Star Wars: Boldly Going Where Literally Everyone Else Has Gone Before

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(To quote a friend on this: “NO STUN. ONLY STAB!!!”)

     So the first time I saw the Star Wars original trilogy, one of the biggest powerhouses in the shaping of pop culture, was just after this thanksgiving. This has been mind-blowing to people I talk to (my boss included,) but I come from a Star Trek household. My dad especially has no interest in anything but traditional science fiction; low fantasy work such as Star Trek, Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow, Inner Space, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you get the picture- or you just had an interesting google search. He always says the writing in Star Wars is bad and the acting wooden. I was never inclined to agree or disagree. (Spoiler: I do disagree!)

As it was explained to me, Star Wars is high fantasy. Being a daydreaming nerd that loves video games and movies full of magic and fantastical creatures, it was no surprise that I was much more receptive to the trilogy. While my dad would complain about wizards in space with laser swords, of course I’d be all over this by comparison.

     I’ve always liked Mark Hamill as a voice actor and Luke Skywalker simply has a presence that most people can’t help but endear to. Harrison Ford may be super over the entire franchise and Han Solo’s overbearing insistence about Leia’s feelings for him are cringe-y to a woman who’s heard that nonsense before, but his cynicism and wit was all very welcome to me. Most rough situations in life are easier to look back on with a supportive sarcastic friend… although I think we all know Solo wouldn’t necessarily admit to that description. 

     It was seeing Carrie Fisher’s big claim to fame as Leia that really resonated with me. Sure she’s damsel in distress, but she still pulls plenty of weight! Now I understand why my dear friend considers her one of her first female role models. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the prison break scene in A New Hope (between Carrie Fisher taking a gun from Hamill and making a new escape route and Ford torching the intercom due to “boring conversation…”)

      My understanding went beyond that case though, because after being alive more than 2 decades, I finally understood countless pop culture references. Star Wars made ripples in entertainment long before Force Awakens! (Which I decided to hold off on seeing until I watched the trilogy and examined its cultural impact.) Still stumbling behind that bandwagon though, “who shot first” and what have you.
What was most interesting about how I was finally joining the overwhelming majority of society in seeing the original trilogy was imagining what it was like to watch them when they were released. It’s oddly surreal to imagine a world where no one knows who Luke’s father really is; honestly, I got the sense that the excitement around these movies and the story they tell wasn’t dissimilar from that of the first moon landing. Stephen Colbert himself talked about how he knew, in the special preview screening he experienced before the world at large, that this piece of entertainment was going to be revolutionary to entertainment.

Now I just think it’s a shame we’re down to the Last Jedi when we just barely had the Return!

6 COMMENTS

  1. I was there there when it first came out. Star Wars was exciting in the theatre and a departure from Star Trek and 2001, which had been the standard up until that time. Star Trek had it’s own nods to mythology though. I had read the Hobbit and saw that in a way Vulcans were elves, Klingons were Orcs. Star Wars took it to a different level. The two franchises are forever different, yet the same. A phaser is far more plausible than a lightsaber but hyperspace and warp travel are more or less the same. And at the time before Revenge came out there was a lot of room to speculate. In the fist Star Wars book of the movie Darth Vader was the true villain as reflected in his thoughts while on the Death Star. If you want to get a glimpse into that time check out the fanzines of the time.

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