Today is May 4th, Star Wars day. Today is the day when the internet is overflowing with Star Wars memes, people are tweeting and updating their Facebook statuses to “May the fourth be with you,” Star Wars TV show trailers are released, and people all over the world gather to watch their favorite of the six movies.
I remember when I first saw Star Wars. I was about eight or nine years old when I discovered the VHS box set pushed to the corner of the movie shelf, which was overflowing with my countless Disney and “The Land Before Time” tapes. I scanned the cover before holding it up, inquisitively, to my mom. She didn’t tell me anything about it, but granted me permission to watch it (my parents were always very strict about what I was and was not allowed to view. I was never allowed to watch a PG-13 movie until I was 13).
I remember popping the first movie, “A New Hope,” into the VHS player in my basement, turning off all the lights, and sitting directly in front of the TV. I remember going into the trilogy not knowing what to expect. I remember being completely enthralled.
It was a December evening and my mother came downstairs and told me to pause the movie, that we were going to go to Christmas in the Park, as we do every year. Of course, I argued — why did we have to go right then? I was right at the part of “A New Hope” where Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia were currently trapped in the garbage room with the walls slowly closing in. I had to keep watching. But, of course, I lost the argument. I paused the movie and got into the car, but throughout the multiple-hours-long escapade to see Christmas lights I’d seen a thousand times before, my mind was with my heroes who were currently trapped on the Death Star.
I devoured each movie, one after the other. It was like nothing my little grade-school self had ever seen before. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’d talk endlessly about my favorite parts and my favorite characters and about how cute Han Solo is and debate with people who said “The Empire Strikes Back” wasn’t the best of the three.
Despite my enthusiasm for the original trilogy, I didn’t get around to seeing the prequels until years later when I rented them from Family Video in sixth or seventh grade. And me, being an emotional and hopelessly romantic preteen girl, got caught up in the love story of Anakin and Padme — so much so that I cried at the end of “Revenge of the Sith” and proceeded to spend my free time making tribute videos on Windows Movie Maker. (The prequels also sparked a short-lived obsession with the “super cute” Hayden Christensen, but that’s beside the point).
When I think about Star Wars, I think of the many fond memories I’ve made over the years which center around the galaxy far, far away. I think of the time my friend and I attempted (without success) to watch all six movies in one night in middle school; the many movie nights with many different people where we watched “A New Hope” or “The Empire Strikes Back;” the time my best friend who, as a junior in high school, had never seen the original trilogy and I made it my personal mission to introduce her to the movies; the time I was scrambling on layout night to write a story about Disney purchasing Lucasfilm for my high school newspaper.
Star Wars has a big place in my heart.
Last week when the cast for Episode VII was announced, I enthusiastically raved with my friends at the dining hall. Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis (who I am excitedly expecting to play some sort of alien creature) are just some of those who will be starring alongside Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. And, call me crazy, but I have high expectations for this new Star Wars trilogy and the various spin-offs that will come with it. Disney does great things and I am excited for the future of Luke, Han, Leia, et al. December 18, 2015 can’t come soon enough.
Star Wars is awesome, and may the fourth be with you.