I was probably ten when Mom sent my sister and I to see Star Wars. “Watch for Han Solo,” she said as she pressed money in to the palm of my hand for admission and candy. “What’s Han Solo,” I asked. “You’ll see,” was all she said.
I remember being blown away. I remember wanting to go into hyperspace. I remember coming home from the movie hopped-up on sugar and adrenalin, recounting every last detail to Mom, as though she hadn’t seen the movie. As though she wasn’t the one who sent us.
The first time I saw Star Wars was the very same day I fell in love with the space pirate who made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. I easily developed a fondness for the other characters too: the droids, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Obi Wan.
Our friend Tina fell in love with Luke Skywalker. Not me. Even at ten, I found Luke whiny and petulant. Luke and I did have one thing in common as I grew closer in age to him. I lived in what I perceived to be the equivalent of Tattooine – the place that is farthest away from any bright centre of the universe. I, like Luke, longed for escape.
I also wanted to be Princess Leia. Who wouldn’t? She rescued her rescuers, could handle a blaster and she put Han Solo in his place; not an easy task at all, I would imagine. In the history of Princesses (most of them Disney), Leia is the only princess I can get behind. And yes, the irony of Leia joining the ranks of the Disney Princesses in 2012 was a bitter, bitter pill for me to swallow.
“A long time ago” was the real clincher. I tried to wrap my ten-year-old brain around one nagging question: how had we devolved so massively? Where were the land speeders?! The space travel?! Ships like the Millennium Falcon?!! The blasters and the Lightsabers?! I truly believed in A long time ago and in galaxies far, far away.
Confession: I still do.
Fast forward to some random month in 1980. We were sitting in Dairy Queen, eating burgers and fries. “I can’t believe Darth Vader is Luke’s father.” It was someone sitting in a booth behind us. They didn’t stand up and ask, “Is there anyone here who hasn’t seen The Empire Strikes Back? I’m about to casually give away the biggest news of the century.” They just said it. Out loud.
We couldn’t get enough of Return of the Jedi when it came out in ’83. We skipped our way down the aisle of the Yarmouth Cineplex many, many Saturday afternoons during Jedi’s first run. We never tired of watching our heroes blow up the second Death Star, squash The Emperor and his cronies and restore balance in the universe.
The second trilogy (in my mind at least) is a blemish on the universe and shall not be mentioned here except to say I’ll take Ewoks over Jar Jar ANY DAY!
And so Lucas signed his Empire over to Disney.
I’ve admittedly been a little skeptical of the upcoming Star Wars chapter, but I, like many fans, am looking to J.J. Abrams as my Only Hope.
The other day, while waiting for my friend Janelle to arrive on a 5:45 pm flight from Calgary, I checked my e-mail on my phone and found a FaceBook message from Kate that said, simply: “Especially for Marni Amirault. Wait for it …”. I clicked on the link, and watched this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngElkyQ6Rhs
Goose bumps. Tears. I’m not even sure I need to see the movie now.
Yeah … right …