Binary Sunset

Fun fact: I love Star Wars.  No, no…like, I really, really love Star Wars.  I Pablo-Neruda-love it.  I love it “without knowing how, or when, or from where.”  Ok, so maybe I do know “how” and “when” or whatever.  Maybe it’s just that I love how easy it is to love Star Wars.  It’s always been a constant; forever encouraging fans (old and new) to come back home to it.

Let me fun fact-check myself:

I remember watching the original trilogy back when I still sounded like a gargling Chewbacca-child.  I’d sit up late on the weekends, watching the worn-out VHS tapes on my parents’ tiny T.V., rewinding the movies over and over and over again with a plea of “just one more time!” after each one, the clock striking nearly midnight.

Let’s just say that upon first viewing of Return of the Jedi, I was still young enough to not get how Darth Vader could have had twins but not have known about it…

I saw every prequel in theaters the week that each came out (I saw Episode II four times because I couldn’t admit out loud that I thought Anakin was cute).


but i mean…

When I was around 7, this boy from my church let me borrow all the Extended Universe novels (which are now invalid and not canon, but let’s not talk about that).  Thereafter, I proceeded to buy every EU novel I saw in bookstores and garage sales (ya wanna talk about Jacen and Jaina Solo?  I’m yo girl).

I straight up skipped out early on my last sorority initiation (that I played a big part in) so I could watch the first full-length trailer of The Force Awakens on our house’s TV.  I was at the absolute first showing of TFA – and then I watched it four more times in theaters.

When people ask if I like Star Wars or Star Trek more, I smile and say “I love both!” …but really, that’s just a polite lie.  The truth is…

It’s always gonna be Star Wars.

But I’m not rambling on about my fan-girl status  to brag.  I firmly believe that new and old fans alike are equal in their love something.  I’m also well aware that my Star Wars-insanity doesn’t exactly make me unique, particularly nerdy, or the fulfillment of the average guy’s “manic pixie dream girl” wishes.

After all, if JJ Abrams has shown us underlings anything (besides lens flares and shaky-unseen-aliens), it’s that Star Wars is still kind of a big deal these days and it can easily stand the test of time – and that it always will.  Star Wars isn’t even sweating right now, it knows it’s locked in.

“I’m not gonna say life is perfect, but ‘We get a new Star Wars film every year’ is the kind of thing you would tell someone in the ‘70s to convince them that the future is a utopia.”
– tumblr user, exelev

Luckily I don’t choose to let the idea of liking something “so mainstream” (hipsters everywhere breakdown in tears) or something “so boyish & geeky” get in the way of me flat-out, border-line obsessing over it (please see Twilight, Jonas Brothers, etc, etc.)

Now all that being said, the most difficult decision I’ve often faced regarding the franchise (besides what color Lightsaber I’d want, le duh), is answering the usual question a self-proclaimed fan of any film franchise gets: “which Star Wars movie is your favorite?”


Is that even an emotionally legal question?  I mean, dramatics aside, most movie buffs/film critics/pop culture obsess-ees would agree: how can we choose?  Take note, in the initial question I am taking the originals AND the prequels into account because #NoH8ers.  They are all STAR WARS, k bai.

So here’s a simpler question: “What’s your favorite Star Wars scene?”

The rest of my fandom pals scream, “NO THAT’S AN EVEN WORSE QUESTION!  WHO R U”
I silently hold up a hand to their cries.  They shudder and gasp; somewhere a Luke Skywalker figurine falls over from the fallout; they all wear a look of betrayal.

“I have one,” I say quietly.

Chaos ensues, but suggestions soon follow:

“Han and Leia before he’s frozen?” No.
“Vader telling Luke he’s his father?” Nope.
“Yoda being all wise & stuff?” Nah.


My favorite Star Wars scene is the same scene that is in every film ever.

“Wait what?”

