The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
~~ Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter.”
When I was seventeen I was a big comic book geek. I was a big geek period. And it was because I collected comic books that I began to hear about this new movie coming out called Star Wars. I even read the first issue before the movie came out (it took six issues to adapt the movie).
I also read magazines that told of this coming movie and it looked pretty cool to me. To tell you just what kind of geek I was, one of my biggest reasons for being excited was the music. It was by a man I knew of at fourteen (!) named John Williams who had done the music for such sixties shows as The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space and Land of the Giants. I then went on, as young as twelve and thirteen, to follow and be excited about his soundtracks for The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno and Jaws. So it came as no surprise to me how awesome and powerful the music for Star Wars tuened out to be.
So there I was, opening weekend, begging my dad to take me and my little brother to see this new space movie. He didn’t want to, but he did. But he drug his feet and by the time we got there—even though we did get to see it—we all three had to sit apart, all over that theater.
And when those opening words began to scrawl across space and then that giant giant giant star destroyer flew and flew and flew overhead—why I, and the world, was blown away. We had never seen anything like it and it changed the cinematic world forever.
I was extraordialry lucky to have just recently joined a science fiction club and some local talk show called us and asked us if any of would like to be on live television and meet Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. My name got drawn out of a hat and they wanted to know if I wanted to go.
Did I want to go???
And yes, I met all three. And Ford was a stick in the mud, and Fisher was embarrassed and Hamill was a complete and total geekie delight and I fell in love! LOL!
From that day forward I was a fan.
Now Star Wars came to disappoint me here and there through the years. For instance, I am one of the few who The Empire Strikes Back is not my favorite of the series of films. For me it was because of the two intermingled timelines. Luke’s was obviously taking place over weeks if not months, and Han and Leia’s was taking place over a day or so at most. It bothered me to no end. And I hated that Leia got with Han because since I was a geek, I know that originally Leia was a few years older than Luke, and not a twin. Being into all that stuff I found that Lucas changed his original intention of Luke and Leia getting together because women liked Han Solo. Aarrrrgghhh! And also originally Vader was not going to be Luke’s father, and he really did kill Anakin, and it was all a part of the whole John Campbell mythos that had inspired Lucas in the first place. He bent to fan pressure because fans believed—for some dumb reason—that Vader had a heart of gold beneath that armor.
And as for the second trilogy—the prequels—I am not even going to talk about cutesy Anakin and how silly it was that he was the builder of C-3PO and—shudder—Jar Jar Binks. Or how really dumb it was that Anakin turned to evil because his mom died. I mean that was it? That was it? That is why Anakin turned against the Jedi?
But I can’t help it. I still love Star Wars. I can’t forget that day when that star destroyer kept flying overhead and the meeting of R2D2 and C-3PO and the special effects and that first look at Darth Vader and the farm boy who dreamed of being something more and winding up being a hero of heros (what seventeen year old boy doesn’t dream of that??) and the amazing aliens and the languages and the Millennium Falcon as it roared out of Mos Eisley space port and—oh oh oh!—when it made that first leap to light speed! And of course the voice of Obi-Wan (Ben!!!) Kenobi saying, “use the Force Luke…! Use the Force!”
Imagine my excitement when I found out that JJ Abrams was going to make a new Star Wars movie? Although I admit to some trepidation. I for one am not thrilled with what he did to my number one love, Star Trek, especially the second one. And although the created two or three of my favorite shows—LOST, Fringe, and maybe Alias—he seems to sort of lose his way over the seasons. They start out GREAT and then peter out and go silly directions that never meet the promise of how the shows began.
But still…. He could do it. And he’s not totally in control of all three new films….
No, as time passed I only grew more and more excited. That seventeen year old in me got more and more and more excited.
And so when I discovered that last night was the premier of the new movie and not tonight like I thought—and even though no one would go with me, even my daughter—I decided to go alone.
I was rewarded. It was a complete and total blast! It was wonderful. It was not perfect, but neither was A New Hope (of course that seventeen year old knew it back when it was just called Star Wars). It could have used some tweaking here and there. I think one of the big bad guys was a little weak, especially considering he does what no Star Wars villain was ever able to do (and I’m not spoiling it!). But still…. Wow. Wow. Wow.
The magic is back.
I loved it so much, I saw it again immeditaly after. I nodded off a few times because I am not seventeen and that second showing for me wasn’t until 10:30 at night and I’d been up since about eight in the morning—the dogs had insisted. But I loved it and I am going to see it again.
And probably again.
And yes, probably again.
And another blessing? Back in the old days, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, we had to wait three years between movies. These are more like a year or so apart. It’s not six years until the end of this trilogy, but more like three. Plus all kinds of spinoffs including a young Han Solo, a Boba Fett movie (meh) and many, many more (there is even one that shows how the rebels stole the plans to the Death Star and got it to Leia at the beginning of A New Hope.
So it looks like Star Wars just might go on forever. And the seventeen year old boy can going on saying “Wow” for a long time to come.
That’s something to be grateful for. A lifetime of entertainment being swept away to magical places where the good guys win, even if you’re a farm boy who thinks that if there’s a bright center to the universe, he grew up on the planet that’s farthest from. If his dreams can come true, why not mine?