I can’t remember the first time I saw a Star Wars film. Not the opening to a blog about Star Wars but it’s true. It was however sometime before 1993 when the Holy Trilogy was released Digitally Remastered but somewhere on the cusp of living memory. Bear with me on this one.
At some point in my early years I am sure my Brother and Sister (from my Dads first marriage) had me watch one with them and I am convinced that it was Empire Strikes Back for the sole reason that I had a memory of seeing Luke fall down the shaft on Bespin when I finally watched it properly in ‘93.
Before that night, in front of the ‘big’ TV in the front room and with no memories of any pre-recollection viewings the most Star Wars I got in my life was descriptions of moments by my Dad. One such conversation happened in a hotel room in France on a family holiday, we had been talking about Sci-Fi, and at the time the only Sci-Fi I had seen was old episode of Doctor Who and Star Trek (was not a fan of either) and my Dad told me about this fabled film called Star Wars. He waxed philosophical about the huge Sandcrawler and the two droids C-3PO and R2-D2. How real it all felt, with bizarre aliens, not like Trek where it was just painted people, these aliens looked weird. I was intrigued.
A trip to Disneyland Paris only piqued my interest more. Walking through the park, wide eyed and in awe of the magic all around (and yet to be bored senseless by Its a Small World) there was this amazing looking space plane high above my head, I asked my Dad who told me it was an X-Wing… mind blown… What on Earth is an X-Wing? I must know more. And then there was Star Tours. The queue was long but all I could do was marvel at the scenery and those fabled Droids my old man had described to me only nights before. Then of course we went on the ride. I couldn’t get over Captain Rex, (a real droid pilot!!!) and was blown away by what was on screen, unfortunately I don’t remember what mission we went on but I do remember loving it. I begged to go on again but it was a resounding ‘No.’ and off we went to explore the magical kingdom.
A year or so later and a VHS from 20th Century Fox heralded what could only be my own personal Mecca, the Star Wars Trilogy on VHS. And like any impetuous child I pleaded to get them, and my Mum told me to ask my older siblings if they had a copy on video. I was in luck and so was passed down the first item in my Star Wars collection, The Empire Strikes Back from the 80’s on VHS.
Once home that night I put in the VCR and pressed play. After making it through trailers for Chariots of Fire and the Mel Brooks vehicle, To Be Or Not To Be there was a trailer for Star Wars. Oh boy. Wow! And then the main event.
It was glorious.
It was the best thing I had ever seen.
I don’t know at what point my Mum came in but as Vader revealed the most devastating news anyone could hear I turned to her and I had to ask ‘Is he really?’
‘You’ll have to find out.’ She said to me. To this day I don’t know if she was trying to keep up the mystery or had no idea.
I didn’t find out until Christmas that year when I got A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Life was complete.