A long time ago, in a part of the country far far away…
…my big brother took me to the movies.
I was eight-years-old, which would make him 17 at the time, and I can see now how lucky I was that he’d want to take his little sister anywhere. We had seen the posters and ads for “Star Wars,” but we had no idea we were about to be treated to a cultural phenomenon that would last the remainder of our lives.
I remember sitting in the chair at the Plaza Theater as the lights dimmed, and that incredible John Williams score boomed over the opening crawl. From that moment, as a little eight-year-old girl, I was forever hooked. Watching Luke Skywalker struggle with his impatience, Han Solo swagger and boast, Chewie lumber and howl, Obi Wan remain calm and strong, and Darth Vader force choke anyone who pissed him off, I was transported.
It was like nothing I had ever seen.
Princess Leia was especially interesting to me. Here was a woman who was not afraid to look Vader right in his “eyes.” She withstood his torture. She picked up a blaster and fought right alongside Han and Luke. She didn’t take anyone’s shit. She was smart and courageous and believed in her cause. She had spunk. She had sass. I loved her!
Mainly though, the movie was just FUN. The music, the effects, the dialog – it all worked in that magical way spectacular movies do. It was a visual storytelling feast, and I devoured it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched these movies or how excited I get every time a new one is announced or released.
Before “The Force Awakens,” my daughter (who hadn’t seen any of the movies) and I had a Star Wars marathon. My nephew had alerted me to the “Machete Order.” This is a viewing of episodes 4, 5, 2, 3, 6, where you essentially cut out episode 1 and watch 2 & 3 right after the big “I am your father” reveal. (For the record, we slogged through episode 1.) And with that marathon, another Star Wars fan was born. I will never forget sitting the theater with her for “The Force Awakens” and looking over at her during that magical opening crawl moment and seeing her eyes light up as we clapped with the rest of the audience in anticipation.
It’s been forty years since we got that first glimpse into a galaxy far far away, but it is still just as relevant and fun and exciting to watch our heroes on their adventures today. My Chewbacca collection graces my kitchen window sill, a classic Star Wars poster hangs on my daughter’s bedroom wall, my boyfriend and his son have built their own Mandalorian armor and have some pretty rad light sabers. We watch one of the original three films at least once a quarter, and we cannot wait for the next installment. Are we Star Wars geeks? Absolutely.
Thank you for forty years of galactic fun, Star Wars. May the Force be with you.