The day is almost here and honestly, it’s hard to believe that Star Wars (A New Hope) is celebrating its 40th anniversary. What’s even harder to fathom, is the realization that I’ve grown up right alongside it―we’ve gotten old!
It was the first film that I’m aware of that played in the theater for a full year, giving it the title “blockbuster.” Strangely enough, I still remember going to the theater to see it for the first time. My brother was just super excited, and I was experiencing the movie theater for the very first time. Yes, Star Wars was my first film experience―and it's left its mark on me.
When Carrie Fisher said, “Star Wars is a verb, it’s something you do” I completely understood what she meant by that. After all, I, too, “do” Star Wars. Throughout my life, Star Wars has been with me, in some way, it has shaped the person I am today. And as a woman, I’m proud to be able to say that. No, I’m not saying that gender or even ethnicity has anything to do with it, but realistically, back then, this sorta thing was mostly geared toward “twelve-year-old boys.” In fact, even though I liked Star Wars, my brother was the one who ended up with all the toys, and on occasion, he'd let me play too. Of course, my only choice out of the action figures, according to my brother was his Bespin Leia. Funny, you would have thought my “Vader” birthday cake that summer might have given him a hint as to who my favorite character was. Ok, granted I was four. Still, it's pretty serious when a girl picks the Dark Lord of the Sith to be front-and-center on her birthday cake. Oh, and trimmed with pink icing too. That reminds me, I need to ask my mother where that photo is.
Eventually, I grew up. As Shmi Skywalker says, “you can’t stop change.” So, as I went from girlhood to womanhood, the galaxy far, far away changed as well. The prequels rose from the stagnant “dark times,” and suddenly, Star Wars flooded my world once more. No longer the little girl in awe with the man in the black suit. Or the fiery princess who always found a reason to fire orders at the boys and save their skins. No, I wanted to absorb it. To understand it―I wanted more.
The prequels were my growing pains, in a manner of speaking. You see, these movies came into my life during my most difficult transitions and yet, some of my happiest moments too. It’s fair to say that the timing was bittersweet.
Women emerged out of nowhere and into the galaxy far, far away. Women like Shmi, a mother and a teacher, and I took every single word she said in, and I learned from it. Til this very day, I still cry when she encourages her only son to go, and don’t look back. I can’t even imagine what that would feel like and how hard it would be to go on without your child in your life. As a mother, it’s something I hope I never have to experience. Unfortunately, there is one experience from Star Wars that I could not escape and the relatability of that instance will always haunt me, and yet, it will eternally bind me to the saga forever. And that moment is the scene on Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith. The moment Padme tells Anakin, “I don't know you anymore. Anakin, you’re breaking my heart. You're going down a path I cannot follow.” What George Lucas captured in that one scene forebode my future with my now ex-husband. Going a tad further, Padme’s moment of reflection on her Naboo Skiff before she runs out to embrace Anakin for the last time speaks volumes to me. Padme silently weighs her options and struggles with the possible outcomes. Sadly, she already knows the truth and willingly, she runs to it with open arms―as did I.
Once the Clone Wars came into the picture, a new chapter in my life began and so, like most stories, I turned the page. As they say, every generation has a story, and this was the beginning of my children’s Star Wars journey. Unlike me, they got to experience Star Wars every weekend and in their home. And in those twenty-two-minute episodes, they not only had fun, but they learned too. The Clone Wars taught them to be mindful, to have patience, and to stay away from the dark side. In other words, the right decision will most likely be the hardest.
Still, there’s something to be said about seeing Star Wars through the eyes of your children. All-in-all, it’s been one helluva journey. I’m looking forward to the next 40 years of Star Wars, and what it has in store for me, my children, and one day, my grandchildren. Our saga continues!
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Becca is the Editor-in-Chief for the former The Cantina Cast website, Co-host on Tarkin’s Top Shelf, a literary Star Wars podcast, and a Host on Kanata's Castle Podcast. She also prepares titles and captions for Lucasfilm artist Steve Anderson, contributes a monthly blog for Coffee With Kenobi, MakingStarWars.net, and JediNews.Powered by Sidelines