Nuthin’ but ‘Star Wars’Written by Jim Beard | | email@example.com
In May of 1977, when I was 12, my mother and I went to Showcase Cinemas to see a little film called … “Rollercoaster.” It also happened to be the day that another little film called “Star Wars” made its Toledo debut. You can imagine my chagrin. “Rollercoaster” is all but forgotten today, but “Star Wars,” as they say, is forever.
I had seen the “SW” trailer the previous January at a showing of “Silver Streak” and was drawn in, hook, line and sinker. It was like nothing I had seen before and was “coming to your galaxy this summer.” Summer? How would I live until summer? At that time a science fiction fan had to be content with the likes of “Logan’s Run,” or re-runs of “Star Trek” or maybe Godzilla Week on the “Big Show,” but that quick glimpse of “SW” blew them all away.
Spring came and summer approached and my dad told me I had to wait to see “SW” until we came back from a family trip (he wanted to see it, too). Armed only with a “SW” edition of Famous Monsters of Filmland, I bided my time and wore that magazine down to its staples. We returned, August rolled around, and on my sister’s birthday we all went to see “Star Wars.”
Then it took over my life.
“Star Wars” became such a part of me, such an integral piece of my being, that I could think of literally little else. This situation became so pronounced that I damn near flunked the 7th grade at Rosary Cathedral because of it. To this day I can still hear my mother chastising me after she came home from a parent-teacher conference, demanding to know why her straight-A student was now getting Cs and Ds.
I look back now, 30 years later, and I marvel at how much I, well, needed something like “SW.” Sad but true. That amazing universe of George Lucas, peopled by aliens, spaceships, and pushy princesses (yes, I crushed on Carrie Fisher), filled my cargo hold to the limit. Every creative and artistic impulse in my young body was heightened and strengthened by that film, and I was flying high.
I wanted to be part of “Star Wars.” I wanted to look at it, talk about it, draw pictures of it, and write my own stories about it. It was the most complete fictional world ever (at least to my youthful brain), and my passion for it was complete.
That passion has dimmed over the years, through the Dark Days after “Return of the Jedi,” through three debatably worthy prequels, and into rapidly approaching middle age. But I’ve never forgotten what the thrill of first seeing droids and Jawas and lightsabers and Sith Lords was like on that summer day in 1977. Never.
And, wonders of wonders, after “SW” became a part of me, I became a part of it … from a certain point of view. In 2002 I submitted a script to Dark Horse Comics, publishers of the official “SW” comic books, which was accepted, illustrated and printed. It was the tale of a 12-year-old Luke Skywalker and how he first tried to get off the rock he called his home. See, he wanted to become part of a much greater world and his single-mindedness blinded him to the dangers of failing. Hmm, I wonder where that came from?
Happy Birthday, “Star Wars.” You lit up my life. But if I ever meet Mr. Lucas, I’m going to tell him he owes my mother an apology.