In “A New Hope,” Obi-Wan Kenobi waves his fingers at a stormtrooper, mystically convincing him that R2-D2 and C-3PO aren’t the droids he’s looking for. Look, it would have been an awfully short movie were it not for those 10 seconds in the landspeeder.
However, these few moments add up to more than a simple plot device to let the main characters slip past the bad guys. Until this point in the film, audiences have heard Obi-Wan speak about the Force, they’ve listened to Vader refer to it as powerful, and they’ve seen the Sith Lord briefly employ it in service of the dark side. But this scene is the first glimpse the viewer gets of how the Force can be used as a subtle weapon for civil defiance, virtuousness, and pushing back evil.
As a result, we learn that Force can cut for good as well as evil, just like the lightsaber Kenobi openly carries. This is just the beginning, of course. Later Star Wars media greatly expanded on the Force’s capabilities. Still, this was the moment that a spiritual mysticism first entered a universe hitherto populated by robots, faster-than-lightspeed engines, and laser guns. It changed not just the Star Wars galaxy, but ours, too.