The funniest Star Wars memes
How do you make a truly hilarious Star Wars meme? What makes Star Wars memes so funny? And are Star Wars memes technically illegal, now Disney owns the show?
For nigh-on half a century one franchise has stood astride our culture like one of those giant freaking AT-AT walker things I really wanted for my birthday as a kid but my dad just said no.
Spawning endless spin-offs, prequels, sequels, video games, books, duvet covers, Christmas jumpers, toasters, doggy outfits and more, Star Wars has successfully permeated every aspect our civilisation like some kind of bizarre campy sci-fi religion.
Still, nobody can argue with the fact it’s a meme gold mine. So what’s up with that?
NOSTALGIC STAR WARS FANS
For a franchise built around the premise that most problems in life can be solved with a fast spaceship and a laser gun, Star Wars is oddly sentimental.
Hence its love of cheesy romantic sub-plots, and those other timeless dramatic staples – long-lost relatives and violent intergenerational family strife.
The most relevant form of nostalgia, as far as Star Wars is concerned anyway, is the nostalgia parents feel for the movies they watched as kids.
So they buy their own children Lego sets, or lightsabers, to try and rekindle a flavour of their long-lost youth and innocence.
Except my dad. Who flat-out refused to buy me that AT-AT, despite seeing a second-hand one at the flea market for like 20 bucks, which I would’ve been totally cool with.
UNIVERSALITY OF STAR WARS
The reason Star Wars is such a fathomless mine of exceptional memes essentially comes down to its sheer ubiquity.
Everybody knows all the main characters. There’s an obvious delineation between good and evil. The main catchphrases – from ‘may the force be with you’ to ‘this is the way’ – resonate with vast audiences.
There’s an underlying thrum of sexiness, too – call it the ‘Leia in a golden bikini effect’ – that’s expertly calibrated for science fiction’s core horny-teen-boy demographic.
LEGALITY OF STAR WARS MEMES
The dorkier end of the fandom was furious back in 2012 when Disney bought Star Wars from original creator George Lucas for more than $4 billion in cash and stocks.
Various estimates suggest that, with the franchise being more successful and multi-platform than ever, Lucas has since pocketed over $10 billion from that deal.
But hollup, you’re probably thinking – isn’t Disney notoriously jealous when it comes to intellectual property? You can’t just use it’s characters for anything you want, especially stuff that’s a bit weird, or ridiculous, like memes.
Famously, when four-year-old Ollie Jones from the UK died of a rare condition called leukodystrophy, his dad asked Disney if they could use an image of Spiderman on the poor lad’s gravestone.
Disney said no, on the basis it wanted to protect the ‘innocence’ and ‘magic’ of the company’s characters. Truly some Dark Side shit.
In 2016 the company also sued a ‘Jedi training school‘ called the Lightsaber Academy for use of the trademark.
STAR WARS MEME LAW
So far Disney seem pretty chill about the memes. After all, Baby Yoda’s sheer adorability did a lot – more than any other medium, you might argue – to promote The Mandalorian.
Even the much-maligned Prequels have taken on a kind of culty afterglow – because of all the memes mocking them, rather than in spite of them.
Most legal experts agree memes about valuable intellectual properties like Star Wars are currently in a ‘cold war’ situation, where nobody is entirely clear what’s permissible, but equally nobody wants an ugly lawsuit on their hands.
To be clear, if Disney wants to come after me for infringement, I’ll accept an original, boxed AT-AT toy as settlement.
It’s all I’ve ever really wanted in life.
While we’re here, does anybody know IS IT PRONOUNCED GIF OR JIF?