I vaguely remember sitting in a movie theater in Houston Tx. waiting for the first Star Wars movie “A New Hope” to begin. I was tapping my feet on the sticky, popcorn covered floor of the movie theater while clutching the arm rest of my seat. When the huge block letters began to roll and the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” hit the screen and then John Williams’ famous music hit my ears, I was locked in! They had me! Every scene was a new experience for my eyes and candy to my imagination. A fire was stoked in me and I became a fan of the series instantaneously.
Back then, we didn’t have a DVD player or instant streaming movies so all I could do was wait. That’s right. I had to wait until Lucas came out with another Star Wars movie. I couldn’t even watch the old movie to get ready for the new one. Sure, other movies attempted to duplicate the magic that Star Wars was able to capture but they were all cheap imitations. I’ll never forget when “The Empire Strikes Back” came out how excited I was. I bought the toys before the movie even came out. In my mind, I was already standing in line in that same movie theater happily waiting for the next installment of this series to release. I still remember sitting in that theater with my good friend Sebastian, who by this time was seeing the movie for the second or third time. I was astounded that anyone would see a movie more than once and was now dead set on seeing it more times than he did.
As I sat in that theater, I had the same sense of anticipation that I did the first go around. My heart was beating fast, my feet could not stay still and again, the phrase hit the screen and John Williams punched me in my ears with the distinct theme song that would be recognized for generations to come. My eyes were deluged with scenes of Hoth, the Wampa, a sliced and diced Tauntaun, Yoda’s wisdom, light saber duels, Han Solo saying “I know” to Leia’s “I love you”, Luke finding out Darth Vader was his father, and the awkward moment where you realize that means Leia is his sister. Magic! My mind was blown again. Then there was more waiting.
This time it seemed like an eternity. I was dying to know. How would Luke ever be powerful enough to defeat Darth Vader? Was Han Solo dead? Would I get to see Boba Fett again because had pretty sweet armor and an amazing ride? How would Luke break the news to Leia that they would have to cool off their dating relationship because he was her brother? So many questions were swirling in my head and the excitement and anticipation of the final installment was killing me!!! Then, Return of the Jedi came out.
The opening scene with C3PO and R2 at Jabba’s Palace was intense for a boy my age but I ate up every bit of it. The face off with the rancor in Jabba’s dungeon and the escape scene over the pit of Sarlaac made me audibly cheer! The Battle of Endor, as annoying as the Ewoks were, got my blood pumping and the speeder bike chase made me want one for Christmas. Let’s not forget the final lightsaber duel between Darth and Luke and the moment where Darth Vader bench presses the Emperor and throws him into the abyss! Does it get any cooler than that? I submit that it cannot!!!
Then there was silence. It was about sixteen years in between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace”. Even though I was an adult at this point, I was still super excited about the prospect of a new trilogy. I will say that I was a little disappointed. Sure, there were light sabers, Jedi Knights, a pretty sweet Sith Lord and plenty of space ships to go around but something was missing. The magic was there but it was small flicker of what the original series had been. Sure, some of that was due to the fact that I was a kid when the first movies came out and there was nostalgia surrounding it but it was more than that. The last trilogy failed to capture the mojo that the originals had.
So here we all wait again! Our feet tapping on the sticky floor of the movie theater while clutching the arm rest of our seats. Will the next series capture the magic of the originals? Are you going to see the rise of new heroes that will capture our imaginations and villains we will all love to hate? In 10 days we will see. From one kid to another, I hope that we are all pleasantly surprised.