Star Wars speaks to the child in all of us, that little person we once were, the person who once wished he was Luke Skywalker and fantasized about adventure beyond the stars. The strange thing is, is that if you dig past the layers of knowledge and emotion that we have all built up over the years, that little person, your younger self is still there. Alive, well and still occasionally thinking about Star Wars.
Star Wars was a major part of my childhood, so much so that I’m reluctant to give it up, and despite the constant eye rolling of family and friends, I cling on to the memories and the excitement that was part of seeing episode IV for the first time at the tender age of 10. Well, to be honest when I saw the first star wars movie there was not an episode in sight, so I’m slightly dating myself here. The whole episode deal came a few years later. In fact, if I remember correctly the first video cassette releases of star wars where made from a print that did not contain the Episode IV “A New Hope” title, and it was quite blandly labeled just, Star Wars.
I only have vague memories of watching the original Star Wars in the Cinema, and I also remember the feeling of getting quite bored during certain parts of the film, but that didn’t stop me from loving the movie and raving about it to my friends later. I also remember being shocked and amazed that after begging my parents to take me to see Star Wars, they actually agreed to take me. I recall that my father was not impressed by the film, and didn’t really like it, and my mother didn’t make a comment one way or the other. I, on the other hand loved it, and my child self knew that without a doubt it was the greatest movie ever made!
At its time of release Star Wars appeared to be so new, and in some ways revolutionary in its story telling. This was because Star Wars harkened back to a simpler time, a time of heroes and villains, where good and evil where clearly defined and where simplistic story telling was the norm. To the movie going audience of 1977 the heroes and villains genre was a revelation in the science fiction world, as for the past 15 years they had been subjected to pure adult science fiction, fiction that was heavily based in concepts and ideas. This trend was mainly fueled by television shows like Star Trek and the Twilight Zone, and with movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, All of which bare little resemblance to the childish romp that is Star Wars.
Besides the story being drenched in myth, Star Wars creator George Lucas did something that changed the way summer blockbusters were marketed, and that was in licensing. Lucas began to license the Star Wars title and its concepts to all manner of merchandise, from breakfast cereal to sweat pants. And as tacky as this endeavor may seem to purists, it created a new sub-venture in science fiction, the culture of the collector.
So vast was the amount of products available to purchase that was tagged with the Star Wars logo, that it was almost impossible to keep up. At the time, fans begged their parents for the latest toys and action figures and as these kids grew up, so did their collections of Star Wars toys.
I know many people today, in their 40’s, who collect all Star Wars memorabilia and have storage units packed with the stuff. Well at least those who are married have storage units. It is a passion firmly linked to the nostalgia of their youth, a way to try and recreate that amazing childhood feeling of seeing Star Wars for the first time, and to relish it for a lifetime.
So here we are in 2015, and in a few months the latest foray into the Star Wars universe will be unleashed onto the public with Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.
And que the toys…
A massive amount of “new” Star Wars toys have flooded the market just in time for the holiday season, and while I have no desire to own any of these items, my 9 year old self is currently throwing a fit that I’m not walking out of my local Toys R Us with a cart full of Star Wars goodies.
I do enjoy looking at the toys, and whenever I’m in a store that has a toy section I usually make my way over and take a look. But I never buy.
It seems this year, the only Star Wars item I will be purchasing is a ticket to the new movie in December, which I’m eagerly looking forward to.