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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Posted By: Randy GageDecember 19, 2019

It was 1977.  I don’t remember what movie I was seeing, who was in it, or what theater it was playing in.  But I remember the moment a trailer began with the words, “Somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now.”  My best friend and I were mesmerized.  Once our feature was over, all we could talk about was that trailer we had seen. 

The swashbuckling heroes were mesmerizing.  The plot was larger-than-life. The special effects were the most advanced anyone had ever seen.

On May 25th, I waited in the longest line I had ever seen for a movie, and finally experienced Star Wars.  As soon as it ended, I raced outside and got in line to buy a ticket for the next showing.  All told, I saw the original 19 times in the theater.  No idea how many times since on VHS, Beta, DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming, but for certain it is the film I have seen more than any other in my life.

I will never forget seeing a lightsaber for the first time, that first trip inside the cantina, and the hair-raising high when the Millennium Falcon first jumped into lightspeed.  Movies, and my experience of them, would never be the same.  And now at 7:15 tonight, I will be in the theater once again, this time to experience Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

And I’m delirious in anticipation, yet apprehensive with trepidation…

It’s like taking that final bite of that sumptuous desert on your plate.  Finally meeting your lifetime hero.  Placing the rose on the coffin of the person you have loved more than anyone else in your life.  Knowing that you will always be blessed with the memories they gave you, but desperate for another moment together.

I’ve been able to avoid any spoilers and judiciously stayed away from any reviews, fanboy chats, or anything else that might give a clue as to the plot, characters, or conclusion.  But I’m certain that 2 hours and 22 minutes after that first opening crawl, I will be in tears.  Bittersweet tears.

The first episode came out a month after my 18th birthday.  It ignited my love of Sci-Fi, epic storytelling, and blockbuster movies.  It took me to a galaxy that I never knew existed, and desperately wanted to journey to.  It was that moment in time in my life, only recently getting out of jail and serving probation, facing down addiction and depression – that movie gave me permission to dream again.  The Star Wars saga has been a part of my entire adult life.

Yes, Star Wars is iconic, has become the most successful film merchandising franchise in history, and been watched billions of times.  But it has been more than that.  It is a zeitgeist of at least three generations.

We collectively cried when we lost Obi-Wan both onscreen, and off.  People who never stayed up past 10 pm were waiting in lines half a mile long to see midnight previews of the films.  “Luke, I am your father,” became the most famous line ever spoken in a movie. (Forget the fact that it was never actually spoken in one.  The real quote was, “No, I am your father.”)  Millions of people around the world debated this Darth-is-the-father development as if it were World War III.

Luke and Leia, Han and Chewy, Obi-Wan and Yoda, and even (or especially) Darth Vader – these characters will live forever.  Along with them, we commiserated together over clunky dialogue, rejoiced together as Death Stars were destroyed, consoled each other when the plots got too formulaic, but exulted as one when villains found redemption.

It was almost as if there was an energy field created by all living things – binding the galaxy together.

I’m going to try and avoid social media and the datasphere the next couple days. Because here’s what I know:  Just as we experienced with Lost, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, The Matrix and other cultural phenomena, there will spring up a veritable cottage industry of pundits, podcasts, bloggers and critics.  And most of them will be explaining why the finale disappointed, how some arcane minutia from the canon was contradicted, and what would have been the right way to end this epic trilogy of trilogies.

As far as I’m concerned, you can pack them all up on the last flight to Alderaan…

True Jedi will know and appreciate that there is nothing in this galaxy, or any other, that can provide a fulfilling conclusion for a dream you have waited 42 years to savor.  True Jedi will know and appreciate that at whatever stage they accessed this epic space opera, when they reach the bittersweet end, they can’t feel anything but gratitude because George Lucas created something magical.

So as this chapter of the movie draws to a close, I'm thinking of the last thing Obi-Wan said to Anakin, before he turned to the dark side and became Lord Vader…

“Goodbye, old friend. May the Force be with you.”

- RG

8 comments on “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

  1. I, too, remember being just gobsmacked by the special effects. I also remember after the second movie walking out and thinking, "I have to wait 18 months or two years to find out what happens next!" Of course what was next was Ewoks. Yikes. But it's amazing to know that we have a multi-generational movie saga. Grandparents, parents and kids all have their own emotional takes on where they were when they first experienced Star Wars.

