Star Wars Day

The first Star Wars movie I watched was return of the Jedi. It was at my aunt’s house, it was after our family’s Christmas celebration and almost everyone had gone home except the hardcore mahjong playing family members, a group which my parents were devout members. Most of the younger crew had left, so it was me, my siblings and my cousin, Ken. He was a big Star Wars fan, and he had been watching the movies all night and had just started watching RotJ when I joined him on the couch. It was at the point where Luke was being forced to jump into the Pit of Sarlacc, and instead, he grabs the plank, flips up, catches his lightsabre and begins kicking ass. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

I had no clue who Leia or Han were, why there was a brown hairy person walking around, or what was the deal with the guy with asthma, but I remember enjoying the whole experience. I ended up getting my own copy of RotJ, and I watched it every morning before school. When I found out that there were two more movies, I was happy beyond belief.

Someone asked me why I like Star Wars so much, and I’m not entirely sure what’s so great about the movies themselves, to be honest. Empire was one of the first movies that had the shock factor, and also the sense that the bad guys “won”. I loved the Jedi mythology, and especially, at the time, the idea that maybe I could be an undiscovered Jedi. There have been occasions where I’ve felt something guide me to do something that I couldn’t explain, but worked out for me, or I’ve convinced someone to do something that it made no sense for them to do. I’m pretty sure I’m not a Jedi though.

Star Wars was my first foray into sci-fi, which would go on to dominate my reading choices in my teen years. The idea of being able to travel to new places was something I never wanted to do, because I was too afraid, but I enjoyed reading about and watching others do it. I think Asimov was also the first author who made me stop and think after reading a story, and even now, many of his stories have shaped the way that I am. Even though I’m human (at least I think so, I’ve never taken the replicant test), his laws of robotics played a big part in my moral beliefs.

The community around Star Wars has also been incredible for me. Joining uni and finding such a large group of like-minded people made those years of my life so comforting. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t some weirdo who liked reading strange stories and watching bizarre movies. There were people who had seen the things I had seen, and they had so many suggestions for what else I should watch and read, including introducing me to Terry Pratchett.

The movies themselves were also amazing for their time in terms of special effects. The fight between Vader and Kenobi in A New Hope probably seems so slow-paced compared to fights like Anakin, Obi-Wan and General Grievous now, but lightsabres were just so cool. Seeing Darth Vader fling objects at Luke seemed so magic. Emperor Palatine’s force lightning. I was also really into the books at the time, and as they weren’t limited by a special effects budget, they were just so fun to read. A mix between space battles, politics, religion, philosophy, romance, it felt like a good mix of everything. I remember in I think it was Shadows of the Empire, or potentially one of the Thrawn trilogy, where Luke feels remorse over having killed millions of people when he blew up the first Death Star (oops, spoilers….), and it was the first time it occurred to me that not all people who work for the bad guys are bad.
I still don’t know what makes the Star Wars films so amazing as movies, and if you think about it, there are some pretty weird tropes (Leia being a Princess for no reason – warning TV tropes link). But for me, it’s what they represent in my life, the way that they have played a part in shaping my life, that gives me such fond memories of them. And Jedi are cool.If you are curious, here are the film cels we received in the blu ray box:

 

 

 

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