A small, but morbid Star Wars geek has been a part of my psyche since I was ten years old. This is my story:
I remember quite clearly, how the Easter basket that lay on our dining room table picked up the light from the nearby window as its topmost gift shined across the room. I cannot remember what else my mother had got for me that year as an Easter gift and, likewise, I cannot remember much of 1996, but I can remember watching A New Hope on VHS for the very first time.
My mother had thought it incredulous that her only child had not viewed one of the most classic films of all time and had bought it for me “just because.” Her single gift began the flame that flickered and kindled until it roared to life in the early 2000s.
The music was what first caught my attention. Looking back, it seemed that I had already known the music, but was finally able to put it in context. I was then annoyed at the film because I was not able to read all of the beginning story (VHS = no wide screen), but afterward, my mouth hung open for two hours.
Threepio’s movements and accent, R2’s likability and near-human qualities, Darth Vader’s echoed breathing, Princess Leia’s crescent rolls,
the way Luke looked as he stared at the triple sunset…I could go on forever. I was completely enamored with everything I saw.
After my first viewing of ANH, I began to watch it once a week. I adored Princess Leia, was in love with Luke Skywalker and was scheming to get my own R2-D2 as my weekly viewings turned into daily viewings. By my eleventh birthday, I obtained Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and with the “full story” before me, I was poised to make a full leap into the Star Wars universe. Unfortunately, there was need for hesitation.
Star Wars was (and, really, still is) for the nerdy kids and, if that was not bad enough, The X-Files was taking up all the obsessive love I had to give. With adolescence’s cliques and challenges standing before me, there was no way I could hide both X-Files and Star Wars fandom from that table. So, as much as I loved my beautiful VHS trilogy, my love of Star Wars was put on hold.
The year 1999 brought high school and The Phantom Menace simultaneously. While I was indubitably excited about having the chance to see a Star Wars film on the big screen and there was some noise being made about the new film amongst my peers, my desire to remain a part of my clique won over my desire to see TPM and I let the opening weekend pass without a flutter.
Poor critiques of the film, most regarding “that kid” and some apparently annoying character called “Jar-Jar” kept me from seeing TPM on my own and, as the film went out of the theatres, my desires for Star Wars seemed to fade as well.
By chance, however, my neighbors, always keen to be the first to have every new technology and every new film, obtained TPM on DVD and, one night while babysitting their kid, I enticed the youngster to watch the film with me. To be honest, there were moments I forgot my temporary ward was there.
I loved everything I saw. From the opening, to the new worlds, to Amidala’s wardrobe and especially to Liam Neeson. With dozens of people and all the media “telling” me Jar-Jar was irritating, I was truly expecting Carrot Top on speed, but was pleasantly surprised that Jar-Jar did not live up to my worst expectations; young anakin also was not that bad (at least, for the first viewing). The podrace, the music, the species and the battles all enthralled me and re-kindled that old Star Wars fire that had lain dormant, unloved and unwanted, for years and…I wanted more.
Thankfully, Attack of the Clones was just around the corner and I had grown old enough to know how I wanted to be viewed as a person. The bore of high school was nearly complete and I had left its cliques and nonsense when I started half-days, opting to begin collegiate work sooner rather than later. Overall, I was a completely different person than I was when TPM was shown and, when AotC came to theatres, I made certain that I saw it that opening weekend.
As expected, I was floored. Watching Star Wars on the big screen was everything I thought it could be and much, much more. And, I admit it…I fell for Anakin, hard. I went back to see it on my own the next week and the week after that as well. In all, I saw AotC seven times in the theatres, the most for any film (runners up are Harry Potter and Chambers of Secrets and Revenge of the Sith, both at 6 times). The best part was that I did not care whether anyone knew I was going to see Star Wars, again, and that, more than anything made watching the film even better.
After AotC, I began my first dips into the Star Wars community and entered the realm of fan fiction. I just needed more. I wanted more of the story, more Anakin, more Padme, more Obi-Wan. More, more, more! I bought posters and read stories and bought music and read the stories while I listened to the music with posters in the background. At one point, I even began making notes to my own fic. The more I read, the more I learned and the more I learned the more I loved, but like years earlier, another obsession moved Star Wars out of favor: the aforementioned Harry Potter.
Potter took hold and, once again, there was no room for Star Wars, but Potter unfettered the deep nerd within me. For once, I was no longer afraid of what others would think if I were found reading fantasy or visiting science fiction forums and, for the first time, I felt like myself.
By the time Revenge of the Sith was released, however, my Potter love had faded and I was primed for Star Wars. Wearing my very own cloak, I dragged my best friend to a midnight showing of RotS where I was ashamedly underdressed as far fans went and was again, floored by what I saw.
To this day, I still do not care what others may say: RotS is one of the best of the films. In fact my “order” goes Episodes 5, 3, 4, 6, 2, 1; 4 and 6 sometimes trade places, but that is almost always the order. Needless to say, I loved Episode 3. I went on to see it five other times, bringing friends some times and going alone to sit in the second row where I always loved to sit, other times; I bought the soundtrack immediately after Viewing #3.
To say that RotS revamped my Star Wars love is a bit of an understatement. All that went on with AotC was just a drop in the bucket in comparison. I spent so much time reveling in the Star Wars universe, watching the films, visiting forums, reading fan fiction, etc., that others began to take notice and tried to drag me away from it. My friends even threatened intervention if they found me with a Star Wars book and so I lessened the time I spent with the universe, allowing the love to fade…slightly.
Since RotS, I took steps into the working world, walked across a baccalaureate stage and found Jesus, all the while, my adoration of Star Wars was at the back of my mind, pulling me towards “old” websites and occasionally reading things I had told my friends I had given up for the time being.
In the past year, I found Wookieepedia and with it, the desire to finally know everything there is to know about Star Wars. I find myself wanting to read the novels, not just because a film of similar name is in theatres, but because I honestly want to know what happens between and beyond the films. Editing Wookieepedia here and there, entails hours of reading and learning about the expanded universe and makes me want to learn even more through reading the books and comics that make up the entirety of the expanded universe.
I have a very long way to go (I just started reading Episode 1 and, as of this writing, Luke and Obi-Wan had just met Han Solo), but this time around, I doubt my adoration will be fading much.
I know many fans believe that the prequel films were the worst thing that has ever happened to any series, at any point in time, but I beg to differ. The prequels brought an entirely new generation to Star Wars in a manner that could never have happened without new faces and new stories. I know that had I not seen a young Obi-Wan, the “real” Anakin Skywalker and Yoda battle with a lightsaber, I would never have bothered to learn more about Star Wars and the expanded universe.
In all, I love the story. I love the idea of the Jedi, the Sith and the Force, and I love the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker.
My goals here are simple. I am not a rabid, super-fan of Star Wars and I doubt I will ever be. I am not a toy collector (except for Darth Tater because it was just so cute!) and I am just not that into comics. I just want to let loose a little and take hold of that which has had such a hold on me, since I was a child.