  2. "(Forget the fact that it was never actually spoken in one. The real quote was, “No, I am your father).”"

    You know what they say: Mandela effect. 😉 To actually tell something, about 15 years ago a radio show translated and said this sentence in 15 different languages. All of them was based on that "Luke, I am your father".

    But let's just not forget that many Jedi warriors risen as poor scavengers in the desert and that Yoda chose to die in a swamp, rather than an 50-story Jedi castle. Okay, I know they were been hunted, but still, you have a galaxy to hide.

    I myself never been a Star Wars fan (I just realized by you that it has a new sequel), but I have seen all of them (I guess) and I quiet enjoyed these movies. Every one of them, despite that even the fans stated that some of them were very disappointing. Well, I didn't notice any quality decrease at all (I watched all of them one after an other), I guess because I wasn't biased. One of the former ones started to play the "change men to women and mix every races everywhere" cultural marxist shitstorm, but it still wasn't that bad at all. I was sad that Luke had to be died.

    So yes, criticism can be very misleading. Especially that I wasn't prejudiced about the new Tomb Raider movie, but it was just so terrible and idiotic that it was painful to watch. This is not the case of any Star Wars sequel. They are high-quality movies with great lines that "There is always a bigger fish", and so on.

    What I like in these movies is that the dark side of the force is really dark. It clearly shows how a person can descend to the abyss more and more, the son who kills his father without any emotion, the father who hates his own son without any sane reason and so on. The dark side of the force is the total immorality. Actually all of them are sociopaths and psychopaths by definition. I found it actually very accurate and unique, regarding to the human soul.

    So have fun with the movie and see you on May 4!

  3. Enjoy the show!! I know you will. I remember seeing the first one when it came out and then again when I was studying in Spain, in Spanish! I’ve seen them all too, and will think if you when we see this final film. May the Force be with you, always!!

  4. Just as you...Star Wars has a been a voyage of two tales: one from the sci fi, life lessons, Joseph Campbell hero's journey side and the aspect of learning to see, listen and express things in a more story telling fashion. Just like you, it has been with me since I was 14 thru 56. Given I don't care what the critics say about it, I will see it and experience it in my own way when I saw it for the first time when I was a teenager.

  5. Oh Randy, you know I love ya, but man, where to begin.. as that genius, poet laureate Jim Morrison said in Miami 50 years ago when he may have whipped it out, "You're all a bunch of f--kin' idiots! Bunch of slaves! Bunch of slaves!!I
    Piers Morgan wrote a dead on column in the Daily Mail at the end of Game of Thrones last May about he's got no time for all this sci-fi crap, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Matrix. .etc.. and he got eviscerated for never even watched it and he made the good point that he's never watched an episode of the Kardashians either and doesn't have to know it's a load of shit. so he downloaded the last episode to see what he had been missing and his description of the gal being stabbed and the guy blubbering was hilarious..
    And it's not that I lack an imagination, I just find most sci-fi so ludicrous, tedious and repetitive.. I hated comic books, Hardy Boys books and other crap like that as a kid as well.. and if people think I'm just a pompous turd, well maybe, but I tried to get into The Wire, a supposedly realistic show and the BEST SERIES EVER according to those stupid Wireheads.. but after about 8 or 9 episodes, my gal, who loved Breaking Bad and Mad Men, said over her shoulder from the computer desk, why are you watching this? This is boring.. and I said, Yeah, I know, but people I respect have been raving about it and I'm utterly mystified why.. wtf is so great about a bunch of low life cops yelling at each other and a bunch of low life crack heads trying to rip each other off? I. Just. Don't. Get it.
    To end on a comic note, I'll quote from my fav mashup on YouTube.. Neo Lebowski, Morpheous to the Dude, you know what I'm talking about? Dude: the fuck you talking about? The Matrix is everywhere... what is that yoga? You take the red pill I'll show you wonderland... what are you some fucking park ranger now???

