Today’s the 40th “birthday” of Star Wars, when the film first released to 32 theaters across the country. Which then spawned probably the greatest franchise in history. (Arguably, I’m sure.)
Think about it – how much has this film and its subsequent megalithic mythos permeated global culture? There are currently 8 films already out, three more in production, and more on the way for the foreseeable future. Innumerable books, comics, toys, games, apparel… It’s everywhere.
I’ve been seeing a lot of reflective articles and blogs about how the franchise has impacted lives in so many ways. At the risk of getting lost in the noise, I’ll just add my humble two credits to the pile.
I saw Star Wars when I was 5; I know it wasn’t opening weekend because no theater in Florida had the movie at that time. I do know it was in the summer, probably around my birthday. And what scant memories I have of that night do stick out pretty well. My dad had misread the showtime, so when we arrived, the movie was already underway; we walked in during Leia’s interrogation scene. I otherwise don’t remember that much about the evening other than I was enthralled with the cool starships, lightsabers, and the music.
We returned to see it the next night – dad got the time right, then! – and I was hooked. (It also started an unbroken trend in my life where I’ve seen every Star Wars movie twice during opening weekend.)
I want to say that the movie – and its sequels – were my inspiration to go into the creative route I have followed ever since. But that’s a little disingenuous. Star Wars has certainly played a factor – and a heavy one at that – but my exploration into role-playing in the 80s and comic collecting in the 90s also played large parts.
But I will say that Star Wars fanned the flames of story within me. Because of George Lucas’ creative vision – and risk! – I found myself diving into the universe alongside my brother and our friends. And that has never stopped.
Happy Fortieth, Star Wars. Let’s keep celebrating.