May the Fourth Be With You

shallow focus photo of stormtrooper
Photo by Craig Adderley on

I was five years old when I saw Star Wars sometime in the spring/summer of 1977. My parents took my brother and I to a local drive-in theater to see it. I have only the vaguest memories of that time: I recall being in the back seat of the car. I have a memory of Darth Vader seeming scary. Beyond that, nothing sticks. The movie really settled into my mind a year or two later, when it was re-released in theaters. This happened in 1978 and 1979, and I’m not sure which time I saw the film in theaters. By then I was six or seven years old and was taken with the film and the marketing that surrounded it.

I really got to know Star Wars when it came to H.B.O. I don’t know how many times I watched it when it first came out, but it seemed to play constantly. If I had to guess, I’d say I saw the movie two dozen times at least during the inital months it was released. I thought it was so cool that I could watch that movie in the comfort of my own home.

Strangely, I have no memory of seeing The Empire Strikes Back although I know I saw it in a theater when it was released. I recall talking about it with my brother. I do remember seeing Return of the Jedi as part of a birthday party with friends. My brother couldn’t go and when I got home, I excitedly recounted to him the entire story with no thought of spoilers.

Then for sixteen years there was nothing. When it was announced that George Lucas was going to do a new trilogy of prequels, I was thrilled. I remember watching as those trailers were released online and being blown away by what I was seeing. I noted in my diary on May 18, 1999, “First public screenings of Star Wars: Episode I begin tonight at midnight.” My excitement built to a fever pitch.

Two days later, I wrote: “Left work at 3:30pm today so that I could steop at Century theater on the way home and pick up Star Wars tickets. I have them now (I’m listening to the original soundtrack) and I am so excited! The anticipation is building by the minute. I haven’t see it but I wonder what I will write here when I get back from the movie tonight.”

Later that night, having returned from the movie, I wrote, “11:50pm. Back from Star Wars: Episode I and it was terrific! I felt like a little kid as the movie started up and I was entralled for the entire show. It was great fun, great visual effects–makes me want to run out and become a Jedi! I can’t wait for the next one, now two years off.”

When it comes to movies, I don’t ask for much. I’m looking to escape and Star Wars is a great escape. I’m one of the few people I know who really liked the most recent trilogy, and am of the opinion that the best Star Wars movie since the original is the anthology film Rogue One.

When time came to introduce my own kids to Star Wars, I was once again as excited as I was when I was a kid myself, and I think they caught my enthusiasm. And while I never got into The Manadalorian or The Book of Boba Fett, I am very much looking forward to Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi beginning on May 27.

Written on May 2, 2022.

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