We would have never gotten Star Wars if the Modesto, California, police weren't so good at their job. Or if George Lucas wasn't such a reckless driver.
Before he became a filmmaker and the beloved creator of Star Wars, Lucas wanted to be a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. But they wouldn't let him in because he had too many speeding tickets.
His backup plan was film school. And thus, after a decade of work and innumerable headaches, we got Star Wars—a story that every person on Planet Earth has heard something about. (In his book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, author Chris Taylor visited all sorts of remote tribes attempting to find an adult human being who had not in some way been affected by Star Wars–and couldn't find even one!)
Star Wars has something for everyone. Even if you happen to be a horrible person (or, you know, not just that into sci-fi) and dislike Star Wars, it still has at least one thing for you—a template for what we have dubbed The Four Elements of Great Stories.
Element 1: Relatability
There's something innately human and entertaining about the Star Wars adventures, but if you want to truly understand what made the first film so popular, you need to appreciate the culture in which it came to life.
America in the 1970s was fresh off its big victory versus Russia in the race to land on the moon. It was also an unsettling time in the world, with the Vietnam War, civil unrest, and a lot of bad disco music. Americans ...