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Star Wars: The Past Awakens

A long time ago, in a decade far far away...

From 1983-1999, the Star Wars saga remained hidden like Luke Skywalker on the remote planet of Tattooine. Legend became truth and in this era of darkness, the story would be recounted orally in a single misquoted phrase- "Luke, I am your father." Remnants of the distant galaxy would pop in popular culture in toylines and sometimes like Easter Eggs in strange movie cameos-

I was too young to have seen Star Wars in theaters. In fact, I wasn't even born until the late 80's. Many who did see Star Wars during its original theatrical run, have described it as a defining cinematic moment in their lives when the Imperial Star Destroyer flies overhead following the opening credits. The closest experience I had was when the T-Rex first appears and stomps its foot in Jurassic Park

The original trilogy was hidden in a pile of my dad's VHS tapes, not anymore remarkable than the others.Star Wars was revealed to me through my family's own clunky version of an astromech droid called VCR. Just like how R2-D2 relayed Leia's message of a new hope to Luke, VCR showed me the Star Wars universe.

There is a wonderful air of mystery and intrigue in the Stars Wars films, each character hints at larger forces at work. Even though I knew the plot twist about Darth Vader, it didn't make the character any less interesting or foreboding. I remember how Obi Wan described him as a great warrior who fought during the Clone Wars. I felt like even after watching the original trilogy that I had only been exposed to half the truth.

My favorite of the Star Wars films is The Empire Strikes Back. I remember going over friends' houses and just watching the Battle of Hoth alone. Although, A New Hope is a near perfect film, its sequel ups the ante in nearly every way. Seeing Han get frozen in Carbonite and loaded onto Boba Fett's ship is one of cinema's greatest cliffhangers. I had a book called Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections which gave detailed diagrams of various Star Wars vehicles and ships. I imagined being Boba Fett and taking on bounty hunting missions across the galaxy in the Slave I. 

One of the few bastions of Star Wars lore during the 80's and 90's were the school book fair and the local library. There was also Dark Horse comics series as well. These sequels and stories set in the Star Wars galaxy came to be known as the Expanded Universe (EU). The EU was meant to be as close to cannon as possible in which the books couldn't contradict the movies or any other books. One of the greatest of these is Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy which takes place right after Return of the Jedi. Zahn greatly reinvigorates the series with action that nearly jumps off of the page and new characters after Return of the Jedi left us with a still fractured galaxy.

 Star Wars is cultural phenomenon across the world. Even people who haven't seen the movies (yes, they are out there) can still identify major characters such as Darth Vader and Yoda and have a general idea about the story. Since Star Wars is a cultural icon, it begs the question, what separates a Star Wars fan from a Star Wars nerd? If I were to submit my own litmus test it would be if a person can properly name the AT-AT and AT-ST as a good starting point. Even then, with all of the video games, knowledge of Star Wars vehicles and planets is becoming more commonplace.  

I was lucky enough to see the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS. However, for those seeing Star Wars for the first time today, it is nearly impossible to see the original versions. It's difficult to explain how there is a different version in which Han shoots first. Also, the added CGI takes away from the impressiveness of the groundbreaking practical effects. My dad's old VHS tapes are now like a time capsule of a time now forgotten. I'm very happy to have been able to experience Star Wars when I did. 

What are some of your favorite Star Wars memories? Sound off below and may the force be with you!

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SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 08, 2016 at 04:35 PM

Star Wars Episode 4 was one of the first movies my family ever rented on VHS. In fact, it was sometime in the mid 80s when we had to rent the VCR too! It was for a birthday sleepover if I remember right and I'll never forgot how enamored I was watching this outer space story.

OldSchool80s Posted on Apr 17, 2016 at 04:42 PM

I liked those Timothy Zahn books very much. I thought they did the best job of continuing the story in a style similar to the originals.

echidna64 Posted on Apr 11, 2016 at 04:08 PM

I agree, video games like Rogue Squadron and later with KOTOR and Battlefront were greatly influential in my love for Star Wars.

Vaporman87 Posted on Apr 11, 2016 at 06:15 AM

A lot of my exposure to Star Wars in my early days came in the form of merchandise. I don't remember ever watching the movies until around high school, by which time the films themselves would have been over and done with for about four or five years.

It was in high school that my Star Wars nerd friend forced me to watch all the films on VHS tape... many times over. From there, I felt more of a connection to the story and the characters. I still wasn't a big Star Wars nerd, but I cared enough about it to collect a few movie related things here and there.

Probably my favorite Star Wars merchandise was the Super Nintendo game series. Those games really did a good job of capturing what made the movies great.

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