I was 9 years old when Star Wars was released in theaters. I saw the film just before I turned 10. To say the film captured my imagination would be an understatement.
There are many memories I have associated with Star Wars, such as purchasing the collector’s cards. Where I lived the summer of 1978 the ice cream truck came by every day. To meet customer demand he sold in addition to ice creams and popsicles TOPPS Star Wars cards. I remember ripping open a pack of cards, checking out which sticker was packed in and then seeing the various stills from the film or promo shots. I still have many of those cards today.
Posters? Oh, I had a variety of them. While I didn’t manage to keep hold of the toys I had, many of the posters I somehow managed to keep.
A couple of months before I turned 13 The Empire Strikes Back was released. My mom bought tickets 2 weeks in advance. TWO WEEKS! I had never heard of such a thing before as buying tickets that far in advance for a film. The lines were insane! The anticipation was off the charts. The entire world revolved around returning to that galaxy far, far away. And we weren’t disappointed.
Did I feel betrayed when Return Of The Jedi came out? A bit. I knew, as did everybody else that Star Wars was supposed to be 9 films (though I read in an interview in 1977 or 1978 the original plan was for 11 films) and to have it all “neatly” wrapped up felt… well, even at my age I liked what I was given but knew there should have been more.
The amount of money I sank into Star Wars related merchandise over the decades is rather silly. As I got older the books and graphic novels were the primary purchases. It appeared the official canon for Star Wars was dormant and it was up to others to carry on the story.
Of course the prequels came out. And say what you will about Episode I The Phantom Menace, but the teaser poster for it is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a great image. A shame the film didn’t live up to it.
More stories filled in the gaps and the expanded universe grew and grew, and it wound up being better than the movies George Lucas offered us. The “Special Edition” versions of the original trilogy left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Then the prequel trilogy just soured me on Star Wars and I stopped buying the books and graphic novels.
Episode 1, fool me once, shame on you.
Episode 2, fool me twice, shame on me.
Episode 3, fool me a third time and… oh, who am I kidding. You slap Star Wars on a film and I’ll watch it. When it was announced Disney purchased Lucasfilm and would be making more Star Wars films I was glad to be having more Star Wars films, but the emotions were muted. Reports from the set came out that things were much better than people expected. Things were sounding promising.
Today the second trailer for the film arrived. And I’m 12 years old again with the promise of old friends returning. I showed August, who is 11 this trailer and he is about as excited as I was back in 1980.
And so it goes.