Age may be just a number, but in Star Wars, someone’s age speaks strongly to their character and their journey. Yoda, at 900 years old, had every right to be the wise, trustworthy master he was presented as — he’d been doing this whole Jedi thing a while.
Even our young heroes’ ages in specific stories aren’t accidental. Padmé Amidala being a 14-year-old ruler adds to the impression that she’s smart and easily underestimated. Anakin Skywalker, too, may be nine years old, but he’s a one-of-a-kind podracer … and, it turns out, destined to use the Force for even greater feats.
Luke and Leia were both 19 years old in A New Hope. Han was 19 during the first leg of his journey in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Anakin was also 19 in Attack of the Clones.
It’s no coincidence that these heroes were all the same age at some of the most pivotal moments in their lives. Why? Because no one knows what they’re doing at 19. No one.
And that’s the point.
Nineteen is that universal age when possibilities are both blissfully endless and painfully limited. You might have an idea of what you want, but not necessarily how to get it. You want to go somewhere else, but you might not know where. You’re old enough to live as an adult, but still young enough to too often be treated like a child.
You grew up on a farm. You’re hungry for something more. But your uncle still tells you where to go and when to be there.
You may be a princess and a senator, but you don’t yet know what you have to lose.
You desperately need to escape your homeworld — but you may have to leave the love of your life behind.
You’re a Jedi, but everyone is holding you back. You know you could be something more. You just know it. Even if you don’t know what “it” could be.
A hero, after all, must reach that essential moment where they have to take the step forward that sets the entire future of their story in motion.
No one knows who they’re supposed to be at 19. It takes years of trying, failing, changing direction, hoping for the best in order to even begin to discover one’s purpose.
Thankfully, at the end of all these characters’ stories, they’d finally figured out what their lives were really for.
You can, too.
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