I come to you all to reveal a terrible secret; I did not see the original trilogy of Star Wars until recently. Yes, that’s right; it took me 28 years to see these classic movies. Somehow my childhood progressed as everyone else’s did except I was deprived one of the most famous space-based adventures of all time. So I guess that means it didn’t really unfold like everyone else’s since it seems sometimes that I was literally the only person who didn’t see it from my generation. And at first, I was alright with that. It didn’t really catch my interest. I simply lived the story vicariously through others between conversations, debates, quote wars and internet posts. That was enough for me for a long time.
Randomly, I managed to catch little bits and pieces of the movies when they were aired on TV but apparently I always caught them during the slower scenes and my attention wasn’t kept for long enough to get a good grasp on what I was missing. Of course Episodes 1, 2 and 3 were played again and again and those I actually sat through for large chunks. Why? Because special effects, that’s why. Like trying to play old school games with heavily pixelated characters, it’s difficult for me to sit through movies from the 70’s or 80’s. Everything is awkwardly timed explosions, “automatic” doors that jerkily open and control panels that almost always have THE BIG RED BUTTON along with other comically-huge dongles, levers and whatnot. Naturally as a child of ’87, I kept to the live action films of the 90’s when I finally grew past my cartoons-only phase, leaving Star Wars off the “To Watch” list. Plus, space travel wasn’t something I really liked thinking about. Matter of fact it freaked me out. Still does. Vast expanses of pure freezing darkness and the unknown? No thanks. My life carried on, Star Wars-less aside from the prequels that many seemed to despise. Acceptable.
Then word of Episode 7 ignited and like wild fire it spread across every bit of social media that I came across. Many of my friends who I knew for years came out to me as old-school Star Wars fans. Fellow Word of the Nerd contributor Riley Sinclair was the one who lit the burner under my backside to watch. She asked me if I would come with her to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens but she had one condition, that I also watch episodes 4-6 with her beforehand. Since she asked nicely and didn’t try to force it on me (no pun intended, I swear), I agreed. I’m glad I did.
As we traveled back in time to a galaxy far, far away, I found myself immersed in a simple yet interesting plot, enjoying the twists and turns as they occurred naturally as the story of Luke Skywalker and his companions progressed rather than overhearing a nerd-off about it. Watching all of the scenes that were held so close to so many hearts was an experience I was happy to finally have. It wasn’t an incredibly deep plot, it didn’t make me ponder the meaning of life or anything, but all of the movies were rich with detail in the form of environments, designs and the complicated relationships and interactions of those within the universe.
The banter between characters was possibly my favorite part of the original trilogy, particularly between Han and Leia. They quickly became my most beloved among the crowd, with Chewbacca and the droids hot on their heels. Even if half the conversation was a series of growls and strained roars or just beeps accented with boops, I found myself in stitches just imaging whatever messed up response R2-D2 had to set off C3-PO.
But what about Luke? Well, I have to level with you all: I don’t particularly care for him. I know that he’s supposed to be a whiny brat in the beginning and it can be viewed as a kind of coming-of-age tale where you can watch him mature as his adventure becomes more treacherous and his training more intense. But I just couldn’t shake this “meh” feeling I harbored for him since the beginning. In comparison to the others, he just fell flat with me. Why would I want to watch the kid that reminds me of a selfish, snot-nosed little brother when I could stare at the attractive interstellar smuggler and independent princess instead? Seriously that’s a no-brainer for me. Even by the end of Return of the Jedi I just didn’t care as much when Luke was on the screen than when the others were present. Half the time it was just him getting poked and prodded by Palpatine to give into the Dark Side and attack him anyway. (Like a raging sea of hormones isn’t going to lash out at the person in charge of the squadrons murdering his friends one by one…c’mon.)
On the flipside of character feels I really do enjoy watching every moment that Han or Leia are onscreen, particularly together. Their back-and-forth’s were easily some of my favorite parts of all of the movies and bred some of my favorite one liners of all time that I now quote whenever I recognize an opportunity to do so. Their relationship including all the good, bad, the misunderstandings and sentimental moments had my full attention and support. Definitely a pair that I stand behind. Han is the devilish, fast-talking, rugged rogue that causes that school-girl giddiness to rise up in my stomach that doesn’t come up terribly often. (Usually that reaction is reserved for RDJ’s Tony Stark.) The on-screen bad boy is always one that gets me and Han was no exception. His gun-slinging, fast-flying ways were a joy to spectate. In the opposite corner is Leia, a great symbol of female empowerment. Her tenacity, independence and confidence make her a great example and role model to ladies of all ages. Not to mention a huge challenge for anyone hoping to get the upper-hand on her. Together, they are perfection. This is one ship I will go down with forever.
As far as the movies were concerned as entertainment, they definitely did their job. Despite having a protagonist I wasn’t particularly fond of, old school special effects (though the CG was more impressive than I expected at times) and Yoda being a much creepier-looking puppet than I had remembered, I truly enjoyed the entirety of the original trilogy. These movies are counted among the proud and few absolutely timeless films that have grown into cinematic phenoms. They continue to captivate fans new and old while keeping to their tried-and-true potent mixture of charming characters, memorable dialogue and creative environments. The Star Wars fanbase is one of the most passionate groups of people I’ve come across and I’m excited to be counted among you. May the Force be with you all.