Star Wars at Christmas?” “Put it back in May where it belongs.”

Some Star Wars fans had “a bad feeling about this” when The Force Awakens was scheduled for December 18, 2015. But complaints were forgotten when the movie opened to rave reviews.

Me, I’ve associated Star Wars with Christmas since I opened my first Star Wars toys on Christmas morning in 1977, while the original was still in theaters. Dozens of those original action figures—capes, lightsabers, blasters, and all—keep vigil on my bookshelves still today, almost forty years later. They kindle creativity in me. Star Wars only hinted at a cosmos of storytelling, and during those holiday vacations from homework, I dreamed up my own stories about that galaxy far, far away.

Apparently so did many others who grew up to be filmmakers. And now, with Disney’s promise that Star Wars movies will be an annual event, we can assume that droids and stormtroopers will become as common as reindeer and snowmen in December.


I haven’t heard protests about the Christmastime release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (By the time you read this, I’ll have seen Gareth Edwards’ movie. And, let’s face it, so will many of you.) But I have heard other concerns: Will this episode—the first that doesn’t focus on Skywalkers—feel like the real thing? Or will it just feel like a money grab? Does Edwards understand what makes Star Wars unique and beloved?

Wait a minute: What does make Star Wars unique and beloved?

I think I know.

Read my reflections on the secrets of a great Star Wars story in my “Viewer Discussion Advised” column at Christianity Today.