Happy Star Wars Day, to all of you dear subscribers. What is Star Wars Day, some of you may ask? Star Wars Day is a geek created holiday, celebrated on May the Fourth, as in the Obi Wan declaration “May the Force be with You.” It can be traced to an ad campaign in 1979 for Margaret Thatcher, but became a more formalized holiday in Toronto 2011.
Basically, fans use the day to revisit the franchise that began in 1977 with the first movie. They dress up and go to conventions. They play Star Wars music and video games. They do what most people do to celebrate the thing they love. Of course, this year things will be different as a consequence of social distancing, but trust me, there will STILL be celebrations.
In 1977, I was 12. My father, a fan of westerns and cop shows, decided to take us to the movie theater. This was odd. Dad rarely took us to the movies. In fact, he took us several times to drive-in movies, but had only taken us one time before to watch a 70’s schlock movie. This was special. It was an occasion. What was weirdest of all was that Dad hates science fiction, and fantasy. Yet, he took us all to watch this movie. My brother, Marc, at 10, my sister, Dee, at five, and even Mom who was in her early 30’s were mesmerized.
Little did I know that I would be completely enraptured by the story of a young man living in the farthest reaches of the galaxy who is directly impacted by the tyrannical forces of a vast empire, and must decide to join the Alliance of rebels that have determined to overthrow oppression. He is instructed in an arcane way of knowledge called: The Force, and becomes a powerful instrument for good. Luke Skywalker, a farm boy from the desert planet of Tatooine, destined to become a Jedi.
I always imagined I was Han Solo. I mean who wouldn’t want to be the rogue with a sardonic wit that is rapier sharp, and a grin that makes Princess Leia’s heart flutter. He wore the mantle of hero, uneasily; preferring to be labeled a scoundrel. Less responsibility means never having to live up to another person’s expectations. He wasn’t there to join a cause. He just wanted a reward. No matter how much he refused responsibility, he became a general in the Rebellion.
His best friend and companion was a Wookie that goes by the name of Chewbacca. “Chewie” is the first mate and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, one of the fastest ships in the galaxy. It “made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.” (Never-mind that parsecs are a unit of distance not time, but whatever.) Chewie is 8 feet tall and covered in long, brown hair, wearing bandoliers and using a crossbow as his weapon of choice. He speaks in frightening howls and screeches, but is also demonstratively affectionate.
How about Princess Leia? She’s captured in the first few minutes of the movie, but she’s feisty, standing up to not just Grand Moff Tarkin, but Darth Vader himself. “Governor Tarkin, I Should Have Expected To Find You Holding Vader’s Leash. I Recognized Your Foul Stench When I Was Brought On Board.” Who knew that a woman with two buns on her head could capture your heart so immediately? This was NOT just a damsel in distress.
As she’s getting rescued she’s trash-talking her rescuers. “Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” she asks Luke. “Will Somebody Get This Big Walking Carpet Out Of My Way?” she says to Chewbacca. “You Came In That Thing? You’re Braver Than I Thought.” she tells Han when she sees the Millennium Falcon for the first time. All of those statements taken by themselves might make you think, “OMG! What an ungrateful B!+(#!” However, there are sweet things she says too. “You Have Your Moments. Not Many Of Them, But You Do Have Them. ” she says to Han in a moment of vulnerability.
I have to mention the droids, both R2D2 and C3PO, because they are the only two characters present in every episode of the nine part franchise and two of the three other movies. R2D2 is an astromech robot. Basically designed as a portable robotic space vehicle mechanic, but that is NOT all he does. Also, note that I call him a he, because both C3PO and R2D2 seem very human in their behaviors. Artoo Detoo has been very useful in effecting external repairs while space vehicles are getting damaged during battles. He necessarily is short and squat with a low center of gravity so that he can perform his responsibilities most effectively.
C3PO is a gold protocol droid intended to assist in translation, etiquette, and customs. As a knowledge-based droid, there is an air of arrogance that permeates his communications. Also, because he is usually responding to questions, he has a tendency to spew more information than is necessary, causing the inquirer to become annoyed and cut him off. He is generally used as an instrument of comic relief. He and R2D2 are great friends.
For most of you, you already knew this stuff. Most of you probably grew up with this stuff either on your pajamas, played with the toys, and games. You watched these movies and they resonated with you. I’ve shared these movies with my kids and significant others and each time, I’ve found new things to thrill me. There are lots of ways I could have spent celebrating this geek holiday, and Disney has a lot of them. Disney has all of the Star Wars movies including the Rise of Skywalker. I watched it for the first time today. I will not say anything, right now because we will have an Autopsy Plus video to talk about that. Suffice it to say that I’m still celebrating even after posting this.