I awoke one sticky summer morning in my adorable Richmond apartment to a text from my best friend. “I can only assume you remembered to watch the new Star Wars teaser trailer today, even without me reminding you.” Oh. Great! They’re making another one. I guess that means I have a confession to make. I’m doomed.
Somehow, I had gracefully made it to the age of 24 without ever seeing a single Star Wars episode.
I know, I know. Just take a deep breath and let me explain.
I’ll start by warning you that I don’t really have a good excuse (not that one exists). I was never really opposed to sci-fi movies growing up; Jurassic Park and Back to the Future were my jams. Yet, for some reason, Star Wars never caught my attention. I was raised as the youngest of six girls, leaving my father as the only male influence in my life. For everything other than clothes, girl talk, and sewing my dance costumes together, my dad was my go-to guy. He did a good job for the most part, introducing me to legendary musicians, teaching me how to drive a car, and how to file my taxes. He even showed me movies like Short Circuit, My Fair Lady, and The Buddy Holly Story. Just not the one series I get shunned from society for never seeing.
I demanded an explanation.
He said he had seen the first movie when it came out. Then he married my mom and she only ever wanted to go see movies starring some heartthrob. So apparently Harrison Ford wasn’t good enough for her? Who does she think she is! Anyway, he also mentioned he just didn’t think I would like it. I was into musicals and girly things. If there wasn’t music and dancing involved, there was a slim chance I’d enjoy it. Which was true, but still. He hadn’t even seen all of them himself! The rest of the world was freaking out about how amazing these movies are and he was what? Busy raising six girls?
Evidently, a few of my sisters had also failed to see these films in the past, and didn’t seem eager to watch them any time soon, either. One even shamelessly admitted to me that she thought Pizza the Hut was a real character from Star Wars, and that Spaceballs and Star Wars were the same movie…
Oh dear god. I’m not that bad!
That’s the other thing. We had seen Spaceballs. Multiple times. I warned you, this post really does not contain a single reasonable explanation.
I know people assume that those who have never seen the films must have either lived a horribly deprived childhood, or are just losers for never attempting to devote an interest in the franchise. After all, it is the most groundbreaking saga of the century. But in reality, Star Wars represents a very specific kind of fantasy. Sure there is something in it for everyone: a cynical, attractive asshole, a sassy, beautiful princess, exhilarating action, a love story, impressive props, and stunning sets. However, not everyone is into such high concept films. There’s always so much going on with all the explosions, the fight scenes, and the crazy special effects. Maybe we don’t want to look at Jabba the Hutt be fat and gross. Does that really make us lame? Or what if we can’t stand to watch Hayden Christensen’s horrible acting. Are we ignorant? Perhaps we are into musicals and 1950’s rock bands. We are just a different kind of nerd.
Up until this point, here is what I already knew about Star Wars:
- Chewbacca is the giant, furry, Bigfoot looking creature.
- Darth Vader is Luke’s father; because I don’t care who or how old you are, you’ve heard this one before.
- Luke Skywalker is an epic hero (thanks to the persuasive essay I was forced to write in my 9th grade English class).
- Princess Leia is the chick who looks like she has giant cinnamon buns on the sides of her head.
- Yoda is the little green guy who is apparently above proper sentence structure.
- Lastly, I did win a lightsaber at the state fair one time. They were still fun to play with even though I was probably “doing it wrong.”
So as you can see, I had a lot to learn. I decided I was done being the girl who had never seen Star Wars. Finally, I had convinced myself that this galactic fairy tale was something I was interested in being a part of. I wasn’t going to watch it because I felt guilty, or because of the threat it made to my friendships. I genuinely wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was opening my world to a new adventure, in outer space. The new episode would be released on Christmas Day, and I would have plenty of time to catch up before then.
I got my hands on the DVDs for Episodes I-III. Perfect. One solid weekend on the couch and I’ll be halfway there! Well, not so much. Apparently, you can’t watch I-III until you’ve seen IV-VI. Are you kidding me? I was so close! So I ask around to find out in exactly which order I’m supposed to watch these films. IV, V, IV, I, II, III seems logical after learning that’s the order in which the episodes were released. Some people tell me it’s only necessary to watch episodes IV, V and VI, because those are the essentials, some say watch IV, V, I, II, III, VI and a few say to skip Episode I because it’s the worst one and you don’t learn anything that can’t be assumed by watching all the others. This method, while out of order, follows the story line. So many opinions! I certainly wasn’t going to skip any of the episodes because I had to be able to say I saw them all, and not just the good ones. So I watched IV, V, VI, I, II, III.
There. I had officially seen all six episodes. Am I a Jedi yet? The overall story of Star Wars is cool, and each of the films were very fun to watch. Certain parts didn’t appeal to me because I found them boring or confusing or there was too much nerd talk. Did it change my life? No. Do I regret living so many years of my life without seeing it? Not really. I’m still a nerd when it comes to certain things, and I can appreciate the saga for what it is. I’d certainly never judge anyone else who’s never seen it. But would definitely encourage everyone to see it at some point. May the force be with you, or whatever.
Later, I dressed up as Rey for the premiere of The Force Awakens on Christmas Day. I felt like such a badass and the movie was amazing. However, a fellow nerd overheard me mispronounce the word Dagobah and scolded me, “What did you just say?” He was so angry. What is a Dagobah anyway? A place? A greeting? A dip?
Please calm down. I’m trying my best.
By Brittany Barletta
Brittany is 24 and currently residing in Richmond, VA. After graduating from film school in Chicago, she felt the tight knit film community in Richmond would be the perfect fit for her, and has been following her dreams ever since. She’s helped write and produce several short films in the area and it’s been a great way for her to spend her 20s so far. In addition to filmmaking, Brittany is always looking for new places to eat, or parts of the city to explore, or people to meet, and is always willing to do something for the story.
Image courtesy of Unsplash