Star Wars: The Memories Awaken

Dad + Me age 5

When I was about five, my father sat me down on our living room floor to watch the original Star Wars movies. It wasn’t just the abundance of shiny objects that grabbed and held my attention. It was the idea of a mystical Force that flows through every living being. It was good versus evil. It was the idea that a farm boy from Tatooine could become a powerful Jedi and save a galaxy far, far away. My favorite characters were Yoda and Chewbacca. Yoda proved and I quote, “Size matters not.” Chewy looks like a big, hairy stuffed animal. I just want to hug him, brush his hair, put a bandana on him and give him a Kong full of peanut butter. I love that Wookie and Carrie Fisher shares that feeling. When Chewbacca won the lifetime achievement award at the MTV movie awards, she said she wished that they had love scenes.

Yoda: the original gangsta

The original Star Wars movies were something my father enjoyed and wanted to share with me. They gave me a memory of time I spent with him that I’ll cherish for life. I suspect he showed me the movies to give me a role model in Princess Leia. Obi-Wan was her only hope until she picked up a blaster. Why wait for a man to rescue you when you can just blast your way out?

Then the prequels happened. I didn’t bother seeing The Phantom Menace because everyone I knew who saw it warned me that it was awful. I saw Attack of the Clones and everything from the graphics to the dialogue was all wrong. For God’s sake, Anakin and Padme had an entire conversation about sand. SAAAAAND!!!! I couldn’t bring myself to see Revenge of the Sith because I was still foaming at the mouth over how bad Attack of the Clones was. On the flipside, The Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network was actually good and well worth the watch.

Again, no Jar Jar. Just, no.

I didn’t let Jar Jar Binks or the prequels ruin my relationship with Star Wars. I still played the video games. Soul Calibur IV was purchased for the sole purpose of getting to fight as Yoda. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was a bit slow, but if I needed to mellow out it was my go-to game. I found it oddly soothing. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed would’ve been a lot cooler if the damn game didn’t freeze right after I beat a boss fight. I was pissed! It took me right out of the game. Lego Star Wars is one of my all-time favorite franchises and got me hooked on the Lego games.

When I saw the trailer for The Force Awakens I was cautiously optimistic. I didn’t dare get excited because prequels. Then more trailers came out and as I saw more footage from the film I couldn’t help but get swept up in it all. I hadn’t had a decent Star Wars fix since our games of Jedi Manhunt in college. Yes, Jedi Manhunt. That’s how cool my friends and I are. In our defense, there were way worse things we could’ve been doing. Picture us dressed in black, breaking into teams, and taking turns hiding all over campus until we found each other and battled with plastic lightsabers. It got bloody, too. To this day I have a scar on my right middle finger from a mistimed parry. I also had a run-in with a possum. Good Lord those are ugly when you see them up close!

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The Force Awakens awoke all sorts of memories in me; some good, some bad but all worth experiencing. I felt like I was five years old again when I saw the Millennium Falcon take to the skies over Jakku. I squealed when I saw Chewy appear on screen. Seeing Han and Leia together again was joyous even if they did remind me of an ad for Cialis. “The whole galaxy is at war, but why stop to take a pill?” Carrie Fisher is a diva. I hope I get to be like her when I grow up. Thank you, Carrie. SPOILER ALERT!  DON’T READ THIS BIT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE! I’m big enough to admit that I cried when Han Solo died, but not for the reason you think. I was sad about him and for Leia, but my tears weren’t for them. They were for Chewy. He was heartbroken and my heart broke with his.

I know, Chewy. I know.

The Force Awakens was good enough to leave me looking forward to the next installment with cautious optimism. The film features the first woman to fly the Millennium Falcon and the first female Stormtrooper Captain in the form of Captain Phasma who was played by Gwendoline Christie. You’ll recognize her voice from a little show called Game of Thrones. I’m starting to think she’s being typecast in the role of badass.

I do have a few things I’d like to see in the next movie. I’d like to see Han Solo’s funeral. I think for a character that gave so much to the franchise, it’s only right to give a fitting tribute. Can I get a glimpse of Gwendoline Christie’s face? Surely Stormtrooper Captain is a rank that allows for helmet removal. How cool would it be to see a Stormtrooper officer remove the helmet to reveal that she’s a woman? Maybe not as badass as Eowyn’s “I am no man,” scene in Lord of the Rings, but still pretty cool. At some point Leia needs to get a blaster and shoot something. Lastly of course, I want to see more of Chewy. As in lots and lots of Chewy. So help me if he gets killed off at any point for any reason, I don’t give a crap how much it advances the plot. I am going to riot. Mark my words! You’ll see me on the news! Tell my mom. I may need bail money.

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