In 1977, I was three years old. My dad would pick me up from daycare and we would go to the movies. One of my genuinely earliest memories was being with my dad and seeing Star Wars in the movie theater.
If you wanted to know my geek origin story, there you have it.
And it continued in childhood, as the series kept moving forward. I remember my mom taking my 2-year-old brother out into the hall so everyone in the theater could watch Empire Strikes Back in peace. I remember geeking out when my cousin Laurie got a Millennium Falcon for Christmas. When our family went to see Return of the Jedi, we geeked out about the ewoks, which was just compounded more when Laurie got the ewok village.
Even as I got older, I was still a Jedi at heart. I read the comics and some of the books. When I started playing RPGs, I essentially made my characters into Jedis.
But then the prequels came. While there are parts of the films that are okay, it deserves much of the fan derision that has been thrown at them. (One of my nieces was recently threatened with familial excommunication when she said the words “I like Jar Jar Binks”.)
When I heard that JJ Abrams signed on to do a new sequence of films, I was stoked. I think his sense of storytelling and honoring the past is exemplary. But I also made a decision: I don’t want to know anything about this movie when I stand in line, pay my money and go see it for the first time.[divider]I Miss the Magic[/divider]
In the era we live, I know so much about the movies I see before I ever see them. I know who is and who isn’t an Oscar contender. I’ve seen teaser trailers, trailers, extended trailers and even reviews of those trailers. And most the time, it colors the movie experience for me.
I miss the magic.
I miss not knowing. I miss being genuinely astonished and amazed. There aren’t a ton of those times anymore. And it has made me jaded. Just this week, I saw a comedy that was so intentional about setting up its sequel that it made me cringe. I could probably sit down and write the script for it. And not because I am a super-intelligent nerd; I am just someone paying attention who loves movies.
So, I am Star Wars spoiler free.
I have created some serious filters. There have been moments I have been tested (I work with teenagers who want to talk about it!) and tempted (the trailer dropping a few months ago!). But I want to walk into it wide eyed and excited.
My nephew is 3. He’ll be four when this movie hits the theaters. My hope is to sit and watch it in a theater with him with the same joy I had and remember when I saw the first one so many years ago.
May the force be with me.