It’s within the first 30 minutes into A New Hope:

Luke is looking out at the Tatooine desert that goes on and on and on – never ending; the binary sunset is seeping into his half-lidded blue eyes.  John Williams’ magical and emotional “Luke’s Theme” builds and blares through the speakers, Luke’s face showing every bit of emotion and longing he’s feeling.  His Aunt and Uncle have just told him he has to stay on the moisture farm another year, when all he wants to do is leave to join the Academy to be with his friends and to fight against the Empire.

“Where are you going?” his Aunt asked.
“It looks like I’m going nowhere,” Luke responded.


This then leads to the very scene I’ve just described: Luke, all melancholy – all hope fleeting and dismal.  He is never getting off the farm, and he is never going where he wants to be.  And that feeling, that guttural hopeless feeling – I can relate to it more than I’d like to.  I think every recent college grad-without-a-job can, to be real.

I’m finally out of school (indefinitely), and I have about 15% certainty of what I want to do with my life.  Or rather, I know what I want to do with it – but I’m not exactly sure that the statistics say I’m gonna get there…that I won’t fail at it all.  That I’ll ever end up leaving my parent’s house or my hometown or be anything but “Sarahj – she says she’s a writer, but where’s the proof??”



okay, so my hometown isn’t as desolate as Tatooine but like…

I feel just like Luke, staring outside my window each night, wondering if I’ll ever do anything – be anything.

I have always loved this scene (I mean do you SEE that binary sunset, fam – c’mon), but I never really noticed why.  That is, until I stumbled upon this amazing graphic on Tumblr (where all wonderful stumble upons happen, naturally):

Then it all became very clear to me.  This talented and amazing Tumblr artist not only depicted the scene in a new and beautiful way, but by overlaying it with those inspiring Hamilton lyrics (memo to self: write 20 posts on all my Hamilton feels), she made me realize what this scene is really about.

True, Luke sees no future happy ending in sight – he’s stuck there…forever.  But wait a second – only a few scenes later and BAM: Luke’s destiny is waiting right there for him!  Obi-Wan’s gonna reveal that Luke’s father was a jedi!  He’s going to meet his future best friend!  He’s going to rescue a Princess!  He’s going to be the Rebel Alliance War Hero who somehow figures out how to destroy the Death Star!  Luke, plain ol’ Luke who thinks he will never get off Tatooine, who will never do anything special in his life but stay on his farm, who is forever waiting.giphy

He has no idea any of this is about to happen.  He has no idea that so many amazing and extraordinary things are headed right his way!

Of course, with the good, comes the bad.

Luke has to lose both his Aunt and Uncle, who are practically his parents.  He has to witness Obi-Wan’s death first hand.  He will later have to deal with learning his own father is the galaxy’s big bad – and worse, he will have to get the courage to face him one-on-one.  He will even find out he has had a twin sister all along – but he’ll probably have to go to therapy later on for accidentally making out with her…yikes.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is, in this scene, Luke has no idea all this stuff is coming for him.

As Benjamin Button would say, “you never know what’s coming for you.”

Or Isaac from The Fault in our Stars: “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!”

I like to say this scene is my favorite now because, this time in my life is my Binary Sunset moment.  And I’m sure it won’t be my last – but isn’t that the beauty of it?

I feel so lost and confused right now – where I am going next, who I even am when I’m not defined by my college, my sorority, and my grades.  But I’ll keep looking off into the sunset like Luke, but this time with hope.

Unfortunately, unlike Luke, I’ll only be looking at one sun.  But at least my John Williams’ score will be diegetic – and I can keep playing it over and over again until I become my own Rebel Alliance Hero.

And I said that every movie has this very scene because each one basically does.  Whether it’s Belle from Beauty and The Beast wishing for more than “this provincial life,” or Harry Potter playing with his toy soldiers in the cupboard under the stairs – every film has a binary sunset moment.  And it’s the most relatable and human part of any film ever.  Because every movie has a binary sunset moment, but so does every life.

So here’s to Luke and I and every other story’s protagonist (who just doesn’t know it yet) – and to everyone else who’s feeling the exact same way – we may be waiting, but we have no idea what’s coming for us.