Friday, May 20, 2005

Reminiscing on Star Wars

With the release of Episode III—Revenge of the Sethas I, remember the first three Star War episodes if If irst saw them yesterday and not almost thirty years ago.

I remember John Williams' music and the sounds and the sight of that rebel ship being boarded by the pitiless Darth Vader to the cadence of (I think) The Darth Vader Theme, the quick message that Princess Leia encoded into the memory of R2D2 along with the plans of the Death Star before launching him and his friend C3PO to find Obi-Wan Kenobi. That was quite a beginning and it is lodged well into my memory.

I was not one of the millions lined up for the release of Revenge of the Seth. I’ll probably watch the film some day, perhaps after it is released on DVD. I suppose I am not a dedicated Star Wars aficionado, but I am a fan of the characters in those first three episodes.

Han Solo represented to me a kind of free-wheeling adventurer who develops close friendships, such as with his sidekick, Chewbacca, and his rival Leia’s affections, Luke Skywalker. He was also the type who could easily make formidable enemies, such as the “loathsome slug of a gangster," Jabba the Hutt . If I could read his mind, I would doubt that Han had the foresight to envision himself as hero of the Rebellion, falling in love with an Alderaanian princess, or becoming a general in the Alliance. I have always thought of Han as the character with dubious courage and thus a real life kind of hero.

I can’t think of Han Solo without picturing immense, ginger-brown “fur ball,” Chewbacca the Wookiee. Here was a real friend and I sometimes wished I had one like Chewy. Of course, I have never figured out why he was so devoted to Solo, considering some of the ways Han treated him. But he was—always there, always faithful, just like my now deceased dog, Muffin.

Princess Leia was a turn on. And not only for me. She evinced many of the traits of a 1970s feminist. She was strong, self-reliant, and a natural leader. But her ongoing tension with Han revealed a feminine side that many feminists would deny. She reminded me of Wanda, a girl who sat behind me in the third grade. It seemed Wanda was always hitting me and sticking me with sharpened pencils. When I complained to my friend, Jerry, about Wanda’s behavior, he said, “She does that because she likes you.” Can anyone deny that, even in the midst of her putting him down, Leia liked Han?

There was something else about Leia that I must mention: her sensuality. Not long ago I watched a rerun of a Friends episode in which Chandler divulges his greatest sexual fantasy: the scene in which Princess Leia is held captive by Jabba the Hutt and pulled this way and that by a chain attached to a collar around her neck. I have news for Chandler: many men other than him had erotic dreams about that scene!

Last but not least of those initial Star War heroes was Luke Skywalker. The life of a Jedi Knight, even when one does not know one is a Jedi Knight, isn’t easy. This restless young man grew up knowing nothing of his ancestry or his Jedi vocation. Nor did he know, as we were to later learn, of the existence of his twin sister, Leia. I suppose one way or another, all the episodes center of him and his ill-fated father, Anakin Skywalker, who we met in that first episode in the form of the tyrannical Darth Vader, without whom there would be no Star Wars stories.

I am happy that Revenge of the Seth is finally out. However, I don’t rush to see it since I know that Han, Leia, Chewy, and Luke will be absent. Of course, R2D2, C3P0, and even Yoda may be there. I don’t know, but I suppose within a few days someone will tell me.

In the meantime, I raise a glass in remembrance and salute to George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse and James Earl Jones, and Mark Hamill. I remember you well.


  1. Nick,

    I like your writing style and subject matter. I was not a Star War's fan either. But the characters you mentioned have become part of American culture. Keep up the good work.


  2. Thanks for the compliment, Bob!

    I’m not saying I’m not a fan of Star Wars; rather, I am stuck back at the beginning. (Or, I suppose I should say, based upon the order, the end).

  3. R2D2 is a socialist pig.

  4. Perhaps C3PO should repsond to you comment.