Star Wars, man. Star Wars. Now, if there’s a movie series that has more of a fan-base, I’d like to know about it, because it seems like it’s quite possibly the most popular bit of fantasy this side of space. I say series, but I should just say “entity.” George Lucas’ Star Wars is way more than just a series of movies, as I’ve found. It’s emotional. It’s something that seems to connect people from every walk of life. It’s a movement, and it started 40 years ago.
I never liked Star Wars. I mean, I tried? I tried. I TRIED. I swear. I’ve never been one for sci-fi/fantasy. I remember one night a long time ago, I’m talking I was in my late teens here, my dad and I stayed up late and watched two of the movies from the first trilogy, and honestly, I don’t think I really understood what was happening. Also, I kept drifting in and out of sleep. Needless to say, it was hard to follow along.
For some reason, even after (sort of) watching a couple of the movies, I was really against the whole idea. I maintained that I wasn’t into the whole “lame” fantasy thing, and the whole “stupid” future, space, light saber bit. I just wasn’t into it, and looking back, I don’t think I gave it a fair shot, even though I thought I was trying.
After my half-assed introduction to Star Wars, I never really cared to dive in any further. I moved on with my life, and pretty much hadn’t heard of or seen anything else Star Wars-y again until 2013, when I met and fell head over heels for my husband, Michael.
Michael and Major are both REALLY into Star Wars. Like, REALLY into. They have all sorts of Star Wars paraphernalia and clothes, and all of the movies. They get so hyped to play with the franchise’s Legos or action figures, and are always excited to watch and rewatch the movies on any given day. Two years ago, they even convinced me to dress up in Star Wars themed costumes with them for Halloween! (PS: I really enjoyed being Princess Leia. I have to confess. Plus, our whole tribe got so many compliments centering around BEST COSTUMES EVER. I always do like a good ego stroke…)
I wasn’t thrilled that they were such mega fans, to say the least. I didn’t just not like it when they put the movies on, or talked about it, I completely rejected it. If it was on the TV, I wouldn’t be in the room. I got really annoyed and frankly, pissed. I don’t know why. I just did. I’m weird, what can I say.
You know what? I guess part of me actually secretly wanted to understand their affection and their passion for all things Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie. I wanted to understand why they felt that the robots, or droids, were “cool,” what made the Stormtroopers so intimidating, and what made The Emperor, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren so menacing. I just didn’t get it, and I didn’t feel included. Maybe that’s the reasoning behind my vehement dismissal. I hate not feeling part-of.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, my family and I ventured down to Walt Disney World in sunny Florida, for a fun-filled week of Disney adventures. We were all beyond excited. We spent our second day there at the Hollywood Studios park, home to The Tower of Terror, Muppet Vision 3D, Toy Story Mania, and of course, all things Star Wars. Queue my obscene sighs of exhaustion already.
A day of Star Wars. Whatever. My boys, now including Jack (Sahwors? Sahwors? Sahwors?), are huge fans, and as a mother, my life is lived solely to sacrifice for them. (Can you just HEAR that violin? The drama of it all…)
Well, I didn’t hate it. I actually got into it. REALLY into it… I think what actually got me was when I heard a stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, in a militaristic cadence. It was distant. It was quiet. But it was there. I knew it. I screeched my stroller to a stop (if those little wheels could screech), and Michael and Major followed suit. What IS that? I know I hear something…
Then I noticed people stopping and turning around, getting their phones out, clearly either taking photos or snapping it away. Whew, it wasn’t just me hearing the noise. The marching was getting louder and louder, the crowd was getting bigger and bigger, and my family started to get amped right along side me. Thats when I saw them. We all did. The Stormtroopers.
They were huge, and seriously intimidating. They quietly, other than the rhythm of their steps, moved as one, parting the crowd as they went. They made their way up onto the stage that I didn’t even notice before, and joined a chrome Stormtrooper, who I later learned was Captain Phasma, a character from the newest of the Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens. It was INTENSE. It was COOL. But it was time for our lunch reservation, and we had to get moving.
After lunch, we found ourselves back at that same stage as before, and this time, a lot of the recognizable characters were up there, including Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2, BB-8, Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers and Captain Phasma. Once again, it was pretty sweet. I felt something inside me stir. Like all of the excitement of everyone around me created some sort of energy that I couldn’t ignore, though I tried.
I could see the sheer joy on Major’s face, and it was mirrored in Michael’s and Jack’s, too. Everyone loved the show, and frankly, I cant’ say I didn’t. Michael and Major went off and did the Star Tours Star Wars ride, while Jack and I walked around and met Olaf from Frozen, which was really fun, but I have to say, I was pretty jealous of the other boys, after hearing what all they had to say about the ride.
Surprisingly, I was aching to go see the rest of the Star Wars things they had to offer. What was going on? This wasn’t me… We went and saw a short movie at Star Wars Launch Bay, basically chronicling the journey of making Star Wars movies, comics, cartoons, march and more.
It talked about that emotional connection I referenced earlier, one that these people who work on the movies or for the franchise in any capacity have. They grew up loving the characters, calling them friends or foes. They didn’t just like the movies, they were part of them.
They inspired them. They made these men and women the people they are today, and it was really quite moving learning about their quest to carry the fantasy forward to new generations.
