The 40th anniversary episode. Matt and George talk about their memorable parts of the fandom leading up to May 25th.
Last week we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the opening of Star Wars. While some fans celebrate it on May the 4, I like many others celebrate it on the 25th the original release date of ANH. Or as it was only known as back then “STAR WARS” sans the Episode IV.
I’m not yet 40 (almost) so I wasn’t around when STAR WARS was originally released and wasn’t there for all the world wide fandom phenomena that took hold. I was told I saw ROTJ in the theater but I don’t remember it. My first introduction into the Star Wars franchise were the ewok films which for a 5 year old were fine but I didn’t understand the vastness of the galaxy Lucas had created.
It was a little later when Empire and Jedi were replayed on network TV that I got to see the fantastic space opera unfold. Years later I rented the trilogy every week religiously from the local library when they came to VHS.
Somehow seeing the “Used Universe” clung to my young impressionable imaginative brain. I suppose because my father was always working on cars or one contraption or another in his workshop. I was used to seeing him and his friends covered in grease and grime from car engines and whatnot that seeing rust and grit in a movie imprinted on me more then the clean glossy feel of 2001 or Star Trek.
The message in Star Wars was simpler as well, good vs. evil. No real need to go deep into philosophical arguments or views like the two previous mentioned franchises. This was fairy tale telling set in a grease covered future (or past i guess). I stuck with me then and into the ’90’s when I stared eating up the books by Zahn and Anderson, I even went so far as to get the audio tapes and listen to the books. I hunted down the vintage figures I liked, usually imperials and some rebel troop builders (laying the seeds for my Army building now). Eventually culminating in grabbing stuff from WestEnd Games, the technical read-out manuals and even old board games. It was safe to say I was hooked.
Reflecting back on it, I realize the impact Star Wars has had not just on star gazing wanderlust filled boys and girls in the small towns across the world. But on the world they would grow up and roam in decades later. It was legend and myth being created not just for the dollar and entertainment value (though it didn’t hurt) it helped shape and give direction to not just geek and fandom culture but the world of people and the cultures it would touch for now nearly half a century.
40 years of story telling is more then just is more then just books and movies, comics and figures. It’s given us what the story tellers of old who sat around the campfires gave us. Hope and dreams, aspirations and inspirations. I hope in a few hundred years when the literary scholars of the future look back at this period of history they’ll see the reflection of our media in our story telling and understand we used when we saw. But when it comes to Star Wars I have a feeling they’ll earmark it as something as a classic that the old tales of Odysseus or Achilles and Troy or Arthur and the Sword were told as, Mythos and Legend.
We’re lucky to live in such an age when a modern legend was created for not just a clan or nation but the entire world of people to revel in, for fathers and daughters, mothers and brothers, friends and enemies, oh yes even enemies come together for Star Wars…
So I don’t even have to worry if Star Wars will still be known in a few hundred years. As I’m sure Episode XXIV will be hitting their holo-theaters soon.
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