As all you beautiful nerds are aware, Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens comes out in less than two weeks. It just makes me giddy in anticipation. So much so that I’m going to include the trailer again here, just so you don’t have to go hunt it down to watch again.
In anticipation of this event, I wanted to reminisce on my introduction to Star Wars and my love affair with it through my early teen years.
The Roleplaying Game
Appropriately enough, I was first introduced to Star Wars at Boy Scout camp. I mean, it’s the convergence of my two major passions in my teen years. I recall seeing a couple scenes of the movies, including the Rancor pit, with my dad before then, but I never really paid any attention to it at that point. No, the first time I paid any attention to Star Wars was at a Boy Scout camp without the benefit of TVs. Instead, it was purely in my imagination and the pictures printed in this book:
Yup, a roleplaying game. Not like a video game RPG, like Zelda. A paper-and-dice, use your imagination roleplaying game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I highly recommend that you watch the Dungeons and Dragons episodes of Community to learn more. To give you a brief idea, here’s a clip:
Some friends of mine were playing the Star Wars version of that at that particular Boy Scout camp and I decided to join. I was hooked. I went home and watched the movies. Repeatedly. My life was filled with speculation about Star Wars. The rumor that George Lucas had written nine episodes and only created the movies with the most continuity in them. What happened to Boba Fett after the Sarlacc ate him. And so on and so on.
The Expanded Universe
Once I discovered that the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which is now called the Star Wars Legends series) and its many, many books answered these questions and continued the stories of the movies, I was hooked. Hard. I would eagerly await the release of the next novel in the series, trolling the Science Fiction/Fantasy aisles of my local Borders Books to see if they had arrived yet. I had a pretty impressive collection of these books, up until I donated almost all of them this year. I did, however, keep my copies of the The Thrawn Trilogy. Those were just too dear to my heart to give up.
Just like everyone else, I was super-excited for these. Over the moon excited. I would browse the internet constantly in the hopes of little tidbits here or there. Now that I think about it, that was really my first exposure to blogging. I was addicted to one particular blog, Coming Attractions by Corona, that was all about posting movie rumors and pictures as they became available. It was a time of wonderful anticipation. (Side note: Coming Attractions is still around, if you can believe it.)
When the movies came out, I was there premiere night for each one. A lot of people now seem to write about how they knew the movies were terrible right away, but that wasn’t my reaction. I don’t know if I’m slow, or it was just that I was so excited that I let myself be deluded, but I thought they were ok.
At least, I thought they were ok up until Darth Vader screamed “Nooooo!” at the end of Revenge of the Sith. That ruined an otherwise tolerable movie for me. It was so disappointing, but you all already know that.
The Holiday Special
Did you know that there was a Star Wars Holiday Special? Complete with everything you would expect in Star Wars, including a song by Bea Arthur, a cooking show-within-a-show, and Chewbacca’s family, including his father Itchy and his son Lumpy. I shit you not.
I tried watching it sober one time with a few friends. I couldn’t get through fifteen minutes of it. The next time I tried watching it was more successful. A different group of friends and I watched it with the Rifftrax running commentary (and quite a few drinks). It made it a lot more palatable, and pretty funny. Speaking of which, if you are looking for a fun way to watch the trainwrecks that are the Star Wars prequels, watching it with Rifftrax makes it a lot more fun. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard watching The Phantom Menace.
Sequel Anticipation Redux
And now, here I am again. Eagerly anticipating the release a new Star Wars movie. From one of my favorite directors of all time. I’m a little bit more jaded after my last experience waiting for a new Star Wars movie, but I’d be lying if my hopes weren’t really, really high. I love JJ Abrams. Mission: Impossible III was a great movie, as were Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Super 8. I loved Fringe so very much when it was on Fox.
I guess we’ll see in a couple weeks if JJ is able to restore the roar to the Star Wars franchise like he did to Star Trek.