We also watched another short film in another area of the Launch Bay which basically summed up the entire series, episodes 1 through 7. By the end of the nearly 10 minute film, I was SO into it, I couldn’t even IMAGINE myself like this. There’s no way I could have pictured myself on the edge of my seat, watching STAR WARS, totally engrossed in the characters, the plot, the whole thing. There’s no way. What was happening to me?
Basically what I just said to you here, everything above, THAT was the start of it all. The start of my adventure into a galaxy far, far away. A shameless adventure of binging and Googling and sorting out the web of plots and characters that is Star Wars.
So the week that we returned home from Disney, I decided it would only be right to watch all of the movies, in order from Episode 1 through Episode 7. I actually debated with my husband about how to do this, since I had originally wanted to go the way of in order meaning, in order from release date. So Episodes 4-6 first, then 1-3, and then finally rounding out with 7, but looking back, I’m more than pleased that I chose to follow Michael’s direction. I mean, why wouldn’t I have? He is a Star Wars guru, after all. Who am I to question his prowess in all things Jedi, Droid, Empire and beyond?
So it began. I watched episodes 1-7 in one and a half weeks, and then I couldn’t even help myself.
I took Jack to his FIRST movie at a movie theatre! We went and saw Rogue One, A Star Wars Story. I mean, we had to cover all bases, right? Wow.
So, during my near 2-week immersion course in all things Star Wars, I learned some things. I learned I didn’t hate it, and I learned that it’s addicting. I learned that I – along with a lot of the country/world – have an emotional connection with the characters, and long to watch it again. So without further ado…
15 thoughts I had while becoming a Star Wars fan:
1. Really? The Death Star can be completely destroyed by TWO LASERS?! (Explained later in Rogue One. Clearly I wasn’t the only one was like, “Uh huh, yeah. Right.”
2. The second Death Star sucked in design too, apparently. Yeah it’s bigger but clearly still wasn’t that hard to destroy. Dummies. And of course, that Star Killer was pretty easily destroyed. Boom goes the dynamite.
3. The family web of Padamé, Anakin, Luke and Leia, and the uncle and aunt and royalty who raised the kids really isn’t as confusing as I’d thought. I thought I was going to be confused AF, but it really wasn’t that bad.
4. The Force is AWESOME. I want the force…
5. Yoda is so wise. He teaches us so much about how to live our lives. He teaches us to commit to what you want out of life, and go for it. Don’t do things half-way, and don’t waste time. Just DO IT.
“Do or do not… there is no try.” – Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
6. Several times through out the movies, I’ve picked up on another important life lesson. You can’t succeed in anything without putting forth hard work, and sometimes there may be failure.
“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi- Wan Kenobi in A New Hope
7. The characters were way different than I thought they’d be. I mean, I had them totally different in my imagination. Example: Han Solo isn’t as cool or badass as I had assumed he would be. Though he’s still cool… I still like him. I just thought he’d be more… awesome? I guess I didn’t expect Luke to be cooler than Han.
I also didn’t expect to really feel sadness, empathy or any care whatsoever toward Darth Vadar. When I learned how he was lured to the dark side, why he chose it, and then to watch him slowly change and his reaction to his change… It was beyond sad. I cried, and cried. Yeah, I’m pregnant, but man… He loved his wife and unborn child(ren) SO MUCH that he was willing to do anything, even sell his soul, to save them. He hated who he became, and I’m sorry, but I looked at Darth Vadar way differently after seeing who he was an Anakin Skywalker. I feel for the dude, basically.
8. All anyone should want out of life is to have someone love them the way Chewbacca loves Han Solo. Find people to be in your life who believe in you, who support you and who love you and want the best for you, no matter what. Chewie was fiercely loyal. Find people like Chewie to be your bestie.
9. Speaking of Chewbacca, he is the best. He’s so dang emotional, so I can totally relate. I want a Chewbacca in my life. I think I’ll pretend my cat Markus is like Chewbacca…
10. Can’t ignore what’s in your heart? DON’T! Does what you’re about to do seem scary? Go for it. Does it seem impossible? GO FOR IT! I mean, listen to C-3PO:
“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.
“Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back
11. What you think, say and believe will impact your present and your future. Invest your time in things that will further your dreams and your cause.
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace.
12. Kylo Ren is a big whiny baby, throwing his tantrums… BUT has the coolest bad-guy voice there is. It really is scary.
13. Don’t sleep on the droids. They’re REALLY cool, and aren’t merely mindless robots. Especially R2D2 and BB-8. These two beeping and booping little guys are somehow cuddly and adorable, and I love them so much. I love how they’re so human, and have the ability to show such emotion. Plus, they get stuff done, and they are tough. C3PO is kind of annoying… Sorry.
14. Sometimes we just need to let it go…Basically, what I’ve learned in life and was reiterated in these movies is that here is no room for hate, fear, and regret in our lives. It bogs us down, and creates resentment which usually ALWAYS creates a personal jail for your mind. At the end, we just need to let it go so that we may finally be free.
“Let go of your hate.” – Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.
15. WHO ARE REY’S PARENTS???? HOW DOES SHE HAVE THE FORCE?!?!!?
So how did YOU become a Star Wars fan? Were you born into it, like Major and Jack? Or were you made, like me? I’ve become fascinated by the stories people tell of their lives, their journeys and how they connect to this epic tale of galactic proportions.