Plunging into my early memories of Star Wars is proving more difficult than I first imagined. My early impressions of the trilogy are distorted by clips from the Star Trek series. I want to say I was first exposed to Star Trek and later saw Star Wars. I remember being confused at intertwining galaxies and spaceships – is the Death Star out to destroy the Borg Cube? does Princess Leia belong to the Rebel Alliance or the Federations Starfleet? My grandpa was such a fan that he made it a Christmas tradition to sit his 11 grandchildren at the television, fill our bowls with Blue Bell ice-cream and ensure us that watching his movie was more fun than playing with our gifts. We were ultimately appeased, I think. That was until the year my two brothers and I found under the Christmas tree three identically sized boxes – together we unwrapped our new light-sabers and our childhood took a turn.
We received the original trilogy from our parents soon after and were captivated by the action and images: snow-capped mountains, deserts of trap sand, space ships and stars, explosions and light-fields. There was little dispute on rainy days as to which movie we’d watch – we liked the lives of the Ewoks in Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi best. We imitated their lives by building tree-houses and inventing sling-shots and throwing rocks at each other. Maybe we thought the Ewoks deserved light-sabers, so we didn’t mind changing elements of the movie by depicting ourselves as diminutive light-saber wielding furry omnivores. We were so young we chose which movie to watch based on the action scenes contained within – having no sense of plot or development.
My fascination with Star Wars didn’t develop beyond these boyhood games. My fallout with the movies most likely came when the integrity of my plastic light-saber gave way. But for some, fascinations with the mythical world of Star Wars equals George Lucas’s obsession with revising it. He’s made countless changes to the ordering of scenes, dialogue, shots, cuts – you name it. However, these changes don’t detract from the overarching influence of the Star Wars legacy. The appeal at such a place is imaginable – the Star Wars legacy offers primarily an escape from the doggerel routine of work and idleness. Hero’s like Luke Skywalker, the farm-boy who can impact the fate of an entire universe inspires and mesmerizes. Over time figures like Luke Skywalker and nations like the Ewoks persist because they exist so poignantly as emblems of good in a world where evil is readily evident in the black clad Darth Vader and the splintered Death Star.
From what I remember of the movies – C3PO and R2D2 play very integral parts. They are beside Luke every step of his journey. I was always astonished at the dangers they were able to avoid, physically limited as they are. I was partial to the Ewok for much of the same reason – those adorable little things. Never would I abandon any of these three. So, goodbye Jar Jar – you aren’t memorable enough for me to preserve (my bratty conclusion).