Thirty years ago (well, thirty years ago this Friday) in a Galaxy far, far away (the 70s), Star Wars was released. I, for one, wasn't even born, but Star Wars was a cultural leitmotif throughout my childhood. I had a Darth Vader lunchbox in my first year in school, though I hadn' t actually seen the movies. Indeed, my introduction to the movies was completely backwards. The first installment I saw was Return of the Jedi, and that was on VHS (remember when renting a video was the most exciting thing you could possibly do?). Then the BBC showed The Empire Strikes Back as a Christmas Movie Special (the Christmas Movie Special being almost as exciting as renting a video), which my sister and I recorded and then, along with Return, watched ad nauseum for the rest of the 1980s....
...There was never a rainy afternoon when watching the movies, Return in particular, didn't seem like a good idea. I honestly don't think I actually saw Star Wars: A New Hope (didn't get that title until it's re-release in 1981, fact fans) until the mid-90s. But it hardly seemed to matter. Like Beatles lyrics, there's an extent to which most people just sort of "know" Star Wars. The movies have produced a body of cultural artefacts way beyond famous lines such as "Luke, I am your father" and "Feel the force". The lightsabre noise, Chewbacca's moan, the innate coolness of Han Solo - these are all part of the western cultural lexicon. It says something about the cultural importance of Star Wars that The Phantom Menace (worst movie ever made?) failed to destroy its place in the collective conscious.
Perhaps the real gift that George Lucas gave us with Star Wars is the "Extended Universe": the spin-off cartoons, comics, novels, and video games. It's a whole, coherent world with its own well-worked out history for sci-fi geeks to play in (for example I spent oooh, a good three hours of my work afternoon yesterday reading about the Sith online - I need help, clearly). Everythign that you ever wanted to happen in the movies (my list: kick-ass female Jedi, more lightsabres, almost no JarJar Binks, more political intrigue, convincing alien cultures) all exist soemwhere in the Star Wars Extended Universe.
And so, in the great tradition of this blog (will we reach 30 years?), I present you with this, my entirely subjective, totally self-referential, things I love about Star Wars (all of it, not just the first movie)
1. "You rebel scum"
2. Han Solo
3. The Emporer
4. The sound of Star Destroyers moving slowly past.
5. "I've waited a long time for this. My. Little. Green. Friend."
6. "I love you"... "I know"
7. The music (anyone else still get chills from the opening chords?)
8. The AT-ATs on the Ice Planet Hoth
9. The New Jedi Order novels
10. "These are not the droids you are looking for"
Post your own!