With the advent of the seventh Star Wars movie coming out in December 2015, it got me thinking…I’ve been blogging off and on since October 2013 and have yet to post anything about Star Wars! After all, it is in the URL for this place, right? ;)
I love science fiction movies and novels, and I’d have to say that Star Wars is my all-time favorite in this genre. Everyone who has been following this epic has many wonderful memories and stories to tell. So here are a few of mine…
When I first heard of this movie in 1977, being hyped then as a space opera, I must have taken the term literally and thought it was going to be hokey. I’d never been an opera fan and found out soon enough it wasn’t a real opera as I might have expected. What I’d read about the movie wasn’t all that impressive at first. But in early summer 1977 I went out of town to stay with some friends for the weekend. One night about 10 of us were out and someone mentioned seeing Star Wars, most had seen it before and I never had nor did I want to. They practically dragged me kicking and screaming into the theatre. I figured OK, I’m outnumbered and I wasn’t about to sit in the car by myself for two hours that late at night, and I certainly didn’t want to be a party-pooper. So I bit the bullet and sat through the movie. WOW. The story, the realistic special effects and The Force. I loved it! And I wanted to go right back in and watch it again. This time, they had to drag me kicking and screaming OUT of the theatre.
I was never the same afterwards. That summer, I saw it 28 times in my local movie house, with friends of mine who also loved it or with someone who *I* had to drag kicking and screaming to see it. I was captivated by Darth Vader. That imposing presence and oh, that VOICE. Posters and other Star Wars goodies adorned my apartment, and John Williams’ soundtrack could probably be heard through the halls of my building at any given time. I even had a bar of Darth Vader soap that came in a green box. And who didn’t have this iconic Darth Vader poster from 1977:
(This photo was courtesy of the internet, as my original of this poster eventually got ripped and folded and mangled many years ago.)
Being a longtime comic book fan and one-time collector, I still have the original 1977 collectible oversized 10″x13″ 2-comic Marvel set based on the movie. In the normal sized comics, the movie constituted the first 6 issues of Marvel’s “Star Wars” comic series. I keep the 2-comic set in plastic and it’s still in good shape (and no, they’re NOT for sale so don’t ask):
Since then, I’ve also gotten into the Star Wars expanded universe through the comics and the novels. I have most of those in digital comic or e-book format now.
Another collectible I’ve kept is the first edition paperback novel by George Lucas from 1976. This is the original pre-movie novel, not the silver one with movie still inserts that came out after the movie was released. That’s protected in plastic too (also not for sale. Sorry.).
Another collectible must-have for the avid Star Wars fan is the coffee-table-sized compendium “Star Wars Chronicles.” This book is massive, and the current prices for this on Amazon and eBay are outrageous. Mine is the original 1997 edition, which retailed for around $100-$120 at the time but I found it on clearance for $75. This book was published again in 2005.
And let’s not forget the humor. TV programs and talk shows parodied the movie. There was even a short film, made as a trailer for a movie called “Hardware Wars,” which became immensely popular. The movie was also spoofed in newspaper comics and magazine covers. Then there was that godawful holiday special TV show from 1978. Now here’s a fun artwork piece I have that a friend of mine gave me for my birthday in 1980, called “May this farce be with you”:
Also, I have a few cool Star Wars goodies around the house…like a cube with movable sections and a 6-foot stormtrooper standup:
I’ve loved all the Star Wars movies over the years, and have seen them many times both in theatres and at home on VHS tape or now on DVD. Of the original trilogy I thought the middle one “The Empire Strikes Back” was the strongest and most entertaining of the three as a movie. “Return of the Jedi” had its good points but I found it the weakest of the three in both storyline and acting.
Of the prequels, I found “The Phantom Menace” entertaining although cute…who didn’t love little Anakin Skywalker, even though you knew what he’d grow up to be? The middle one, “Attack of the Clones,” one word: AWFUL. But this trilogy totally redeemed itself with “Revenge of the Sith,” clearly the best movie of the three and which perfectly set the backstory for how and why Anakin became Darth Vader.
So now I’m looking forward to the December 18 release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which takes place about 30 years after the end of the story in “Return of the Jedi.” It’ll be interesting to see how much of the expanded universe George Lucas accepts as canon for this movie. And if he does go ahead and make movies 8 and 9, like it’s been rumored for years of his planning a “sequel” trilogy, I hope to live to see them all.
Until then, may the Force be with you. :)