It’s May 4th today!
Which is now celebrated as Star Wars Day because of a vague semblance between “fourth” and “force,” especially if you have a lisp (or is it lithp?). Easy jokes aside, let’s talk about my love of Thtar Warth for a change!
Behind the Times, and then With Them
I all but grew up with Star Wars because my parents had a passing interest in it, and we had the trilogy on video tape. At many family gatherings (even at another’s home), someone would put the movies on in the background, just so the kids that were dragged along would have something to look at if they weren’t entertaining themselves. During that resurgence of the brand in the 90s, I was suckered in and our playroom was filled to the brim with various Star Wars toys, and my best friend at the time and I devoured just about anything we could get our hands on, even a Star Wars-themed laser tag variation. Countless video games, books, and even later on, bonding with other friends, we played the Star Wars d20 tabletop game as a diversion from the normal Dungeons & Dragons. It was a great time to be a fan.
I’ve watched the original trilogy so many times, and gobbled up so much Star Wars memorabilia, it was strange that I was never really that into science fiction. Later on in life when I got serious about writing I thought back on it and it was really that Star Wars is more science fantasy, which is much more up my alley. Sure you’ve spaceships and aliens, but at its core Star Wars is almost like a fantasy world, full of knights following an ancient code, puckish rogues with outstanding debts, an evil kingdom threatening to control anything and everything, and a rebellious princess willing to fight back.
It even works if you get rid of all the outer space!
But I kid. I missed out on what made Star Wars such a phenomenon the first time, but when the prequels started to come out, I got a glimpse of what that must have been like, quality of the prequels notwithstanding.
But I think we can all agree at least the duels were a lot of fun
Most of my love for Star Wars, or really any other interests of mine, was fairly personal, so even though I got to see how huge Star Wars could be, I always sorta hung out on the periphery, admiring the fanaticism and devotion of others.
With New Eyes
When The Force Awakens was announced, I was happy to see another movie being made in a franchise that I’d known all my life, and I was sure I would see it at some point. However, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to see it, getting so excited a handful of years out from its release. I can’t torture myself like that anymore; I’m an adult and I have taxes to do.
This one shot was really cool to me, though
However, as it got to the fall of 2015, my excitement started to ramp up. We were beginning to see a lot more solid information about the movie, and it ignited the Star Wars fan in me. My gal Friday had never seen the movies, none of them, but considering how endemic in nerd culture they were, she knew a fair bit about them. So I decided that we should watch the movies, all of them, to get ourselves ready to watch The Force Awakens. A while back I had happened across a new way of viewing all six movies, which was called the Machete Order. The gist of it is to watch in the order of Episodes IV, V, then II, III, and VI. Machete Order’s creator Rod Hilton suggests skipping Episode I altogether, for obvious reasons, or you can follow the link to understand why. We decided to follow that order, but still watch Episode I betwixt V and II, for the sake of completion.
As we started watching the sextology, it was fascinating to me because Friday and I are both great at critical-thinking, and it was fun to watch all the movies with someone in her position, where she knew things, but didn’t know everything, and could be critical of what she was watching. It was also refreshing to me because I realized I hadn’t really watched the original trilogy in a very long time, especially not since I had really come up in my ability to focus on characters and story. While my girlfriend was watching it all for the first time, I was watching it all with brand-new eyes.
I was able to see things that I had never really noticed before as a kid, and not just because after a while I just had the movies on in the background while I drew or pretended to be a Jedi myself. I never really noticed how annoyingly adorable Yoda was in Empire Strikes Back, or in the same movie how fantastic the relationship between Han and Leia developed, with all of the clever little quips.
I’d say you could cut the sexual tension with a lightsaber, but those things can go through just about anything
Even the complete sense of urgency the entire movie had because they were on the run felt good to me. Empire Strikes Back was my favorite back when I was younger, and I think it still is today upon my most recent viewings. Lawrence Kasdan did a swell job, methinks.
Thanks for the Memories
Regardless of how you feel about George Lucas, he created a special world, and a lot of other creative people were able to populate it with even more wonderful adventures. Whether the extended universe is no longer canon, it’s still a multitude of fantastic material with lots of potential for fans to deepen their love of the franchise. We bond over this gigantic, decades-spanning franchise, and create memories. Even the weirdest things like a pick-up game of Star Wars d20 I played with some chums, where I managed to convince General Grievous that I was the mayor of Bespin for three turns, or us falling into fits of laughter devising a way into a base by strapping a thermal detonator to a wookiee’s helmet, a helmet that we had to give them first. So many laughs, and more recently so many new perspectives sharing a part of my childhood with my gal Friday. We loved The Force Awakens as a fantastic piece of entertainment within that hallowed franchise, and we even had lots of fun nitpicking its few flaws. You can feel an energy in the fans as we realize that we’re essentially getting a Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future, and that’s just fine with me, even as a more “casual” fan.
Thanks for the memories Star Wars, even the ones I haven’t made yet!