What would you do if you discovered that you had an inoperable tumour in the back of your head? Would you fly halfway across the world to meet Luke Skywalker?
35 year old Queenslander Adam Harris is a dad, a husband, a filmmaker but above all he’s a Star Wars fan. He also has an inoperable growth in his head that doctors found days after the birth of his 2nd child. It was a discovery that changed everything in Adam's life.
He made a decision to fulfil a life-long dream. He took his 6 year old son (and mad-keen Star Wars fan) Jack Anakin Harris (yes, his middle name is Anakin) on the ultimate Star Wars pilgrimage to Lucasfilm and the biggest Star Wars event in the world. He raised an enormous amount of money on Kickstarter (with the surprise backing of Tara Reid and David Arquette) and brought along a documentary crew as well. He meets everyone from the original special effects designers right through to Luke Skywalker himself.
But this is more than just a feel-good piece about a hard core Star Wars fandom. This is a story about the power of fantasy & modern mythology to help people power through very real and very dark experiences. And above all it’s a story about - dare we say it - A New Hope for a man who has been through a lot and has come out lightsabers swinging.
The diagnosis spurred Adam to do something he had always dreamed of; travel with his son to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, the world’s largest fan convention. The two visited Lucasfilm and met Mark Hammill.
“I never thought in a million years I’d ever get to meet Luke Skywalker,” said Adam.
Adam dreamed of making a documentary of their trip, called My Saga, about how Star Wars fandom united fathers and sons. Adam believes the trilogy spoke to him so much as a child because of a strained relationship he had with his own father.
Adam’s parents met and had him very young, and eventually divorced when he was still a young child.
“They did the best they could, but there are a lot of things that happened in those years that I can never let go on and forget,” he said. “As a father you can make the right or wrong decisions and there were a lot of wrong decisions.”
After his father left, Adam lived with his mother and brother, and found himself falling prey to his father’s worst characteristics.
“I became my father,” he said. “I was a very aggressive young man who took his anger out on people.”
Over the years, Adam has learned how to make peace with his past, and avoid the pitfalls of his own upbringing. Of particular importance to him is Luke’s scene with his dying father, Anakin.
“I think that’s what I want from my dad. I wanted to save him from the things he’d done wrong,” Adam said.
“I look at Jack, and he has saved me. Jack did what I couldn’t. I’m a very lucky man.”