Growing up with Star Wars

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I’ve mentioned before that when I was at first school, most of my friends wanted to be Sandy in Grease, but I wanted to be Princess Leia.  I even got my Mum to put my hair in Leia-type hairdo’s, involving plaits mostly.  The boys let me play as none of them wanted to be Leia.  They were too busy arguing over who was Han and who was Luke…..and Chewie and the droids.

Iconic scene from Star Wars: Luke on Tatooine

Any child born, or growing up, in the 70’s would literally have to have been from another planet if they had not at least seen, what is, the most famous movie saga in the world.  That instantly recognisable operatic movie score from John Williams.  The closest anything else has come to Star Wars is Harry Potter, but that is for another post.

Star Wars: The Millennium Falcon

When George Lucas wrote Star Wars, he was writing a space adventure for children to enjoy.  He never envisaged it would reach such stratospheric levels of fandom, love and devotion. He says he was inspired by westerns, the old-fashioned good vs. evil and that good always wins in the end.

The Empire Strikes Back: Luke and Yoda

I remember my brothers collecting the Star Wars spaceships and figures.  I was bought My Little Pony and Barbie, which utterly bored me.  I was forever playing with Lego and Star Wars toys when I wasn’t riding my bike, or climbing trees.  I was a little tomboy.  Hence my admiration for Princess Leia.  I loved the scene in Return of the Jedi when she leaps on a speeder bike in pursuit of a biker scout, for example.  She didn’t wait for the boys to deal with the dilemma/problem.

That ending. Gulp….

I was 8 when I saw the Empire Strikes Back (the same year I saw ET) and I remember crying when Han got frozen, confusion at that paternity revelation and the ending.  It couldn’t end like that, could it?  As an adult, Empire is my favourite of the trilogy.  It is the operatic, dark, second act.  However, back to my childhood, I was relieved when good won out in Jedi and loved the cute ewoks, but my brothers found them annoying.  However, the boys got Leia in a gold bikini so they shouldn’t complain.

Return of the Jedi

My teens, which I hated, came and went.  In my early 20’s the trilogy was rereleased at cinemas ahead of the new prequel, The Phantom Menace.  I had never seen the films at the cinema as I was only 2 when Star Wars came out.  I dragged one of my best friends along and after seeing Star Wars, she really looked forward to the next two films.  Seeing certain scenes such as the X-Wing attack on the Death Star, Hoth, Cloud City and the speeder bike chase on Endor was amazing.  To a child, this would be pure cinematic magic.

Wicket. Cute.

So, in 1999, the day tickets went on sale for The Phantom Menace, I got up early and booked tickets for myself and two best friends for the first showing.  On the day, queues were going round the block and people were offering three or four times the price for a ticket, but nobody was selling.  There was an air of hushed excitement when we all filed in, which I’ve never experienced before in a cinema………it was all for nothing.  It just didn’t have the charm, or magic.  The best thing Star Wars-related that year was Simon Pegg’s episode of Spaced called ‘Chaos’.  Simon Pegg is another huge fan of the trilogy.

Mace Windu. Bad-Ass Jedi. Purple Lightsaber.

I dutifully watched Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, hoping things would improve, the latter film being the best of the prequels.  I feel sorry for Jake Lloyd who copped all the flak.  He was just a kid.  Lucas should have cast an older Anakin and Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman (forgiven because of Black Swan) were wooden and awful.  Then there was the awful Jar-Jar Binks….. There were a few good scenes and glimpses of what could have been, in all three movies.  Ewan McGregor hit his stride as Obi Wan in Clones and Revenge.  Darth Maul was the best thing in Phantom.  Mace Windu was the best thing about the whole trilogy.  Too cool for Jedi school.

Episode VII Cast Meeting

Anyway, onwards and upwards.  My 5 year old is now Star Wars obsessed.  Star Wars is his world.  Luke Skywalker is awesome and my son wants to be a Jedi when he grows up, alongside acting, directing and winning the Tour de France. Of course.  He will be 7 when Episode VII is released in December 2015.  I cannot wait to take him to the cinema, along with my husband, my brothers and nephews.  This is a film with huge expectations, build-up and excitement, much like Christmas.  I have every faith in JJ Abrams being the man for the job.  I think the force is strong in this one.

