As I head out to the theater to wait in line to see the new Star Wars movie, I kind of feel like Kylo Ren pictured above. It’s dark, there’s a chill in the air, and I’m optimistically on guard with no idea of what awaits me on the silver screen.
Few films in history have had greater anticipation than The Force Awakens. It’s the sequel that fans have been waiting for despite coming to terms with the idea that Revenge of the Sith would be the final movie in the saga. That all changed when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and now we’re less than 24 hours away from moving forward in a galaxy far, far, away.
This is reminiscent of the hype and excitement from when The Phantom Menace was released. It was an exciting time in my life as graduation was right around the corner and my tux for the prom was looking oh-so-sweet. My buddy Chris and I spent our senior skip day at the Lowes Multiplex to see the 9:15 am showing on opening day.
Despite what I think of the prequels now, May 19, 1999 was one of the most fun-filled days of my life. At the time, I didn’t see a tall Jamaican frog, horrible Chinese accents bordering on racial parody, or a political thriller that forgot to bring the thrilling. It was Star Wars and the popcorn fluff of it all just washed over me with a wave of sci-fi ecstasy.
Do I regret cheering the decapitation of Darth Maul even though it’s now considered heresy?
No, because I still had fun and nothing can take that away. It certainly didn’t “defile my childhood,” either. I fondly remember taking my first step into a larger world as a wide-eyed six-year-old as my Mom replied with an ensured smile “Just sit back and watch” when I asked what movie (A New Hope) my Dad was putting into the VCR.
Star Wars is my earliest childhood memory of things being clearly defined when the real world was anything but. Over time, Star Wars has gone from being just a phenomenal adventure to something that has taught me to look beyond the obvious and believe in myself because fate isn’t preordained.
As people, We love, laugh, argue, and fight, but above all, we learn. On some level, we’re all striving for something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes we pick up on that right away, and other times we learn it the hard way, just like Luke did when he fought Darth Vader before his training was complete.
The thing I want more than anything from The Force Awakens is for it bring the franchise back to truly feeling like Star Wars, without it being afraid to try new things. While my generation believes that the special edition films have no soul, there is a whole new generation of fans who only know a world where Greedo shot first.
While you’re waiting in line to get into your theater of choice, I want to encourage everyone who is seeing the movie to take a moment to truly let it all soak in. After TFA, we’re getting a new movie every year which means there are no more event films where years of anticipation builds the excitement to a fever pitch. This will never happen again with Star Wars.
Relish it, enjoy it, and make it a day long remembered.
Thank you for reading, and May the Force Be With You.