Help Us The Force Awakens – You are Our Only Hope
I mean no offense to my younger friends. But if you are much younger than 45 years old, you simply can not understand what it means to be part of the first generation of Star Wars fans.
It isn’t your fault. After all, you had no control over when you were born.
A Little Star Wars History
In May 1977, a movie called Star Wars was released. The movie was the brainchild of an up-and-coming writer and director named George Lucas. His prior credits included THX 1138 and the film American Graffiti which garnered Lucas an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing and Best Directing. It also featured an unknown actor named Harrison Ford.
To say that Star Wars took the world by storm is a gross understatement. It became the highest-grossing film of all time, was nominated for 10 Academy Award nominations, won seven, and was the only film in the 1970s entered in the National Film Registry.
Nothing like Star Wars had ever been released. NOTHING.
Before Star Wars, the greatest entertainment explorations into space were the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Star Trek series on television.
Nobody had attempted, much less accomplished, special effects at the level of Star Wars. Combined with great characters and a timeless story, Star Wars was the start of the cultural phenomena we know today.
What it Means to be a First Generation Star Wars Fan
A First Generation Star Wars Fan is defined by one simple thing – You saw Star Wars in the movie theater when it was released in 1977.
Back then, there was no way to get “spoilers” before a movie release. There was no internet, so there were no social media. Heck, there was no such thing as personal computers. Even cable television wasn’t widely available. Your only source of information was the newspaper and the news on network television.
Most everyone walked into the theater without a clue of what was about to happen.
I still remember the first time I saw Star Wars. I was eight years old, and I saw the movie at my neighbor’s birthday party.
When I walked out into the parking lot after the film, and all I wanted to do is fly off into space.
Maybe it was because I was so small, but my memory is that movie screens were much bigger than they are now. I know that theaters usually had one, or at the most two, theaters, so there was room for huge screens.
When the Millennium Falcon jumped into hyperspace, you felt like you were on board the ship.
There was no marketing before Star Wars’ theatrical release. Forget all the social media and months, if not years, of information we now get before a film. There wasn’t even merchandising!
When Star Wars was Released, There Was No Merchandising
It is hard to imagine, but when Star Wars was released, there were no t-shirts, no books, and NO ACTION FIGURES! In fact, the first action figure set wasn’t released until that Christmas. You had to purchase a voucher, mail it in, and then wait for delivery of the first set of four Star Wars action figures. (Thank you, Mom, for getting them for us!)
Saying things like “May the Force be with you,” “I have a bad feeling about this,” “It’s a trap!” and “Never tell me the odds” were not part of our lexicon.
There was no such thing as DVDs or VHS tapes or even cable TV with premium channels like HBO or Showtime. Once the movie left the theater, it was gone for good. If we were lucky, we could listen to the film on our Star Wars record.
That’s right kids! We couldn’t watch Star Wars or its sequels any time we wanted. We had to wait years for each sequel to be released.
Why The Force Awakens is so Important to First-Generation Star Wars Fans
So why is The Force Awakens so important to first-generation Star Wars Fans?
Just like we waited for those sequels, we have been waiting for 32 years for this movie. That’s right. THIRTY TWO long years.
How many Star Wars fans out there are even 32 years old? You can’t possibly understand what it is like to wait that long to find out what happened to some of the best characters of all time.
Are Han and Leia get married?
Did they have kids?
Is Leia a Jedi?
Did they settle down and have C3PO as a butler?
Are Ewoks their minions?
Did Luke ever start acting like something other than an entitled brat?
Do we ever get to see Chewie’s family?
(I think we can all agree to pretend the Star Wars Christmas Special never happened)
Have the rebels conquered the Empire and restore peace to the galaxy?
Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens is like getting back in touch with a good friend you haven’t spoken to in 32 years.
I simply can not wait to see them again.