Monday, May 4, 2015

Scruffy-Looking Nerfherders Unite!*

Image Credit: www.starwars.com
Image credit: amazon.com
We Star Wars people are strange birds, I admit. Which has a lot to do with the punny May the 4th becoming internationally recognized as an unofficial Star Wars holiday. But you can read more about that here. However, the official Star Wars/Disney machine didn't come up with it-we did-all the crazy fans. Obviously, I'm one of them, which is why my normally book centered blog is taking a detour to a galaxy far, far away . . .

The first time I saw A New Hope was in December, 1997.** My mom (not really into SW herself), had purchased the gold boxed special edition trilogy*** for my dad's birthday. My dad, of course, had seen all the original (the real ones!) three in theaters as a kid. However, my siblings and I hadn't really heard about it. We knew who Darth Vader and Luke were, but that was from cousins.

We bought it at Sam's Club in late summer, and I remember being fascinated by Vader's skull-like helmet on the side. My brother Will and I begged to watch it. My mom just said to wait until Dad's birthday and ask him then. I was eight years old, and December seemed AGES away.

Of course, December rolled around, and my dad made a big to-do out of watching Star Wars for the first time. We dimmed the lights, made snacks, and cuddled up on the couch, and waited with breathless anticipation. Maybe it's just me, but the 20th Century Fox fanfare is forever linked with Star Wars.

 Needless to say, for me, Will, and our younger sister Grace, we were hooked. A princess in danger, a young hero in a dead end town, a wise old man, a menacing villain, and a daring rogue with a furry, tall sidekick, was the recipe for a movie unlike anything our little minds had experienced before.

When Dad wouldn't let us watch The Empire Strikes Back right away, we were crushed. He pulled that one out on us about a month later, and then Jedi a little later, turning each one into a special occasion. He didn't let us watch the heck out of them afterwards, either, which probably helped Star Wars keep its newness and appeal.

Regardless, after that first viewing, Star Wars was our thing. Christmas? Star Wars toys. Birthday? Star Wars! My mom even made me an epic Millennium Falcon cake one year. When the "prequels" started coming out a few years later, we were giddy and excited. We saw every one, and we *actually*liked them (we were kids!).**** Dad was always there to enthuse with us, and Mom sort of came around in the end. (Seriously, Harrison Ford can charm anyone).

So, our obsession faded, but we never "got over"Star Wars. The sound of that magnificent John Williams score still gets me. I maintain that Tie Fighter, Rebel Assault, and Knights of the Old Republic are some of the best video games ever, and I confess that I read numerous Star Wars novels. But this year, it's different:


Star Wars is back, and I've got mixed emotions on this one. I'm excited, sure, but after Jar-Jar Binks and Star Trek: Into Darkness, I'm not sure how I feel about J. J. Abrams and Star Wars coming back. The trailer looks promising, with fresh, unknown stars and moody shots of Tatooine. The best part, of course, was a silver-headed Han with Chewbacca at the end.

In the meantime, I will sit down and watch A New Hope tonight, enjoying it just as much, but in a different way, as I first did eighteen (seriously, 18!) years ago.*****

Are you a Star Wars fan, or have you escaped this cultural phenomenon? How do you feel about a new movie with J. J. Abrams on board? Have you read any of the SW novels or played the games? Do you despise Star Wars and wish we'd all be quiet? Sound off in the comments, and May the 4th be with you!

Footnotes:
*Stole this from my SW Pinterest board: Scruffy Looking Nerfherders Unite
**20th anniversary edition
***On VHS, the first one just bit the dust last year :(
****
Touché
*****
38 years and still going strong-Image