Those who know me know that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I have been one for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of seeing movies at a theater is seeing The Empire Strikes Back in the drive-in. My memories of that are a little hazy, but that was around the time when VCRs were coming out. So, my family eventually owned a copy of that movie, which I watched often. Whenever I went to visit my cousin, who is the same age as me, I would often make him watch the original Star Wars (“A New Hope”) because I didn’t own that movie. During that time, my cousin and I became big collectors of Star Wars figures. I was totally suckered by every cheesy 80s Star Wars toy commercial!
I also probably played with those figures long after I was too old to be playing with such toys… but Star Wars was such happy part of my life. Anyway, as a result of Star Wars obsession, I was so exited when Return of the Jedi came out in theaters. I had just turned 6 years old, and I loved every bit of the movie. I’ve heard people talk about how they didn’t like the Ewoks because they were like living teddy bears, but I thought they were great and they were never anything to but Ewoks to me. I even wanted an Ewok doll and would reenact this 1980s commercial where kids would ride around with the Ewok dolls on bicycles as if they were on speeder bikes! So, I think I was the perfect age for those movies.
When I was in college, the special edition versions of the Star Wars movies came out. My friends and I went to the movies just to see the trailer for the rerelease of the trilogy… and it was great!
During my senior year, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out. We had also gone to the theaters to see the trailer for that movie too and then, later, waited on line with my friends to buy tickets to see The Phantom Menace opening day. I just couldn’t believe there was going to be more movies! When I first saw the movie, I really enjoyed it.
Then I saw it a second time in the theaters and enjoyed it again (but not as much as the first time). I also went the movies and saw Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and then Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. I also enjoyed those movies. However, there was just something different about the new trilogy (the prequels). During the next couple of years, I’ve seen the new prequel movies and the special edition version of the original trilogy several more times on videotape and DVD. It was during that time where I started noticing that that some of the changes in the special edition seemed… off… from the movies that I loved and had seen so many times. I also noticed some parts of the prequels that bothered me a little bit. It was during this time I made the ultimate mistake. I started reading a lot about the Star Wars movies online, about how many people hate the prequels and some of the changes to the original trilogy in the special editions. As a result, I began to have a harder and harder time to watch the movies and enjoy them. So, I stopped watching them… except catching parts of one of the movies here and there whenever the USA or Spike channels aired a marathon of the Star Wars movies. Eventually something changed… I had a lot of fun on Star Tours (both the original and new versions), which is the Star Wars ride at Disney’s Hollywood (formally MGM) studios, as well as the whole Star Wars set up around the ride. However, after I received the Star Wars: The Complete Collection blu ray box set, I still only watched a movie or two, despite my wife encouraging me to do a Star Wars marathon and watching them all. It was around this time that I started renting seasons of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon series. The first couple of episodes were seemed more geared toward kids, but halfway though season one, I started to really get into it. (I have yet to finish the series… I’m currently on Season 3… but I’m looking forward to watching the rest.) Through that series, I started to enjoy the prequels. I got to know more about some of the background characters and began to really like some of the main characters. Now comes word that the creators of The Clone Wars are creating a new series, Star Wars: Rebels, and it looks great!
The story in that series takes place between the prequel movies and the first movie of the original trilogy. It’s also supposed to be closer in tone to the original trilogy. Now comes word that there are new Star Wars movies coming out, the first of which will take place after Return of the Jedi. Earlier this week Star Wars.com released a photograph showing returning stars of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2D2), as well as several new actors that will be appearing in Star Wars: Episode VII. When I saw the photo, something happened to me… I became excited for Star Wars again. I started feeling as if I was kid anxiously anticipating a Star Wars movie again! A few days ago, my wife and I were talking over dinner and, of course, the subject of Star Wars came up. During our conversation, she said there were several things she never realized about Star Wars (like about how the “good guys” were really rebelling against the government – the Empire – in the original trilogy). She also said she hadn’t seen the original trilogy movies in some time. So, I finally agreed to my wife’s offer to do a Star Wars movie marathon. We agreed to watch one movie a night (or so), starting with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and end with Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. As a bonus, we agreed to watch the two Ewok movies (The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: Battle for Endor) after Return of the Jedi.
This May 4th, we finished watching Return of the Jedi. When I watched the movies this time, I watched them without thinking about what I wish they were and without trying to concentrate on what was added to the special editions… and you know what? I really enjoyed the movies… all of them! I thought Ewan McGregor was great as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels, and Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine in both the prequels and Return of the Jedi is awesome. I also thought the additions in the special editions have been cleaned up so that they fit better with the original scenes (even the new parts that people on line have complained about either didn’t bother me or I didn’t notice). The blu ray versions are definitely the best way to watch Star Wars at home right now. I know the Ewok movies are not going to be great (they were made-for-tv movies, after all), but I hope they will bring back more great memories of my childhood, like the Star Wars movies did. So, this May the 4th, I rediscovered my love of Star Wars. I hope others will too. I also hope ‘fans’ become less critical of the movies and just enjoy them. I did. Now, I’m really excited for what’s next. I hope you are too. I know this post is a little different than my usual posts, but I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Please let me know what you think and what you are looking forward to from the future of Star Wars… or even let me know some of your own Star Wars memories. May the 4th be with you!