I distinctly remember my first two experiences with Star Wars.
The first occurred when I was very little, and it’s so fuzzy I’m not even sure if it’s a real memory or not. I couldn’t sleep late one night and went out to my mother who was watching TV in the living room; it was only later that I realized I think it must have been the beginning of Return of the Jedi that she was watching.
I remember there were subtitles for certain characters, looking down into a pit of some kind. Then, a tall man in all black with helmet and cape stood waiting with rows of his troops: “That’s the bad guy,” she said. A man in hooded robes descended down the shuttle ramp to join him: “That’s the really bad guy,” she said.
My real entrance to Star Wars fandom came one summer when I was 8 or so. My older sister and I had a babysitter that we shared with another family of kids about our age. Her name was Jessica (I think we called her Jessi), and she tried to make us speak Spanish and gave us all mixtapes of her favorite Queen songs. Basically she was the coolest.
She wanted to show us one of her favorite movies and popped in a VHS tape of The Empire Strikes Back. (Jessi had a thing for Harrison Ford.) We didn’t really know what was going on in the movie. A guy was in a cave on a snowy planet. We started asking her questions.
“Shhh,” she said. “He’s about to use the Force.”
And the guy stretched out his hand, hanging upside down, and pulled his…”lightsaber,” she said it was called, out of the snow using his mind.
I had no idea what the Force was, but I sure wanted to.
We watched the Original Trilogy so many times that summer. It was True Love. ROTJ was my favorite (then and now). When they were re-released as the Special Editions a few years later, my sister and I saw them in theaters. I then discovered the EU books in middle school.
Basically, Star Wars has become a life-long passion for me, and I’m so excited that the Sequel Trilogy will get to inspire a whole new generation.