It was 1977, and I stood in line at the Cine 1-2-3-4-5-6 in Northway Mall for the new motion picture Star Wars. I had already read the first three Marvel Comics movie adaptations, and was so psyched to see this film on the big screen. So much so, in fact, that I saved up enough money for a CDTA bus ticket, a movie ticket, popcorn and a soda. if the movie was anything like the comic book series…
Oh hell yes it was. You know oh hell yes it was.
It was 1983, and I saw Return of the Jedi at a six-screen multiplex in New Hartford, New York – Sangertown Square, I think it was called. Sangertown was the only mall I ever knew that was built on unstable ground, to the point where it’s been slowly sinking into the earth. Yep, America’s first disposable shopping mall. Ha.
But after Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, I hoped that this new chapter would enthrall as much as the first two movies did.
Oh hell yes it did.
I made it through the prequels, finding great moments in all three films (just ignore the existence of Jar Jar Binks and all that Trade Federation chatter and you’ll be fine).
And last night, I saw the final full-length trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
This trailer. Trust me, I had to sit through a putrid Monday Night Football game between the Eli Manning-interception-throwing New York Giants and the DeMarco Murray-can’t-run-forward Philadelphia Eagles. Just to see this.
Holy flying Millennium Falcon… Han Solo.. Chewbacca… a glimpse of Princess Leia… and the new characters… and that lightsaber with an energy hilt…
And at that moment in time, after watching that simple video clip, I’m transported back in time. Back to moments when I needed the Star Wars movies to escape my horrible, abused life. To get away from the trailer park. To get away from feeling marginalized and inadequate in college. To imagine myself as Han Solo, the antihero who shot first (well, technically Greedo never got to shoot) and saved the day at the last minute. I wasn’t a misfit, unloved kid. I was the Corellian who made the Kessel Run in under twelve par-secs. Even though I knew that par-secs was a measurement of distance and not of time, and that Solo was using that reference to test Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi about their loyalty…
Now comes word that the Regal Cinema at Crossgates Mall plans on airing all six Star Wars films as a lead-up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The films would air in storyline order – yep, you start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and continue through to the Ewoks…
But then you get The Force Awakens – in 3D. That’s a freakin’ all day movie marathon for me.
And you know the Force is strong with this one. I have to see this.
Because it’s almost as if George Lucas completely understands my life. Any time I feel like the loneliest, most unwanted person in the world…
Then I hear those dulcet tones of John Williams’ orchestral suite.
And I see that tiled recap crawl of the previous episode information.
And I take a sip of my soda every time a character says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
And I take a sip of my soda every time C-3PO gets damaged or broken.
And I take a sip of my soda… and I’m in in a world a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
And I feel like I belong.
I know there are new characters in this film. I’ve heard their names – Captain Phasma, Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren – even with all that, I’ve stayed away from spoilers as much as I possibly can. Such is the power of the Force; you must not let it enter your mind unless you wish to experience the proper side and positive energy of it.
I know that J.J. Abrams is directing this new entry in the series; so I should expect lots of lens flares in the movie. Fine. Just so long as I don’t see Oceanic Flight 815 in the film, I’m okay.
I’m still deciding whether to do the all-seven-movies marathon… and I’m leaning toward doing so… or whether I’ll simply watch Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and then wait for the future chapters and standalone Star Wars movies.
Trust me. Nothing can ever take away that moment when I stood in line in May 1977 behind Northway Mall to see Star Wars for the first time.
Nothing can take away that moment.
And nothing will ever take away the moments when I see this new film.