Happy Star Wars day, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.
It’s not technically the recognized Star Wars holiday—that’s May the 4th—but today is the day that so many of us have waited years and years for.
Tonight, in about 12 hours, I am going to be seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters, with my wife, and hundreds of other die-hard fans who are just as excited as I am.
(Well, maybe not JUST as excited. I will fight them on that).
Star Wars has always been an incredibly important part of my life. It is my second biggest fandom after Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. For years I’ve collected comics and shirts and action figures and different film editions.
I remember that as a child, I wore through an entire VHS set of the Star Wars movies by playing them too often in our VCR.
Kids, ask your parents what VHS and VCR mean.
In 1997, the original three movies were re-released in theaters, and I was freaking ecstatic. My dad was just about as excited as I was. We went and saw them each on opening night, and Return of the Jedi, the final film, actually released on my birthday.
I had a huge party and invited a ton of friends, and we all stormed the theater to watch it. It was amazing and epic to finally see it on the big screen, and still one of my top movie-going experiences of all time.
Then, in 1999, the prequels hit. I was only 13. And like a lot of young Star Wars fans, I really loved Episode I at first.
It wasn’t until I’d watched it a few times—in theaters, I might add—and had the opportunity to compare it to the originals, that I realized how badly it had failed to live up to the legacy of its predecessors.
I went into Episode II still hopeful—back then, I had seen Hayden Christiensen in Life as a House, and LOVED IT. And Episode II was definitely better, but I walked out immediately going, “Yeah, it’s still not there.”
Sadly, I didn’t even see Episode III in theaters. I saw it months after release, on DVD.
Kids of the future, ask your parents what DVD means.
That being said, the prequels were responsible for introducing a teenage me to some actors who have remained favorites for a long time, like Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson, three of the highlights of those films.
And with the years between then and now acting as a sort of cyst, I can watch the prequels with my kids without squirming in my seat too badly.
And now it’s time to return to a galaxy far far away. I am so ready. I am so ready for this film, and the films that will come after it, to be great.
But then again—they might not be.
They might not be good at all, or they might not stand the test of time, or they might have grossly misstepped when trying to capture the themes and feel of the original films, which I do believe should be the golden standard.
Yet even if that happens—even if the films aren’t very good—that’s actually okay.
Star Wars is one of those rare properties, like Middle-Earth and Harry Potter, that is more than the canon stories that comprise it.
Universes like these are self-perpetuating worlds. They hold such promise and magic that their purest and most powerful form is in our minds—and I don’t mean in the minds of the collective fandom, but in each individual one of us.
Though the prequels were disappointing, they did not diminish our love for the universe of Star Wars. You can see that just by how excited we all are that we now have another chance to do it right, here, now, today.
When the lights go down tonight, and even more importantly, when they come back up, try to remember: Star Wars belongs to us. To all of us, but more importantly, to each of us.
And whatever happens when the credits begin to roll, whether it’s a chorus of boos or deafening applause, that is not going to change.
Thank you for watching, Rebels. I am so freaking excited. And I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.