how cool it is that he blew up the Death Star, that he rescues Han Solo and nearly single-handedly destroys most of Jabba the Hutt’s bodyguards. And they’re thinking how cool Darth Vader is.
They’re not thinking about the cave.
Most importantly, they’re not thinking of you, or fans like you. They’re thinking of themselves, their own relationship with Star Wars. They’re afraid of you. They’re afraid that Star Wars isn’t just for them anymore, and that it’s also for you, or “too much” for you. And as you know, fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
Which leads me to the point of this whole overlong gigantic piece.
I no longer feel any suffering when it comes to Star Wars. I only feel …grateful. No matter what happens, no matter what is made, grateful is where my head and heart is at.
Because of you. I am so grateful I have you in my life. I am so grateful I’m able to love Star Wars so much more because you love it. You’ve given me a fresh window into a saga I loved as a child. I wish other people had that too.
III. We Are What They Grow Beyond
The Force has always been a nebulous, undefined thing in Star Wars. It’s both simple and complex. It’s everything and nothing at all. It’s an energy field, but made up of microscopic organisms called midichlorians. Whatever the Force is, in the Star Wars universe, the important thing is your connection to it, and by extension, your connection to “everything.” The Force flows through all things, after all.
Fandom, however, does not. Fandom is specific and insular. A fan defines their relationship with any given subject through their own experiences. Even for something like a movie, which you watch with a crowd to the point where a crowd can react in unison, everyone may share the experience, may even shout and laugh or cry in unison, but still leave with completely different perspectives, a different reaction, a different take. And of course they do. Even at its most garishly commercial, Star Wars is still subjective art. It would be ridiculous to expect fans of anything to all be on the same page. You can go to conventions and celebrate fandom, but your relationship with what you’re celebrating will always be your own. Even if I personally feel some fans are misguided about their type of fandom, there’s no way for me to police how they experience things anymore than I could go back and change the way their lives influenced their individual perception.
As I wrote before, there was a point when I became very bored with Star Wars. I didn’t need it in my life anymore. I had seen the movies I cared about so often that I barely thought of myself as a Star Wars fan. I could recite them from memory. The prequels were bad enough that I didn’t need them at all. The books, TV shows, cartoons? I was tired of them. I shelved it all away. I didn’t care enough to need or want them.
Then you came into my life, Nora. Then I saw The Force Awakens. It wasn’t a great movie, but I wondered - would you take to this story, this universe, the way I had when I was a child? What would that do for you? Would it open up your imagination? Would it allow you to dream a little more vividly, the way growing up with Star Wars did for me?
And I think it does. I never anticipated you would dive into this world with the fervor that you have, but I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me that you have. And not because it’s “Star Wars,” but because it’s you. When we play make-believe Jedi and Apprentice, when we play with old toys and make short, silly Star Wars “movies” with them, when we cuddle on the couch and watch Rebels or a new trailer or an old movie, I’m falling in love with this fandom through you.
In a sense, if Star Wars is the Force, I was Luke Skywalker in the Last Jedi. I used to feel it, revel in it really. Then, I closed myself off to it. I gave up, but not in a good way. I gave up believing there was value in the Force. And only through my experience with someone much younger, much more excited and ambitious and connected to it could I find my way back again. I’ve reconnected to the Force through you, and it’s so much fun to love this thing again, to the point where I feel like it deepens the love I have for you, the love we have for each other, and my love of all things.
Ultimately, none of this matters. This is a science-fiction franchise about space wizards. But it can and does mean so much more than that to people. I want to feel that connection in the theater with you on Friday. I want to feel connected to the audience, to the movie, to the fandom, to all things, and most importantly, to you. For as long as I can, for as long as it lasts, I will cherish that connection. And make no mistake, although I introduced you to this goofy alien universe, you are absolutely the reason I continue to have any love for it.
In a way, the movie theater we’ll enter Friday afternoon is like the Degobah cave. It’s dark and dreamy. Time will seem to slow down. Light will crease into shadows. What we find inside won’t just be what we take with us, but the love we share for each other and for Star Wars can only help, it can’t hurt. If I saw this by myself, without you in my life, without your enthusiasm and love for this galaxy far far away, I would be much worse off. With you by my side, I will feel The Force flow through me. That means more to me than any movie, any trilogy, any saga ever could.
The early buzz on The Rise of Skywalker is not very positive. I had no expectations it would be as good as The Last Jedi, but when I was younger, I never expected more Star Wars movies. I got my wish, and then regretted it. After the prequels, I never expected I would love a Star Wars movie again. That I was wrong is enough of a miracle for me. Ultimately, it also does not matter what I think of the new movie. It’s not mine, it doesn’t belong to me, nor does it belong to any one singular fan, not even you. I hope everyone loves it. I’m sure everyone won’t.
I hope you love it, though. I hope you love all of it for as long as long as you can. I hope you keep the wonder in your eyes that I see reflected whenever you take in this odd world. I hope you keep all the negativity of the fanbase fighting at bay, but I know it’s only a matter of time before it too will be a part of you, unless you are no longer a fan. That’s part of what I wish too. Right now, this fandom exists between yourself and I, with a smattering of other young friends of yours. If you remain a fan, I wish I could keep your fandom limited to those people. But fandom usually pushes you for connection with others, and since that connection includes different opinions, sometimes it can involve conflict.
Here’s what I know: when the movie is over on Friday, I’ll ask you you think, what your point of view will be. And your opinions will be your own. They won’t be affected in the slightest by this entire, divided fandom, and the bitter fighting that often breaks out within it. And that, for now, is enough.
Whatever your opinion may be, I’ll always cherish this connection. It may have began with the love I developed for this universe as a child, but so much of it is thanks to you and the love you have for me. What this has taught me is that I always want to have something that we bond over, that we’re fans of together, because the experience of loving something through my love for you has been a wondrous one.
Thank you for that. Thank you for being such a funny, loving, sweet, imaginative kid. Thank you for being my daughter. Thank you for existing so I have the delightful opportunity of being your father.
I love you more than The Force itself, and much like the Force, I will be with you.