Being born in 1980, the Star Wars Trilogy was my childhood. So much or our play was built around its worlds. My brother Nick, whom I adored and idolized, had the figurines, the AT-AT, and the Millennium Falcon. We watched the movies on repeat in our neighbor's basement while we built with Legos. Neighbor Timmy nicknamed the movies "Spaceships and Monsters," and for me, that about sums it up. The whole Hero's Journey ala Joseph Campbell never landed. We'd take turns voting on which episode to watch--"the one with Ewoks or the one with the ice planet?" I knew the movies' details, their settings, and their general plots, but I never really connected with them in the way that many fans have. I still don't. My heart warms to the original trilogy more because it reminds me of my brother who is a super fan, and of how we'd lay on my bed looking upside down through the window on snowy nights pretending we were on a spaceships flying through the stars at hyper speed. (There. See that! I don't even know if hyper speed is a Star Wars thing or not. Please don't let me know either. I like mystery. I do know about ludicrous speed, though. )
Years later, as a young adult, I didn't care much for young Anakin, the problematic Jar Jar Binks, or the stupefying politics that drowned Episodes I through III. I don't remember much of those movies except for holding hands with my then boyfriend, now husband, while watching the Gungans move about their watery world. You could say, I very literally fell in love while watching Episode I--with Patrick, not the movie!
In fact, I really didn't absorb Star Wars until I had Abraham. When Abe was about four, I remember asking a neighbor, a mother of two young boys, when she thought the appropriate age was to watch Star Wars. She sighed and rolled her eyes, remarking that once you go down that rabbit hole you can never return. She was right. He was hooked, and I was able to reengage with the series, even with young Anakin, through Abe's enjoyment of the series.
Then, a couple of years ago, lying in a cushy, barcalounger at the movie theater, with my daughter Penelope on my lap, I found myself riveted and crying. This -- this Star Wars, Episode VII, was for me. This Star Wars about a resourceful heroine, who was better at saving than being saved, was thrilling. I finally understood the buzz over Star Wars on a personal level and was so excited that my daughter may have a chance at adoring it the same way that my son did. (I realize there are plenty of women/girls who enjoyed all the other previous episodes. Just speaking for myself).
This Friday, we are planning to see Episode VIII as a family. I have that slight dread in my stomach that is familiar to most super fans when sequels are released. "Is it going to disappoint?" we ask as we hope that our beloved movie survives studio politics and directors who might be playing it safe. I'm hoping for a good story that thrills and inspires and to share in its excitement with my kids and my husband. Maybe I'll even get to hold hands.
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.