Home sweet home. Home is where the heart is. ET, phone home. Our vernacular is full of sayings about home and finding our place. But finding home is the epitome of easier said than done.
Many of us spend years trying to find home. Not the brick and mortar that we refer to when we say, “I’m going home.” Rather the home Cassian refers to when he tells Jyn, “Welcome home.” It is something far deeper and more valuable than my meager words could ever do justice, but I am fool enough to try.
Star Wars shows us the value of home in numerous instances, both big and small. It reminds us that home is not just where the heart is, but where the heart beats. Home is not just sweet, such as a candy, it is as essential as oxygen.
Take, for example, Luke on the homestead. He is desperately searching for a place to really belong, longing to get off the farm and find his purpose. He is so desperate to find home that he does not even care who he supports in the Galactic Civil War. We like to proselytize everyone into believing the Luke is the knight in shining armor, but he is not. He is a lost soul trying to find home.
At one point, he begs C-3PO for information about the Rebellion, clearly wanting to be a part of it. At another point he begs his uncle to let him join the Imperial Academy. He is a living juxtaposition, and purposefully so. He might be at home, but he is not at home.
Eventually he does find home, not in a building or institution, but in people. In Leia and Han and Chewie and all the people who love, support, and cherish him.
One could also look to Han, a rogue smuggler and basically a gypsy when we meet him. Sure he has the Falcon and he has Chewie. But he doesn’t quite have home, which for him is a place to belong and live out his life’s purpose. A pastor at the church I first went to always said that people had a “God-shaped hole” in their lives before they found a god, or God, to fill it. Religious perspective aside, I think that has a “God-shaped hole” in his life because he is also trying to find his purpose, his meaning, and his direction. Which is why he has such a braggadocios demeanor, pointing to himself when we first meet him, declaring, “Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon. It is said not in the confidence of one who knows his place, but one whose swagger is a defense mechanism.
But just like Luke, Han finds his purpose, and thus his home. In finding Leia, he found where he belonged and became what he needed to be. For confirmation that Leia is his home, just look what happens when she is no longer there with him, post Ben’s fall. He goes right back to his homeless, wandering ways. Until, of course, he finds his way home again.
This way home comes from his encounter with Rey and Finn, who themselves are trying to make it to their home. It is interesting to look at these two characters because we do not know where they will call home. For Finn, it may be in Rey, who captivates him from the first moment they meet (although maybe not in the kindest of ways). It may be in the Resistance, standing next to his “bro” Poe. It is inevitable that him finding his home will be an important part of his story arc because when he first meet him he is “running away” from his home with the First Order. To bring his hero’s journey full circle must lead home.
Rey is a different but equally interesting story. She has a home that she is content with on Jakku, but destiny and the Force have different ideas for her. The journey she takes in TFA is about being forced out of her comfort zone and into the grander story of the galaxy, but, thanks to the greatest cliffhanger in cinematic history, we don’t know what this will lead to. We do know, however, that finding a home is important to Rey. Originally she wants to go “back to Jakku” because she believes that her family will one day return and will fill the hole in her life. Maz Kanata forces her to wake up to the reality that she is homeless and wandering, just like Han. Intriguing, it is, that she may find home through Luke Skywalker, just as Han did.
There is plenty of evidence that home will continue to be a focal point in Star Wars storytelling. In Aftermath: Life Debt, Han and Chewie return to Kashyyyk in order to save the Wookie home. In Bloodline, we see Leia trying to figure out who she is, and thus where to call home, in the changing galaxy. It seems she finds that home in the Resistance. And, of course, in Rogue One Cassian delivers the memorable line, “Welcome home,” to Jyn.
If home is really where the heart is, it is great that Star Wars deals so much with the topic, since Star Wars is home for so many fans in this galaxy.
Header image by by Yehudi Mercado. SuperMercadoComics.com