Star Wars: the original fandom; the ultimate geekdom; the cross-generational phenomenon. I don’t really know if it needs more of an introduction than that… Either way, it certainly has a continuously growing and fully committed following!
When Star Wars: Episode IV hit the screens in the 1970s, it was hailed as bringing in a new era of cinema. My parents tell fond stories of the first time they saw it as teens; how they lined up for hours to see it, and as soon as the movie finished they lined right back up to watch it all over again. My mum specifically references that first scene where the Star Destroyer chases Princess Leia’s ship across the galaxy and how it felt like the space ships had truly flown in over her head.
I’m sure there are many other articles out there referencing how awesome the original Episodes are and I know you can read countless fan fictions based on them. However, today I want to talk about Episodes I to III.
For most true fans, Episodes I to III were complete flops and failures. They are often referred to as the worst of the movies and they cop a lot of flack. However, as a millennial that got to see Episode I in the cinemas as a child, I loved it.
Before you start to tell me I’m crazy and that I have no idea what makes a good film, hear me out!
Firstly, I had grown up watching the original Episodes. My brother and I watched them so much that we could recite whole lines of script back and forth. We dressed up, and we played with lightsabers. Nothing could keep us as entertained as Star Wars could. And then we got to go and see a new Star Wars at the movies and better yet, it starred a kid!
Looking back I can see why so many adults felt (and still do feel) the way they did about Episode I. I’d be lying if I said it was a great piece of cinema, but as a child it was one of the best things I’d ever seen. I mean, I even loved this guy…
Seriously though! As a child I loved this movie. It had comedy, it had action, it had a kid flying a pod racer when no one believed he could, and then he somehow brought down an entire droid command ship (#sorrynotsorry for the spoiler but it’s now been 20 years!). Honestly, it was awesome and I vividly remember sitting in the cinema thinking I was watching the coolest thing ever.
Episode I to III may not have been the best Star Wars stories we’ve ever had, but they served a purpose in engaging a whole new generation of fans. No matter what we thought of them we still went and saw them on release day and bought them on VCR or DVD when they were available. Also, nothing unites the fans of Star Wars like the mutual dislike of those three episodes!
For me personally, those three episodes allowed me to connect with the fandom in a way that I had not been able to do. I too got to experience the thrill of watching Star Wars come alive on the giant screen – I swear that nothing will ever compare to that feeling. I fell in love with Anakin and watched his demise as the dark side claimed him and Dath Vader was born. I was in awe of Padme and how strong she was. I wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi to succeed and felt like I’d lost a father figure when Qui-gon Jinn died. Even though they will never live up to the original episodes, I am grateful to have been able to see them on the big screen.
Anyway, I’m going to leave it at that and leave you with some photos from my recent trip to Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios where I got my Star Wars geek on and completely fangirled out!