Unlike many of my friends that are fans of Star Wars, I did not grow up with it. Nor do I claim to have grown up with it. When Return of the Jedi came out, I was only 1. Sure, as a kid I was aware of the series. I had seen it at some point, but I didn’t have any Star Wars toys. My parents were not big fans. Hell, the first copies of the movies that I had at home were on DVD, which were released when I was already in college.
My fandom did not start until I was in a high school. Now, my memory of the exact sequence of events may be a bit off, as it was a long time ago and I am getting old. While in high school, the hype was starting to build for the prequels. The more people discussed and speculated what would be in Episode 1, the more my interest in Star Wars grew. I had never discussed any type of story this deeply before. During this time, my esteemed colleague here informed that there were more Star Wars stories out there than just the movies. And thus I was introduced to The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn.
After reading Heir to the Empire, I was hooked and quickly finished the rest of the series. As luck would have it, around this time, Lego started releasing the Star Wars sets. This was a perfect storm for me. I had always been a fan of Lego, my enthusiasm for Star Wars was increasing, and I had just started my first job and had disposable income. I snatched up every set I could, up until the Millinium Falcon was released. It cost too much for my meager income. (It should be noted that the illustrious Dunman’s purchase of said set a couple weeks ago has convinced me to finally get the set.) At some point around this time, Rogue Squadron came out for Nintendo 64. Numerous Friday nights/Saturday mornings were lost playing this game.
And then the prequels were released. Everybody has their opinions on the movies. Overall, I do not hate those movies nearly as much as many do. I suspect that is partly because of the previously mentioned fact that I did not grow up with the originals. I do not want to get into the difference between remembered quality and actual quality, but it is in my experience that things from your childhood are far worse than you remember them to be. I use Voltron as an example. Bought the first volume on DVD many years ago, tried to watch it and it was pretty unbearable. But I digress. You get the idea.
Between the prequels and now, I have stayed connected with some of the mainline Star Wars universe. I played through 2 of the 3 Lego games (did not play the Clone Wars stuff), and watched all of the Clone Wars cartoon that aired on Cartoon Network. If you have never seen this cartoon, I encourage you to do so. All of the personality that is missing from Episodes 1-3 is contained within this cartoon. Plus, all of it is currently streaming on Netflix. Currently on Disney XD is Star Wars Rebels. While, I do not think it is as good as Clone Wars, yet, it has been continuously improving (a little behind on the 2nd season). After Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and relaunched the comics through Marvel, I started reading almost all of them. So far, they have been pretty good.
When the wife and I watched the Star Wars movies before seeing The Force Awakens, we watched all 6 of them. The prequels were pretty much how I remember them. The amusing thing for me was my wife’s reaction to Episodes 4-6. I don’t think she had seen anything other than the original versions. Maybe even the original versions recorded from the television. So, it was a bit of a shock to her to see not only the Special Edition additions, but also the HD remastering that has been done with each subsequent release. Everything was too shiny for her.
A quick word on the Special Edition changes. In a nutshell, I do not care. The changes do not really change the movie for me (childhood thing, again). Star Wars is not my creation. It is not something I, or the public, own. If George Lucas wants to tweak his creations, then so be it. When you create a widely beloved movie that has technological imitations that do not exist in 20 years, then you can do whatever you want to.
So, now we have arrived to The Force Awakens. In a nutshell, I loved the movie. I have seen it 3 times in theaters. I did not really go into the movie with any preconceived notions about what the movie would be. I generally like JJ Abrams movies, so that was a plus. I had seen the main 3 trailers, but I cut myself off from watching anything else that was described with the words “new footage.” I also stayed away from any articles speculating what would be in the new movie. I did not want to walk into the theater with specific ideas of what I wanted to be in the movie. I figured that if I was going to have any issues with this movie, it would be because they did not take it in a direction that I wanted it to go. So, I just did not think about it. Yes, there are unanswered questions in the movie, but if you can believe in a mystical power, then you should to be able to believe that someone could have retrieved Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber from Cloud City in the previous 30 years.
I look forward to what the future has in store for Star Wars. I am excited for Rouge One. I am excited for Episode 8. I am excited for the future. You may see more posts from me containing that excitement. What you will not see from me though is any speculation. I am not going to try to form thoughts on what I think will appear in those movies. I am not going to try to answer the unanswered questions that were in The Force Awakens. I simply do not want to. I want to go into the next movies with a clear mind and see where the movies take me. In my experience, that is the best way to view a movie.
Also, there were a couple days between starting this post and finishing it. During of which, I did buy the Lego Millinium Falcon.