One Man’s View of…
The kids in my class poked fun at me because I was the only student wearing a store bought costume for Halloween. The year was 1977. Back then, a website was where a spider inhabited, twitter was what a young lover’s heart would do, and cell phones were what inmates used to make their “one” call. Star Wars made its theatrical debut in that same year. For my Halloween get-up, my mom bought me one of those plastic C3PO outfits, replete with a mask that blocked out all of the oxygen I needed for breathing. Thanks, mom! I was scarred by the teasing of my fellow students and that left a bad taste in my mouth (it might have been the plastic). However, the put downs and funny looks from 20 of my classless classmates didn’t deter me from becoming a Star Wars fan.
I know that devoted fans of Star Trek are called single, I mean, Trekkies, but what are die-hard fans of the Star Wars called…Warsies? Thirty-three years have passed by since my embarrassing October 31st droid incident but Star Wars is as big as ever (thanks, in part to Lego’s and video games). I have seen all 19 films (or, maybe it’s six) and frankly, as an adult, I don’t get the whole craze but I believe to become an American citizen, one must now watch all of the cinematic episodes and be able to identify five characters whose name start with “D.”
When Star Wars first came on the scene, it was so innovative and unlike anything ever seen on the big screen before. For me, it was frustrating, you know, trying to read the words on the screen as they progressed vertically until they were completely out of sight. Most of the kids growing up in that time wanted to become Luke Skywalker (I just wanted to become taller). Luke’s original name, and I’m not making this up, was Luke Starkiller. Fortunately, creator George Lucas ultimately made the name change. Luke was a handsome, blond man who looked like he belonged more at the beach than in a fictional galaxy. He had a thing for a young lady who bought a few Cinnabon rolls before she did her hair in the morning. They started liking each other and then later, like a bad Maury Povich episode (as opposed to a good one), they found out they were brother and sister…eeeewwww!
My favorite character was Han Solo. He was witty, charming, sarcastic, and the pilot of the Millennium Falcon. I heard he got the job because he was so good at video games. Well, his name says it all. Solo was a renegade, a rebel, pretty good with the whip and had a hatred for snakes, and he wanted to fight his battles alone…with the exception of a big, hairy, dog-faced Sasquatch-like monster named Chewbacca (I still think his name was sponsored by a tobacco manufacturer), who was his co-pilot. If you ever move a piece of heavy furniture across a linoleum floor, you will hear precisely the same sound Chewbacca makes (I’ll wait while you try this experiment). In the second film of the series, Solo didn’t fare too well. He became frozen in time. I am surprised this wasn’t a Disney movie. I was only 10 when the second Star Wars movie came out and I thought the title was “The Umpire Strikes Out.” I was shocked to see no baseball references at all in the entire movie. Chewy could’ve been a good first base-“man” because he was so tall (he probably would have won “Wookie of the Year Award”).
One of the most memorable scenes in all of the Star Wars movies was when Dorothy clicked her heels three times…no, wait. Oh, it was the scene where Luke was cleaning a droid named R2-D2 (no, he was never a Halloween costume of mine) with WD-40 and Luke accidentally hits the “Cinnabon Hologram” button and out comes a message from Princess Leia (eeeewwww-his sister). It seemed like we heard Leia’s message about 182 times in the movie and even a non-Star Wars fan can utter her famous words… “If you build it, they will come.” I’m sorry, it has been over 30 years since I’ve seen the first (or is it the fourth?) movie but I think she said, “Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope!”
Obi-Wan was a Jedi Knight. I think he once sang with the Pips. So, you ask, what is a Jedi Knight? I could bore you with detailed explanations that may cause your brain to explode but for simplicity sake, let’s just say that a Jedi-Knight is one who fights by learning his powers from an old Muppet living in a deserted swamp, who sounds strikingly similar to Miss Piggy. Yoda didn’t make his theatrical appearance until “Empire Strikes Back.” Maybe George Lucas wanted him to appear in the first movie, but Yoda’s schedule was “swamp”-ed! So, ol’ Starkiller himself decides Obi-Wan needs his assistance and realized the hologram female was pretty cute (eeewwww-it’s his sister). Luke gets my Halloween costume friend and R2-D2 to help him find this Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan was in hiding so he changed his name to Ben Kanobi Abdul-Jabbar. Luke finally found him shooting hook shots at the local Y (I think that scene was later edited due to the length of the movie). Obi-Wan soon began to teach Luke about the force and also a little known fact, teaches him sign language as well! In Star Wars, the force was described as an omnipresent form of energy that allows the user to perform a variety of supernatural feats including mind-control, telekinesis, and solving the Rubik’s Cube. The Force can be used for good and bad; it’s kind of like fire.
However, before Obi-Wan could fully teach Luke how to be a Jedi Knight, he ends the first movie with a fight to the death with (scary music, please) Darth Vader! Darth lived on the massive Death Star Space Station. Their cinematic historic battle involved that weapon of choice, the light saber! For the uninformed, imagine a skinny, plastic baseball bat for kids that made a swoosh noise…that’s what a light saber looked like. And every kid in America wanted a light saber, including a 10-year-old Droid costumed-kid from Sacramento. When Darth took his last swing at Obi-Wan, the old Jedi-teacher disappears and all that was left was his hooded cloak (by the way, this was advertised as a family film). Fortunately, Luke, Leia, Indiana, Chewy, the Droids, and I think a few of the Jonas Brothers were able to destroy the Death Star while Obi-Wan was sacrificing his life. However, Darth Vader survived the explosion and went on to do voice-overs for CNN and was alive and well to appear in three more Star Wars movies.
The final scene to Star Wars was kind of weird. Okay, these heroic people blew up an evil space station but the award ceremony was kind of anti-climatic and it makes me think that George Lucas couldn’t think of a better way to end the movie. However, through my extensive research and “Googling” like crazy, I discovered that Lucas never planned on a sequel to Star Wars so that’s maybe why the initial movie ended so un-dramatically. However, Lucas changed his mind mainly because of two reasons: Star Wars made roughly $2.1 billion worldwide and shortly after, he and his wife split up (“May divorce be with you!). Lucas felt he needed to create more movies since he was making alimony payments where most of his money was going to a bank account far, far, away from his own. So, three years later, as the U.S Hockey team was performing miracles on ice, Empire Strikes Back could be seen at a theater near you.
This last paragraph is to increase your knowledge so when you find yourself in a room of die-hard Star Wars fans (Run!!!!), you can sound intelligent and hold a conversation with them. The first episode of Star Wars that came out was ironically called, Star Wars. But now, not only is it considered the fourth episode in this science fiction double trilogy (Huh?), the original movie is now officially called Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Now, can you really change a title to a movie decades after its inception? I guess you can when the six movies have made at last count (as of 2008) over $4.3 billion. That number is too much for my brain to get a hold of so to give it a rest, I think I’ll be in my kitchen, dragging a piece of furniture across the linoleum.