    1. Hey friend, Hello! But this is normal:) A Lot of people have found their way being inspired by the works of other famous people.
      For example Stephen King was so inspired by "the Lord of the Rings" that he decided to write something equally epic and beautiful, so was created "the Dark Tower "(King just started WRITING inspired by the works of Tolkien)
      There's nothing wrong with Star wars being so mass popularity, if they inspire you to dream, do something, see things differently, why not?
      Watch TV shows and movies every day, forgetting about real life, that's the problem. Seek inspiration in your favorite movie for living life, I think it's great:)
      Have a nice day!

    2. You state that you find most Sc-Fi to be repetitive and boring. I would say the same thing for most drama, action movies, Rom-Coms, adventure, fables, TV, radio, books, podcasts, video games, blogs, Twitter feeds, painting, sculpture, dance, poetry, and dog feed commercials. Every genre of pretty much everything has an abundance of mediocrity and a small portion of genius. Like I said in the post, Star Wars suffered through our share of clunky dialogue and formulaic plot lines. Show me a creator who can make 9 feature-length films without some mishaps. But that doesn't diminish the magic and brilliance of what Lucas achieved here. As for Piers, was that supposed to be a double-bling research study on whether GoT was entertaining? Or maybe he was thinking he'd win the Pulitzer prize in journalism for that expose? If you watch one final episode of a five year long serial series, of course you're going to be disconnected and clueless.
      But it's okay that Sci-Fi isn't your thing. But why ya gotta hate bro?! Just go see Frozen II or Bombshell. 🙂

      1. Hey sorry if my post came off as hating.. as I've said before, whatever floats your boat.. my fav movie is Godfather Part II and there's this scene I've watched a 100 times and never get tired of, keep all your sabre fights, building explosions, etc.. just incredible acting, intensity and what's being not said, between Roth and Michael, where Roth says. I knew Moe, knew he was headstrong, talking loud, saying stupid things, so when he turned up dead, I let it go.. told that that scene to my gal and she very perceptively said, but he didn't though.. cheers..

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  • 8 comments on “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

    1. I, too, remember being just gobsmacked by the special effects. I also remember after the second movie walking out and thinking, "I have to wait 18 months or two years to find out what happens next!" Of course what was next was Ewoks. Yikes. But it's amazing to know that we have a multi-generational movie saga. Grandparents, parents and kids all have their own emotional takes on where they were when they first experienced Star Wars.

    2. "(Forget the fact that it was never actually spoken in one. The real quote was, “No, I am your father).”"

      You know what they say: Mandela effect. 😉 To actually tell something, about 15 years ago a radio show translated and said this sentence in 15 different languages. All of them was based on that "Luke, I am your father".

      But let's just not forget that many Jedi warriors risen as poor scavengers in the desert and that Yoda chose to die in a swamp, rather than an 50-story Jedi castle. Okay, I know they were been hunted, but still, you have a galaxy to hide.

      I myself never been a Star Wars fan (I just realized by you that it has a new sequel), but I have seen all of them (I guess) and I quiet enjoyed these movies. Every one of them, despite that even the fans stated that some of them were very disappointing. Well, I didn't notice any quality decrease at all (I watched all of them one after an other), I guess because I wasn't biased. One of the former ones started to play the "change men to women and mix every races everywhere" cultural marxist shitstorm, but it still wasn't that bad at all. I was sad that Luke had to be died.

      So yes, criticism can be very misleading. Especially that I wasn't prejudiced about the new Tomb Raider movie, but it was just so terrible and idiotic that it was painful to watch. This is not the case of any Star Wars sequel. They are high-quality movies with great lines that "There is always a bigger fish", and so on.

      What I like in these movies is that the dark side of the force is really dark. It clearly shows how a person can descend to the abyss more and more, the son who kills his father without any emotion, the father who hates his own son without any sane reason and so on. The dark side of the force is the total immorality. Actually all of them are sociopaths and psychopaths by definition. I found it actually very accurate and unique, regarding to the human soul.

      So have fun with the movie and see you on May 4!

    3. Enjoy the show!! I know you will. I remember seeing the first one when it came out and then again when I was studying in Spain, in Spanish! I’ve seen them all too, and will think if you when we see this final film. May the Force be with you, always!!

