Friday, February 21, 2014

The Star Wars in Me

Star Wars changed my life. I don't mean that in some metaphorical sense, either. Seeing Star Wars (because it was just Star Wars, then) at age seven was like discovering I had grown up inside of a little box thinking that that was the whole world and, suddenly, having the walls come down. Or, maybe, like seeing a movie in color for the first time if that movie was The Wizard of Oz. Everything seems normal, the same old black and white, until Dorothy wakes up in Oz and... color! I was captivated as soon as those words started scrolling up the screen.

I was so captivated that I wouldn't go to the bathroom. And I really had to go to the bathroom. The urge hit before they got off of Tatooine, so I was sitting there "holding it" through nearly the entire movie. And there were so many people there and so much crowding trying to get out when the movie was over that my grandmother (yes, my grandmother took me to see Star Wars the first time I saw it (she was unimpressed as far as I remember)) couldn't hear me telling her I needed to go. And, then, there were my parents there to pick us up, and, still, no one was listening to me saying I needed to pee. Not until we got all of the way out of the mall that the theater was in, and, I have to say, there are no bathrooms on parking lots (but, maybe, that should be a thing?), and I couldn't wait till we got home even though home wasn't that far away, and I was told to go behind the trash dumpster. Which did not make me think of tentacle monsters at all. Actually, it didn't, but I kind of wish it had.

Anyway, the world was not the same when I came out of that theater as it had been when I went in, despite the fact that the need to "go potty" hadn't somehow ceased to exist.

I was the kid that knew more about Star Wars than anyone else. I had more of the toys. I had books and magazines about Star Wars. Factual stuff, I mean, not just the slew of Han Solo-inspired novels of the early 80s. If anyone had a question, I was the guy to ask, and, if you were having an argument with someone, I was the one that could settle it. That's mostly never changed, although I don't keep up with all of the Expanded Universe stuff the way I used to, and, sometimes, my boys will come up with something that I have no clue about. Because, you know, now they have all of those books about Star Wars that I had when I was a kid plus a whole lot more, but I haven't read any of the new ones.

There's one thing, though, that I have always avoided, at least when it comes to Star Wars (and, well, pretty much everything, these days): spoilers. There was an event:
Not too long after Return of the Jedi came out, Lucas announced that he was not going ahead with the prequels as he'd intended. Instead, he was getting a divorce. Not by his choice. At any rate, it took the hyper out of his drive, and he decided that he'd been doing only Star Wars for a decade and he needed a break. Somewhere in reading about this (I think I was standing at the magazine rack in an Eckerd Drug Store), I read that Lucas had said something about a duel between Kenobi and Vader that resulted in Vader falling into a pool of lava (on a volcano planet) which caused his disfigurement. I was not more than 14 at the time, but I remember feeling very strongly, "I don't want to know this."

And, yet, that one thing stuck in my head for the next 20+ years until I saw it on the screen in Revenge of the Sith. However, in all other matters with the prequels, I stayed away from spoilers as much as possible. I quit visiting the Star Wars sites I frequented prior to the announcement of the prequels specifically to avoid spoilers. And, more than anything else, I did not imagine how I thought things would be or engage in talk with people about that stuff. I think, more than anything else, that that is why I've never had any issues with the prequels. I just didn't have any preconceived notions about how I thought things ought to be. Disappointment is the only thing that can result from that.

And that's how I'm approaching Episode VII, too. Not that I think there's anything wrong with what we've been doing this week on Indie Writers Monthly, but I know that if I start trying to come up with what I think should happen that I'll get invested in that and there lies The Road of Disappointment. I'm already scared enough of J. J. Abrams and his red matter, so I don't need to add any of my own expectations into that mix.

However, I do love Briane's scene on the bridge. That felt very Star Wars to me.


  1. I think I'll survive if I don't see my ideas on screen. But I hope you're in for out Titanic II posts next month.

  2. Oh, yeah, Titanic rises from the ocean floor, zombies, and... well, that would be telling.

  3. Sometimes it's better not to have expectations so you avoid disappointment.

  4. Wait, Titanic II? I've got to get on Goodreads. Hey, I've been editing the magazine, okay? Give me some slack.

    Andrew, you're right about spoilers and about expectations. It's sometimes way better to not have any preconceived notions.

    I might be the only person who actually kind of liked the prequels. I mean, Attack of The Clones had its stupid parts, but overall I found them acceptable, even kind of good. Compared to how bad they COULD HAVE BEEN, especially. I mean, did anyone see Matrixes 2 and 3? Those were AWFUL. The dropoff in quality was significantly higher than from Episodes IV-VI to I-III.

  5. Hey, I love the prequels. I even like Jar Jar.
    (We just pretend there is only one Matrix movie.)

  6. Reading reviews and articles about a movie before I've seen it is a bit like peeking at Christmas presents -- I know the surprise will be ruined but I just can't help myself. ;)

  7. Lexa: Some things I don't care about and will read ahead, so to speak, and continue to not care. Then there are things like Star Wars (and Dr Who) where I don't want to know before I know. If you get what I'm saying.
    I want to unwrap it on Christmas morning.

  8. I had no preconceived notions, but preferred Vader as a bad ass. He excelled at it until they made him more human. I hate spoilers. I don't even watch the 'next week' clips of TV shows I watch. I want to be surprised.

  9. Oh, I don't watch those either. Or wouldn't if I watched actual TV. Since I watch anything I watch on DVD, it's not a problem.