Star Wars carries a sense of fan ownership with it, and that ownership varies by the fan’s age and at what point they began watching the Star Wars Saga. I myself have a rosier view of Episode I than those older than me because it came out just as I was knee deep in Star Wars love at the age of 14. I don’t understand why some people get upset when A New Hope is referred to as such instead of as Star Wars because for me, the 1977 film has always been “Episode IV: A New Hope“.
Here’s what Star Wars means to me:
The Return of the Jedi came out two years before I was born. We never owned the Star Wars Trilogy on VHS, but once a year, it would come on TV with Carrie Fisher hosting between the breaks. My first big crush was on Princess Leia, and in first grade, I took an entire notebook and drew a Star Wars comic inside (I’ll scan and post it sometime). It even featured Wedge Antilles, my second favorite character (behind Han Solo). When playing Star Wars, I always wanted to be “Han Solo with a lightsaber”.
Digging through my parents’ large library of books, I discovered Heir to the Empire in 1995. I was enraptured. I collected magazines about the upcoming Shadows of the Empire (as an 11-year-old kid, I thought a movie was to follow). My aunt took me to the Special Editions (all in one day), and from that point on, I was absolutely hooked. I snatched up anything I could Star Wars. While on the set of Tom Sawyer with a children’s theater, my friend introduced me to the Star Wars D6 Roleplaying Game by West End Games. Getting the chance to actually play as a hero in the universe I loved was amazing. When the Star Wars D20 system came out, I formed my first gaming group, gaining friends I still have (and game with) today.
I’ve collected dozens of Star Wars card and board games over the years. I have a large collection of Star Wars graphic novels as well as hardback novels.
To me, Star Wars is my childhood. Star Wars encouraged me to make movies when I was 16, to become a writer as I am now, and become a gamer, as I still am today. The universe of Star Wars is vast, and full of hope, while also presenting the dark truths of the world as well. Star Wars has an incredible depth to it: It’s fantasy, it’s science fiction, it’s western, it’s horror. Its broad palate allows for literally anything. Star Wars shows us that anything is possible.
To me, Star Wars is so much more than the sum of its parts. I look forward to what J.J. Abrams will be doing with Episode VII, and how the trilogy will pan out going forward.