The first movie I remember seeing was The Empire Strikes Back. I was five or six years old at my aunt and uncle’s house. My sister and cousin were making chocolate chip cookies, and it was cold and snowy outside– not surprising, given that it was around Christmas. And maybe it’s just my brain adjusting the memory to be something other than what it was, but the part of the movie I remember the most was the lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader, when Vader reveals his true identity.
Obviously, it made an impression since I still remember the scene– both in the movie and in real life– despite the passage of nearly thirty years. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy
I’ve watched the original trilogy countless times since then, and the prequels enough to know the facts, but it had been a couple of years since I’d had much of anything to do with the Star Wars universe. I’d read the books throughout high school, but I couldn’t keep up with them in college. I fell so far behind I felt like I could never catch up with the flow of the expanded universe.
So when the announcement came that there would be a seventh Star Wars movie, I said, “Neat!” and went on with my day. I wasn’t excited about it until the week before The Force Awakens opened. Then all of a sudden, the switch flipped in my brain, and I couldn’t wait for opening day. Would it carry on with the spirit of the original trilogy, or would it be a disappointment like the prequels were?
Well, I finally got to see it last Wednesday, and I was definitely not disappointed. It doesn’t top Empire in my personal hierarchy, but it’s right up there with Return of the Jedi. Chills ran down my spine as the phrase “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” appeared on the screen, and once the finals credits rolled, I was smiling the rest of the day.
I am anxious to see the next chapter in the story of a boy, a girl, and a galaxy.
In light of that, I’ve gone back to reading Star Wars books. My first taste of them was in sixth grade, when that boy I liked was reading Timothy Zahn’s ‘Heir to the Empire’ trilogy. But it had been several years since I’d really even looked at a Star Wars novel. I checked a couple of newer e-books out from the library over the weekend, and while I loathed the writing in one of them enough that I immediately returned it, I flew through Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi in about a day. It wasn’t great literature, but it was fun and I enjoyed it.
Not every book has to be full of the Deep Dark Secrets of Life. Brain candy has its place, too. If the rest of the books in this new Star Wars universe are as good as Heir to the Jedi, then I fully intend to spend a lot more time in a galaxy far, far away.