Happy Birthday, ‘Star Wars’! When Did You First See It?
‘Star Wars‘ is now thirty five years old. For some, this will be a reminder of just how long the saga has been a part of their lives. For others, it’s a reminder of just how long this thing has been around since before they were born. For such a simple tale of good and evil, ‘Star Wars’ has one of the most complicated histories in all of film. A history that has left many fans feeling betrayed. Few things stir the geeky passions quite like the story of a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
First of all, how old were you when you first saw ‘Star Wars’? Where you there in 1977, present while the landscape of film was forever altered before your very eyes? Maybe you discovered the original trilogy on video in the late ’80s and early ’90s. If you want to feel old, take note that many kids saw ‘Star Wars’ for the first time in 1997, when the special editions were released. If you want to feel ancient, realize that there’s a new generation of fans who were first introduced to this universe through the prequels on DVD and the animated ‘Clone Wars’ television series.
When did you see it? What was your response? Are you just as passionate about it now as you were back then? There’s probably some kind of mathematical equation out there to discover the exact make-up of a ‘Star Wars’ fan, but there really seem to be three major categories.
1. The True Fan: ‘Star Wars’ is your thing. It always has and it always will. You forgive the flaws in the same way that you love your slightly crazy uncle. The flaws make it more interesting. They provoke discussion. You may not collect the action figures or wear Jedi robes to screenings (or you may, we’re not judging), but ‘Star Wars’ has provided you with plenty of pleasure over the years. Why stop now? Why get angry over something that has made you so happy? ‘Star Wars’ is part of the fabric of popular culture and you’re happy to take part.
2. The Disillusioned Fan: You were there in the early days, man. Back in the good days. The days when Han shot first, Jar Jar Binks didn’t exist and Darth Vader wasn’t a wimpy, whiny little shrimp. You’ve watched these tough, bold stories transform into a mockery of themselves. You’ve watched them become toy commercials. You’ve watched whatever nerve and awe they once possessed slowly diminish through unnecessary “touch-ups” for DVD and Blu-ray releases. You shake your fist at the night sky and bellow “Luuuucas!”
3. The New Fan: You still remember seeing ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ on opening day when you were five years old. It was your first ‘Star Wars’ experience and you loved it. Those lightsabers? Awesome. Darth Maul? Badass. In the years since, you’ve grown up. You’ve watched the older films (maybe you’ve even tracked down the un-touched original cuts) and you don’t see what the big deal is and why people are so angry. Aren’t both the originals and the prequels slightly hokey? Aren’t both fun, sci-fi/fantasy escapism? You shrug your shoulders…maybe you’ll feel different in a couple of decades.
So now the question goes out to you: when did you first see ‘Star Wars’? And what kind of fan are you?