“Star Wars: A New Hope” (which at the time was simply called “Star Wars”) came out when I was 10 years, 1 month, and 21 days old. Like many 10-year-old boys at that time, the movie consumed my attention like nothing else had (but like so many new Geek obsessions have since).
My room was plastered with posters, magazine clippings, and factoids. My daydreams were littered with fantasies of inventing a REAL light saber, or constructing R2D2, or joining the Rebel Alliance. My free time was filled with the practice of any aspiring Jedi – dueling and jumping and consuming vast quantities of science fiction.
It was not without cost.
My parents took exception to the damage on the bedroom walls. My classmates and teachers were quick to comment (and worse) about my spacier-than-normal demeanor. My arms and legs (and in one case the side of my head) bore the silent black-and-blue testimony that young boys are poor swordsmen and broomsticks are bad choices for practice weapons.
But it was worth it. I discovered not just a genre, not just a pastime. I discovered my place in the world.
And while it would take years before I could fully reconcile the passion I felt with the ostracism it often engendered (where was Wil Wheaton back then?), when everything finally clicked it was with a sense of “right”-ness that left me no doubt.
While it’s true that in subsequent years the Star Wars franchise has often fallen short of my personal expectations, it doesn’t diminish the raw joy and excitement and, yes, hope the original gave me. It’s an association that hasn’t faded with time.
A few months ago, I sat my boys (14 and 11) down and put the first disk in the player. Watched as the initial blast of John Williams’ score blew their hair back from their face, and enjoyed seeing a familiar feeling spread across their face like a double sunrise racing across the surface of Tattooine.