• 8.11.15

    Pop Chart Lab and Shutterstock Examine the Lasting Impact of Star Wars

    The genre of Science Fiction has a unique status in narrative human history as being able to discuss human issues in ways that we were unable to do so before the genre appeared. It’s much easier to talk about the presence of deities when we imagine science answering all questions in the universe. It’s more challenging to think about what makes humanity special when androids are indistinguishable from our organic bodies. And while these questions are crucial to understanding our future, the honest answers to these questions reveal more about ourselves than we would discover by simply musing on hypotheticals. Instead our narrative tradition requires that we dive deep. Few stories have had an effect on these questions as Star Wars. The original trilogy turned series turned media world has become a touchstone for the genre. Anyone with a passion for sci-fi is acutely aware of this. Even the folks at Shutterstock and Pop Chart Lab.

    We’re thrilled to help unveil the latest collaboration between Shutterstock and Pop Chart Lab that investigates and identifies some of the ways that the world of Star Wars has impacted how we tell science fiction stories to each other. Through a painstaking process of teasing apart these elements that were born, or perfected, in the 1980s with George Lucas’ seminal classics, they began identifying where the themes began to better find the threads through history. For Pop Chart Lab, the challenge was nothing like work. Instead, it was something they were all destined to enjoy. “We’re all pretty big Star Wars fans in the office, though there is an employee who’s only ever seen Episode I and is rightly shunned and forced to sit in the corner every day,” says Ben Gibson from Pop Chart Lab. In many ways it was a solemn duty to make sure they were both accurate and respectful to the material they were handling.

    If you’ve ever seen the movies, you don’t need anyone to tell you the sheer amount of lore and mythology that’s wrapped into these stories. So much so that they reached the annals of Joseph Campbell as being considered a part of the monomyth: the story that is retold generation to generation with different characters. Whether it’s Frodo bringing the One Ring to Mount Doom or Odysseus returning home or Luke defeating the Empire, this is a rich human story. There was a lot of information to work with and bring into one piece of work that would ultimately celebrate Star Wars as the franchise enters its newest life with the next three episodes. Ben explains it like this: “We are quite experienced at taking an almost insane amount of raw data and shaping it into a more manageable, aesthetically pleasing form. In cases like this, image-size constraints are actually a positive, as it forced us to go with mostly the most iconic, relevant and/or resonant choices—along with our usual understanding that certain irrational personal favorites are going to go on there no matter what.”

    Take a look at everything Star Wars has meant to this storytelling community and see how many you recognize.

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