May the Fourth Be With You

Nearly everyone that knows me also knows that I am a big fan of the Star Wars franchise.  I was a mere six years old when the first movie was released. Granted, I was too young to understand most of it. All I knew for sure was that it was the first movie that I had ever seen that absolutely blew me away. I instantly fell in love with the whole Star Wars universe. I wanted a lightsaber, a landspeeder, a pair of droids and an old to dude to mentor me and tell me lies so bad I could taste it.

These needs could only be fulfilled with an assortment of plastic dolls… *cough* I mean, “action figures” and whatever other toys and accessories I could talk mom or grandma into buying me. I must’ve been pretty good at it though, because I ended up with a ton of great stuff. My pride and joy was an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) that was as big as a dog. It wreaked havoc on countless miniature villages and stuffed animals, and was destroyed in a thousand fiery explosions. But it always came back the next day to try it all again. The Empire never gave up!

It was awesome.

Yes, I was a geek before being a geek, for whatever oddball reason, became cool.

George Lucas has been quoted as saying that Star Wars has three distinct generations of fans. The first (which I am obviously a part of) that fell in love with the original trilogy, the second who were captivated by the second trilogy, and the third that the Clone Wars animated series caters to week after week. A fourth generation might have their own piece of the universe too if a rumored second animated series is released for younger fans, based on the Galactic Heroes line of toys.

But for me, that’s part of the magic.

I remember in 1997, when Star Wars was re-released as a Special Edition in theaters on its 20th anniversary, sitting in the back of a theater in Fairview Heights and watching all of the dads bringing their young kids in to see it for the first time. It was a sentimental moment; one generation sharing something that it loved, something that changed it in a significant way, with the next generation. It was a very cool feeling.

Some dads may share a love of baseball or football with their kids. Some may share fishing or hunting. Still others may share… I don’t know… glass blowing or something. But the geeks of my generation got, and continue to get these opportunities to share with their kids a story that happened long ago, in a galaxy far far away.

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