May the Fourth: How 'Star Wars' has changed fans' lives forever

The Force is strong with Star Wars fans on this May the Fourth. With both The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian coming out later this year, it seems like now is the best time to be in love with a galaxy far, far away.

But ask fans what the films mean to them, and the answers won’t simply be about collecting toys, cosplaying, or even playing video games. For Star Wars fans, the 42 year-old franchise means something significantly more.

The franchise has inspired people to not only start popular YouTube channels, like Star Wars Explained, or podcasts, such as Rogue Podron, but it has helped fans find the best of themselves.

“I think you can learn everything you need to live in Star Wars,” Bill Sheehy says. “How to be a good person, that you’re never beyond redemption.”

“It’s really about taking the high road and being as good as you can as a human being,” Geoff Wilson explains.

Some fans, like Todd Hoffman, joined volunteer cosplay groups like the 501st Legion to give back to their communities. “That has been a defining moment for me and I really enjoy that extended family. I really think that was Star Wars is all about. It’s about love, trust, redemption and hope and you get to experience that when you troop.”

Star Wars has basically made a lot of friends in my life. A lot of people I normally would have never connected with,” Paul Ponte says. “People I probably would have never connected with except online. This love of Star Wars, this discussion of Star Wars it really brings us together.”

But it isn’t just friendships that define Star Wars, for Kris Heding, it’s about discovering the hero in all of us. “A lot of the heroes in Star Wars are kind of reluctant heroes, they didn’t mean to be, and they kind of fell into it. And then they went ‘oh this is kind of where I belong.’ And think that everyone is kind of like that. You just find your calling, whatever it is. So I think everybody is a little bit of a hero inside, so I feel like I’m a little bit too.”

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