The original Star Wars trilogy started with “A New Hope” back in 1977. The story goes that my mom and dad saw it at the drive in a year later when I was 3 weeks old. I suspect that the force was strong with me, since I remember nothing of my first viewing, but something got me hooked early on.
From there, the countless hours of lightsabers, Darth Vader, X-Wings and more as a kid made some strong bonds with friends that last until this day. I never did see any of the originals in the theatres, but I’m pretty sure I saw it every time it was on TV and I remember the day I bought my first copy of the trilogy on VHS (look it up kids). This was the “restored” one, not the updated one where Han shoots second (though that comes later 8^D).
Oh, did I mention how I actually took out the Death Star using nothing by my will power, a simple two button joystick, crazy piloting skills, more hours than I can recollect, and mastery of keyboard macros to pilot my ship. Technically I would have died in the subsequent explosion, because my engines had gone out as I was pulling away from the exhaust port, but I like to think that I drifted far enough away for a ship to come rescue me. 8^D
When the prequel trilogy started, it was 1999. I was well on my way into college and most of those friends from the early days were still in the area. So it wasn’t a question of IF we were going to see Star Wars, but when. That when would be 3 times opening night (midnight, 4PM, 7PM). It would also mean doing an epic camp out the week before just to buy the tickets to see the movie three times opening night. This was before “camping out” for movies was a cool thing to do (I suspect we Star Wars fans could have pioneered it). It was also before camping out got too extreme (in my opinion). The night of new friends, volleyball using toilet paper and two palm trees, battery operated blenders, and the never ending chain of extension cords and multi-prongs still comes fresh upon recollection.
Then there was opening night itself! Having dressed for the occasion (with tons of others) it turned into this crazy family reunion of sorts. I remember walking around, cheering with other people, having my picture taken with a kid or two (Darth Vader is always the coolest), and cooking some form of food on a disposable hibachi grill behind the movie theatre building (since that’s where this particular line was wrapping). It makes for great “war stories”. I was king of the world because a special woman (who would later become my wife) made the trek down for one of the showings as well.
Today marks a new chapter in the stories to be told. The next trilogy of Star Wars movies begins with The Force Awakens. I’m excited to be going tonight to a special screening with some friends and a whole bunch of Star Wars fans. I’m doubly excited to see things again on Saturday with my family, and seeing my kids’ reaction to seeing Star Wars for the first time on the BIG screen. I’m sure we’ll be having plenty of memories and fun, and more stories for them to start making through the next batch of movies… and beyond.
What are your Star Wars stories and memories? Where were you when first saw the movies? Keep the legacy alive and share!