Growing up with Star Wars
Star Wars has a special place in my heart. I know that seems dramatic and clichéd but it’s true. It was the first fandom that I ever became a part of. Its the first franchise that I ever fully submerged myself in and geeked out with. Even before comics!
I have a very vivid memory of when I first realised that there was a connection between Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker. You see, I grew up watching the Star Wars films. All of them. My parents owned the original trilogy on video (remember those?) and then I became old enough to enjoy the prequel films in the cinema. By old enough, I mean I was still young enough to enjoy them and not old enough to realise how flawed they were. Not The Phantom Menace though, it was a video ordeal (which is probably for the best, I wouldn't want to be sitting next to the extremely upset nerds). It's weird to think that there was once a time when I didn't hate Jar Jar Binks!
Anyway, I watched the films but didn’t truly understand them. I watched them absent-mindedly and enjoyed them for the sake of the strange aliens, the bad-ass spaceships and the coolest weapons in all the galaxy: LIGHTSABERS. So when I had finished one of my numerous viewings of one of the films, my mind was buzzing. I had finally begun to pay attention, I was old enough to understand. I was sat upon the toilet, deep in thought concerning the Star Wars film that I had just watched and I looked down at my Anakin Skywalker pyjamas. Then; like a storm trooper flying into a tree on Endor, it hit me. Luke Skywalker is the son of Anakin Skywalker! I believe that I had been watching episode II, as this was before Episode III and I believe that film is very clear about Anakin’s offspring. I would estimate that I was around 9 or 10 at the time. This enlightenment added more passion to my star wars adoration. I now realized the connection between the two trilogies! This realization lead to numerous other connections being made in my head. In case you hadn’t noticed the two trilogies have very different atmospheres, hence the outrage and hate that was fired at The Phantom Menace when it was first released. So if you take this into consideration then it’s not hard to see how I had previously not connected the films together. My mind had just been full of Star Wars themed candy and toys... Also I'm not the brightest bulb in the box. I bet my midichlorian count would be very low.
As I have grown older, and now as a film fan and someone who studied film for a few years, my opinions on the films has matured/progressed. at one point my favourite of all the Star Wars films was Episode II: Attack of The Clones. I was a damned fool. I am now wise enough to realize that Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is a complete let down and that the prequel trilogy is no where near as precious as the originals. I made this realization probably around the release of Episode III: Revenge of The Sith. I remember this because this was the time when I really got into lightsaber battles. My favourite toy was my colour changing lightsaber... obviously. I did like Episode III and I still believe that it is the best of the prequel trilogy but it’s quality is still marred by it’s predecessors.
It's a great time to be alive for Star Wars fans because the hysteria is back in full-flow. We're getting more content than ever before! New movies, new TV shows, new videogames and (our favourite) comics too! They have all bases covered!
Even as a young boy, I was a major geek and this next anecdote is about to prove that. I recall on one of my viewings of the Phantom Menace, I was watching the extremely unsatisfying final battle between Qui gonn Jin, Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. I knew what was going to happen, Duel of the Fates would kick in and then one of the coolest villains ever, Darth Maul, would be defeated, rather easily, by Obi Wan. I’m not going to go into detail on the further spoilers of that fight but basically, it was no good. Darth Maul is an awesome character with a unique and epic DOUBLE LIGHTSABER. That thing was awesome, I always wanted one but I had to make do with a stick and my imagination.
So this time, I decided that I was going to stop watching and instead, I was going to do something about it. Young Ben took it upon himself to choreograph an alternative, longer and more epic three-way battle. I was staying at my granny’s house, which had no digital TV, no computer and no young neighbours for me to be friend’s with. But I didn’t need friends. I had fizzy drinks, my lightsaber and a big ol' stick! I acted out all three characters in my new and improved fight scene numerous times. I would use a long stick as a stand in for Maul’s double lightsaber and I had my colour changing lightsaber for the two Jedi Knights- we weren't rich, I only had one lightsaber... It definitely passed the time and I was so proud of my new creation! If anyone had been observing me they would have thought that I had lost the plot. I would swing my lightsaber around battling two imaginary opponents and then every so often I would thrust my hand out to utilize my imaginary force powers. When playing the other characters I would be swinging my lightsaber and then suddenly throw myself backward, as if force powers had been used against me. I felt awesome! I mean, I looked ridiculous... But I was just a kid and I didn't care! The battle had the same key points that the original had but I had just improved it and expanded on some aspects. It still had the same conclusion, the defeat of Darth Maul. This time, however, the good guys deserved their win. I had finally given the Sith lord the send off that he so dearly deserved.
I think it’s safe to admit, I was not a very cool child... and to be fair, I'm still not a very cool. I still use the force to open elevator doors.
This love has never faded, in more recent years I even had the chance to meet Peter Mayhew (who plays Chewbacca) and enny Baker (R2D2, may he rest in peace). I also plan on get my first tattoo in the next few weeks! Which will be a Millennium Falcon tattoo.
We would love to hear any of your Star Wars anecdotes! I know I'm not unique in my lov for the franchise. There's a reason its so hugely popular! Leave some comments below and have a HAPPY STAR WARS DAY!
May the force be with you.