    4. Just as you...Star Wars has a been a voyage of two tales: one from the sci fi, life lessons, Joseph Campbell hero's journey side and the aspect of learning to see, listen and express things in a more story telling fashion. Just like you, it has been with me since I was 14 thru 56. Given I don't care what the critics say about it, I will see it and experience it in my own way when I saw it for the first time when I was a teenager.

    5. Oh Randy, you know I love ya, but man, where to begin.. as that genius, poet laureate Jim Morrison said in Miami 50 years ago when he may have whipped it out, "You're all a bunch of f--kin' idiots! Bunch of slaves! Bunch of slaves!!I
      Piers Morgan wrote a dead on column in the Daily Mail at the end of Game of Thrones last May about he's got no time for all this sci-fi crap, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Matrix. .etc.. and he got eviscerated for never even watched it and he made the good point that he's never watched an episode of the Kardashians either and doesn't have to know it's a load of shit. so he downloaded the last episode to see what he had been missing and his description of the gal being stabbed and the guy blubbering was hilarious..
      And it's not that I lack an imagination, I just find most sci-fi so ludicrous, tedious and repetitive.. I hated comic books, Hardy Boys books and other crap like that as a kid as well.. and if people think I'm just a pompous turd, well maybe, but I tried to get into The Wire, a supposedly realistic show and the BEST SERIES EVER according to those stupid Wireheads.. but after about 8 or 9 episodes, my gal, who loved Breaking Bad and Mad Men, said over her shoulder from the computer desk, why are you watching this? This is boring.. and I said, Yeah, I know, but people I respect have been raving about it and I'm utterly mystified why.. wtf is so great about a bunch of low life cops yelling at each other and a bunch of low life crack heads trying to rip each other off? I. Just. Don't. Get it.
      To end on a comic note, I'll quote from my fav mashup on YouTube.. Neo Lebowski, Morpheous to the Dude, you know what I'm talking about? Dude: the fuck you talking about? The Matrix is everywhere... what is that yoga? You take the red pill I'll show you wonderland... what are you some fucking park ranger now???

      1. Hey friend, Hello! But this is normal:) A Lot of people have found their way being inspired by the works of other famous people.
        For example Stephen King was so inspired by "the Lord of the Rings" that he decided to write something equally epic and beautiful, so was created "the Dark Tower "(King just started WRITING inspired by the works of Tolkien)
        There's nothing wrong with Star wars being so mass popularity, if they inspire you to dream, do something, see things differently, why not?
        Watch TV shows and movies every day, forgetting about real life, that's the problem. Seek inspiration in your favorite movie for living life, I think it's great:)
        Have a nice day!

      2. You state that you find most Sc-Fi to be repetitive and boring. I would say the same thing for most drama, action movies, Rom-Coms, adventure, fables, TV, radio, books, podcasts, video games, blogs, Twitter feeds, painting, sculpture, dance, poetry, and dog feed commercials. Every genre of pretty much everything has an abundance of mediocrity and a small portion of genius. Like I said in the post, Star Wars suffered through our share of clunky dialogue and formulaic plot lines. Show me a creator who can make 9 feature-length films without some mishaps. But that doesn't diminish the magic and brilliance of what Lucas achieved here. As for Piers, was that supposed to be a double-bling research study on whether GoT was entertaining? Or maybe he was thinking he'd win the Pulitzer prize in journalism for that expose? If you watch one final episode of a five year long serial series, of course you're going to be disconnected and clueless.
        But it's okay that Sci-Fi isn't your thing. But why ya gotta hate bro?! Just go see Frozen II or Bombshell. 🙂

        1. Hey sorry if my post came off as hating.. as I've said before, whatever floats your boat.. my fav movie is Godfather Part II and there's this scene I've watched a 100 times and never get tired of, keep all your sabre fights, building explosions, etc.. just incredible acting, intensity and what's being not said, between Roth and Michael, where Roth says. I knew Moe, knew he was headstrong, talking loud, saying stupid things, so when he turned up dead, I let it go.. told that that scene to my gal and she very perceptively said, but he didn't though.. cheers..

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