Images: IMDb

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22 thoughts on “Growing up with Star Wars

  1. I was eight when Star Wars came out. I have loved it since. I remember the Christmas of 1977 and it is known as “The Christmas of the Empty Box” for many in my age group because that is what we got that year as they couldn’t make enough Star Wars toys, so you had to send in a coupon and they got your action figure to you in March.

    Fast forward to when “Menace” came out on VHS. I bought it and took it home, watched and put it away. My son was two-and-half at the time, he watched it with me. For the next month or so, he watched everyday. Now, he will be a senior in high school and knows more about the Star Wars universe than me.

    I can’t wait until 2015.

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    • Lovely story. Thanks for sharing Patrick. I love that the next generation of children have embraced the Star Wars saga. It hasn’t dated. How many films can say that? I can’t wait for 2015 too.

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  2. I was born in the ’80’s but grew up watching the original Star Wars trilogy as my parents loved Star Wars and had them recorded on VHS. I had a Hans Solo action figure that was a Storm Trooper and when you removed the mask it was Harrison Ford’s head:) Not a big fan of the newer films but really love the original ones – need to find some time to rewatch these again as its been a few years.

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    • The old films are the best. I think George Lucas forgot what made episodes 4-6 special. It was the perfect casting/chemistry with Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams etc, along with real sets and models that gave the universe a lived-in, believable feel. Episodes 1-3 were all cgi and, as I mentioned in the post, badly acted by Christensen and Portman.

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  3. Omg I LOVED Star Wars when I was little! I was born in 90 though, but still. My siblings and I had tons of the action figures and we were just in love. I was Leia for Halloween one year and I was so stoked.

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    • The action figures were brilliant. My fav was the Leia figure in her camouflage costume for Moon on Endor in Jedi. 🙂 See on this comments board we have fans from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, then with my son and Patrick’s (comment below), the 2010’s…

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  4. Malcolm is a huge Starwars fan, and somehow I promised that before we got married, I would watch all the movies with him. (And although he wasn’t enforcing it, I was determined to carry through that promise.) So the weekend before our wedding, I managed to watch the final movie. Can’t say I’m a huge fan, but at least I know who Chewbacca is and what Wookies are 😉

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  5. You got a new follower with this one. I saw Star Wars as a kid, when we first got them on VHS. I was immediately hooked. It never fails to inspire me–which is the definition of a good story. I share the opinion that the older ones are by far the best–and while I like JarJar for his own sake, I see how it was a bit extraneous. (I just found him funny). I agree with you on most points of the pros and cons of the newer trilogy–I DID like the younger Anakin actually–he had a sweet innocence. The older Anakin I did NOT like. He was just a punk. I felt like he was someone different. Mace Windu was the coolest thing of the trilogy, and his death was my biggest peeve with the final installment. I was so ticked…we couldn’t he have gone into hiding too? Man! He was my favorite. Second baddest guy in the universe, as Samuel L. Jackson likes to say…more than once on the Behind the Scenes. ;D The newer movies just didn’t have the same…unity and feeling of the originals…but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Ewan McGregor was a great Obiwan though. No bones there. But I would have to say that the last movie had ill-placed humor. Just didn’t fit.

    I am so looking forward to JJ Abrams’s work. From what I’ve heard so far, I’m very optimistic that he’ll do a good job! (Especially as he seems to be steering clear of to much CGI).

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    • I just think it was appalling that a young child copped all the flak from adult fans, who should have known better than to pick on a youngster. Awful. I agree that Mace Windu and Obi-Wan were great. There was an easy charm and witty banter in episodes 4-6. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

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  6. I was like Colette until very recently. I am old enough, just, to have watched them first time round but as I had younger siblings I didn’t get to see them and we had no TV to catch up with them on video. Fast forward a few years and I have now watched most of them on DVD as my eldest loves them. I can see the attraction, but not sure I would have truly enjoyed them as a child.

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  7. My mother wouldn’t let me see Star Wars in the theaters. I was too young. I saw it later though, on video, and loved it. I took my two older boys and daughter to the ’99 movie. My girl was a baby (less than 1) and got scared (we left, the boys stayed inside). I never did catch up and see it on video.

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