May the Force be with you! Or in today’s case, “May the 4th be with you!” Yes that’s right, today is Star Wars Day! Why? No other reason than because “the 4th” sounds like “the Force” if you have a lisp. Today we remember the iconic film franchise in all its glory. I know I’m a bit young to really reminisce about Star Wars being born in 1988, five years after Return of the Jedi was released, but I practically grew up on Star Wars. I remember when my dad bought the Star Wars trilogy set on VHS when I was probably about five years old. I watched them ALL THE TIME. The space adventure captured my attention and is probably part of the reason I am interested in space and astronomy now. The films were unlike any other action/adventure movie out there, being set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I probably didn’t even know what a galaxy was when I was five but I knew I wanted to go there and see Tattooine and Yavin IV. I wanted to fight against the Empire on a Rebel starship, fire proton torpedoes down the Death Star’s maintenance shaft. Most of all I wanted a real lightsaber! Those things are freaking cool! As a kid I didn’t understand all the thematic elements involved in the film, from the underdog, to the good vs. evil concept, and the faith aspect of the Force and the Jedi.
My love for the films grew in elementary school when my friend Bobby and I would sit at the lunch table and peruse through books like Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels. There were hours of endless reading to be had from books like these, and read them we did! My friend Mitch whom I met when I was seven also had a fond love of Star Wars from an early age and that allowed our friendship to blossom. We both collected action figures and Legos like no one else we knew. Almost every Saturday we went over Mitch’s house and played with the action figures and spaceship toys. We even played baseball games with the toys as the players.
I saw my first Star Wars film in the theater in 1999 when Episode I was released. There was nothing like hearing the THX intro and the 20th Century Fox fanfare played in mind-blowing Dolby Digital! The opening scroll was just enchanting to see it on the big screen for the first time! I often imagine what the generation before me must have felt and experienced seeing the original films for the first time. My love for the franchise was complete when Episode III came out in 2005 bringing the epic saga full circle. Knowing this was the last Star Wars film ever was a bit sad, but I was thankful for the opportunity to see it and to have been a fan my whole life.
I can’t believe that it’s been 35 years since A New Hope was released! Not that I was even alive that long ago, but it’s remarkable that the films still have a very devoted and engaged fan base. The Star Wars franchise has truly taken its place among film legends. My hope is that the younger generation, and those to come will be able to experience Star Wars like I did and see it for what it truly is: a legendary and innovative saga. I’ll close with the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Remember, the Force will be with you, always.”