“SAM, STOP TALKING ABOUT STAR WARS!” Here’s why I like it so much.
I grew up on Star Wars. I was introduced to the saga in the fifth grade, a few months before Revenge of the Sith was due to be released in theaters. Needless to say, I was hooked. I collected newspaper clippings – most notably the front cover of The Stars & Stripes Pacific (I lived on a military base in Japan at the time), which featured Darth Vader’s face and the words “The End of a Trilogy”, or something like that.
When my dad bought the original trilogy on DVD, I held onto that gold little box like it was my life; this was something that was a part of me now. I watched the films over and over again and I always marveled at and admired the scene in A New Hope where Luke stares out at the twin suns of Tatooine, longing for adventure. Not long after I watched the saga, I roamed the hallways of my elementary school, breathing into my hand as if I were the notorious, black armored Sith Lord, spouting out phrases such as the iconic “Luke, I am your father…” and “…search your feelings, you know it to be true.” The films made me feel like I was on my own adventures; made me feel like I could shape my own life – which I eventually learned was a real life thing, the ability to choose your destiny. The films definitely sparked the imagination of this wide-eyed and idealistic 10 year-old.
I wanted a lightsaber so badly. (I never got one.)
I was introduced to the wonderful world of theatre in the fifth grade by my wonderful teacher, Mr. Cal Grossheusch (Mr. G!). I played the lead role, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, in a play he wrote with one of his friends, titled The Case of the Missing Nose (you can tell the entire plot from the title). I loved it; I loved being on stage. (It was at this point in my life that I realized I was also very much a lover of the spotlight, something I eventually grew out of.) Participating in a show for the first time inspired me to want to write my own plays.
Guess what I wanted to write first? A Star Wars play. I collaborated with the boys in my class (and one other girl), and as I was making the cast list, I remember stating that I really, really wanted to play Luke Skywalker. I wanted to fly an X-Wing fighter, wield a majestic lightsaber, and beat the bad guys. Of course, some of the other boys wanted to play Luke Skywalker. I fervently demanded that I play Luke, because little girls should be able to play kickass people.** I think I also wanted to play Leia, too (because she is literally the Queen of Everything). They were twins! However, we did eventually “assign” the role to the only other girl helping plan this out. Though the play was never written (teaching me a very valuable lesson about planning before executing), the idea and inspiration still stuck with me. I guess you can say that Star Wars (and Harry Potter, of course) was one of the reasons why I wanted to get into screenwriting in the first place, to give people the same inspiration I was given back then.
Revenge of the Sith came and went. I remember feeling such a rush watching it. It was the first time any new movie premiered on the Naval Base I lived on the same day it was released in the United States. The film was a big deal on base; all the showings were sold out, but my parents managed to get tickets for an afternoon showing. I cried when I watched Obi-Wan and Anakin fight. I felt chills when Darth Vader broke out of the binds on his gurney, mourning the loss of Padme (who deserved so much more – but that is for another post, another time).
The void after the film was released was so real. I immersed myself in the extended universe after that, occasionally reading articles on Wookiepedia to get up to speed on what Disney would eventually consider non-canonical.
Tonight, I watched the trailer for Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I felt oddly nervous and excited at the same time; for the past few months I’ve been going crazy, looking for news and new footage to fawn about to tide myself over before the film is released this December. When the first trailer premiered during the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this year, I was beside myself in the Student Union, flailing and flapping my arms everywhere, attempting to suppress my excitement in public. Tonight was no different; I rushed home as soon as I heard the trailer was released and watched it on the projector my apartment-mate rented from the university library.
I won’t say too much about the trailer itself – it’s something you have to experience, especially if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan (well you probably watched it about 50,000,000 times by the time you’ve stumbled upon this article if you are a die-hard fan). It is definitely an awakening, no, a re-awakening, a herald for fans to fly back to that galaxy far, far, away. Everything looks so real, and it truly does feel like the Star Wars universe, lightyears better than what Lucas tried to provide with the prequels.
I felt like I was that ten year old who wanted a lightsaber and to be Luke Skywalker again; the ten year-old who held the original trilogy box set in my hands for the first time. With my heart racing, hands flailing, chills running down my spine, endorphins filling up every fiber of my being; I can safely say that “Chewie, we’re home.”
(However, the question still stands: where is Luke Skywalker?)
TL;DR: I really love Star Wars. I am a big nerd. Please watch Daisy Ridley (who is playing Rey in TFA) crying over the trailer on the Facebook. Then you will see how I feel. I still need a lightsaber.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on December 18th, 2015, and December 17th in select cinemas.
** – This was probably the birth of Feminist!Sami. You can also say it was when I wanted to be Ash Ketchum when my friends and I pretended we were in the Pokemon world when I was in kindergarten/the first grade.
***ALSO, I’M SORRY BUT I’M CRYING OVER THIS I LOVE HAN AND LEIA SO MUCH.