Later tonight, my wife and I are going to see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in the theater. This will actually be the first new Star Wars movie I have seen in the theater since "Phantom Menace" back in 1999.
I have actually had a turbulent time with Star Wars throughout my life.
My first memory of Star Wars was actually the trailer for the movie back in 1977. My father and I were watching a movie and it came on during the previews. The lasers and the spaceships and the special effects made both our jaws drop. We turned to each other and said "Oh, we have to see this."
And we did. My father took me to see the movie at North Park when I was eight years old. It was the summer of 1977.
Like the rest of the world, I fell in love immediately. I wanted all the stuff. I remember collecting toy proofs of purchase to send away to get a Boba Fett action figure. I'm sure I watched the "Star Wars Holiday Special" on CBS which probably at the time seemed good (again I was under the age of 10), but I remember nothing of it except for the cartoon with Boba Fett in it.
When "Empire Strikes Back" came out in 1980, I had my first experience with a spoiler. I was going to see the movie that weekend, but before that I was at a Cub Scout event with another kid who had already seen it. He told me that Darth Vader was Luke's dad. It was still an amazing movie!
In 1983, everyone was ready to see what we thought was just going to be the next chapter in the Star Wars sage, not the last! I went with my dad and some of his friends to a theater in Norman to see "Return of the Jedi". I remember the line was wrapped around the block. Back then movies were shown in just one theater, so you had to wait for that one to get out before you could see the next one.
Nowadays, they just open every theater in the cinema, until they're full.
After Return of the Jedi, my love of Star Wars waned as nothing new was forthcoming. My toys disappeared, and I think they might have actually been buried in my backyard.
For 15 years, I had no interest in Star Wars with the exception of watching the movies every now and then on VHS and then DVD.
In 1999, the whole world got excited again as a new Star Wars movie was getting released. I was just as excited. My friends and I picked an obscure theater in Midwest City rather than the mega cinemas to go see it on opening night so we wouldn't have to deal with the crowds which isn't much different than what I'm doing this year. We showed up at noon for the movie which was going to premiere that night. We wanted to be first in line. We were. In fact we were the only ones in line for the entire day. Eventually, they let us in, and I watched the last newly released Star Wars movie in a theater.
"Phantom Menace" was so bad, that I lost all interest in Star Wars for ten years. I watched "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" when they came out on DVD, but not in the theater. As far as I was concerned it was over.
In 2009, I started discovering the expanded universe in comics and novels. Also, my son and I started watching "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" television show. Both were evidence to me of what Star Wars could be like if any one other than George Lucas was creating content.
It was excellent!!!
When news came that Disney was buying Star Wars from George Lucas and producing new films, I was overjoyed. I have nothing personally against Lucas. He created a wonderful galaxy, but he was truly at his best when he worked in collaboration with others like Lawrence Kasdan on "Empire Strikes Back" who is, BTW, also co-writing "The Force Awakens".
When Lucas tried to create something on his own, we got midichloreans and Jar Jar Binks.
The new age of Star Wars truly began in the summer of September of 2014 with the release of the novel "A New Dawn" and the premiere of "Star Wars: Rebels".
And, I have been along for the ride the entire time. I have read all the books and comics (with the exception of "Tarkin"). Everything released so far has been wonderful.
I can't remember the last time I have been excited about a movie, and I promise to avoid any spoilers on here or in social media.
For nearly 40 years, I've been on this roller coaster ride with Star Wars and I look forward to 40 more!
So, what's you're experience with Star Wars? Let me know in the comments...