“It was 30 Years Ago Today Ben Kenobi Taught the Farmboy to Play…”

On May 25, 1977, Star Wars arrived.

I could wax nostalgic and tell you what that did to my seven-year-old imagination, how it changed my life, how it encouraged me to envision “a larger world” … but I’ve told that story in Through a Screen Darkly.

I’d like to know your Star Wars story.

  • Where did you first see it?
  • With whom?
  • How old were you (if you’re willing to share)?
  • What was your first impression?
  • How has your impression changed?
  • Did the movie have any kind of influence on your life and imagination?
  • Do you resent anything about it?
  • Did it do more harm than good to movie history?

And then, of course… the important questions:

  • Who’s your favorite character?
  • What’s your favorite line?
  • Visually, what’s your favorite moment?
  • Did you buy Star Wars toys? If so, which was your favorite?
  • Do you still have them?

And finally, the most important question in the Star Wars universe:

  • Which film is the best, and which is the worst, in the six-film franchise?
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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

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  • http://hjstaff.wordpress.com/ Berroth

    I’d like to know your Star Wars story.

    Where did you first see it? Cinema 21 in San Francisco
    With whom? First with my mom/dad and brother. Then about 13 more times that year with just my brother!
    How old were you (if you’re willing to share)? 7 years old
    What was your first impression? I had never seen anything like it.
    How has your impression changed? Not at all–I still get that same feeling when I watch it with my two boys.
    Did the movie have any kind of influence on your life and imagination? It was the first movie that demonstrated to me the magic of storytelling.
    Do you resent anything about it? Nothing–except maybe that the toys were so hard to find in 1977.
    Did it do more harm than good to movie history? It has been good for movie history.
    And then, of course… the important questions:

    Who’s your favorite character? Luke Sykwalker
    What’s your favorite line? LEIA: “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”
    Visually, what’s your favorite moment? Luke watching the two suns of Tatooine set.
    Did you buy Star Wars toys? If so, which was your favorite?
    Do you still have them? YES! It’s a toss-up between The Death Star playset with the foam pieces in the trash compactor and the Han Solo action figure with the weird looking head. Oh, the vinyle capes and the pointy lightsabers that came out from their arms. Yes I still have most of them.

  • expandeduniverse

    I first saw Star Wars on VHS with my family in the mid 90’s, so I would have been in my early teens at the time. I’d read the novelizations first, but the films were still amazing to me. My impression of the original films hasn’t change all that much, except that the Ewoks aren’t that interesting to me anymore. The impact that Star Wars had on me was nothing but good, I believe. I instantly fell in love with it from my first reading/viewing. The main impact that Star Wars has had on me is the love of reading, I would say. I’m still an avid Star Wars reader to this day.

    Favorite character: Han Solo

    Favorite line:

    “I love you.”
    “I know.”

    Favorite (Visual Moment): The opening scene in A New Hope

    Best film: The Empire Strikes Back

    Worst film: The Phantom Menace

  • bobbinthreadbare

    I’d like to know your Star Wars story.

    * Where did you first see it?
    Some theatre in Visalia, CA.
    * With whom?
    My folks.
    * How old were you (if you’re willing to share)?
    3 years old, but it was Return of the Jedi, not the original Star Wars.
    * What was your first impression?
    All I remember was the Rancor was the scariest thing ever, and the speeder bikes were cool.
    * How has your impression changed?
    Both still hold true.
    * Did the movie have any kind of influence on your life and imagination?
    This movie probably made the me the science fiction/movie geek I am today. I proudly have a bookshelf full of excellent science fiction novels, as well as more than a few Star Wars novels.
    * Do you resent anything about it?
    I resent the way that fans ruined Lucas’s attempt to reinvent the franchise with The Phantom Menance. I resent myself for being one of those fans.
    * Did it do more harm than good to movie history?
    Almost certainly more good than anything else. It got people excited about movies in a way that, for all their greatness, character driven melodrama simply cannot. I think that there are many, many people who wouldn’t be in the movie business without these films.

    * Who’s your favorite character?
    Without a doubt, Han Solo, for his mischevous cynicism that informs almost every aspect of my life. I can only dream of being as cool as him. Of course, in my dreams he always shoots first.
    * What’s your favorite line?
    “Who’s scruffy looking?”
    * Visually, what’s your favorite moment?
    Zooming in with those (macro)binoculars to see AT-AT Walkers lumbering towards the rebel base.
    * Did you buy Star Wars toys? If so, which was your favorite?
    My all time favorite was my X-Wing with Luke action figure. I played with it so much all the stickers rubbed off and I replaced them with assorted stickers that I had around the house.
    * Do you still have them?
    The X-Wing broke a long time ago. All I have now are a couple old action figures(Han, Chewie, Stormtrooper, Princess Leia in Slave Costume, General Grevious)

    And finally, the most important question in the Star Wars universe:

    * Which film is the best, and which is the worst, in the six-film franchise?
    The best film is certainly The Empire Strikes Back. I know, I know, everyone says that, but it really is a great film. The perfect example of how to do a middle sequel without making viewers feel cheated. How to have a cliffhanger and resolution all in one package. Plus, Han & Leia’s relationship is one of the best written and most satisfying of all movie romances. Luke also undergoes a huge learning and maturing curve without it seeming like a stretch.

    The worst? I’ll be the first to say the one that is really bad: Revenge of the Sith. Anyone who says this is the best of the prequels is just speaking out of their rear-end. Revenge of the Sith should have been the best of all the prequels, just because it is such a no-brainer. All of it had been telegraphed out, so all Lucas had to do was connect the dots. Except this ease became the crippling aspect of the film, sapping all suspense and resulting in characters making nonsense statements and decisions simply to get to where they needed to be for the original trilogy. The whole problem with Revenge of the Sith is that Lucas was trying to do something really different with The Phantom Menace, but the fan reaction was so negative that he just turned out two fan-service films as follow-ups. Attack of the Clones is a definite step down, but still works better than Revenge of the Sith because it was covering unknown territory.

    This is a message to George Lucas. I was one of the fans who hated The Phantom Menace when it came out, mainly because I found it to have a disappointing lack of Darth Maul & Jedi action and too much young Anakin. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I posted on the internet about how you had lost touch with your fans. I come to you now, humbled by the subsequent prequels, to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. We all were wrong. Even though I disagree with your changes to the original trilogy, please go back and make drastic changes to Episode 2 & 3.”

  • http://superfastreader.wordpress.com/ superfastreader

    You should submit this to the Star Wars Blog-a-thon, which is still happening over at eddieonfilm.blogspot.com–

    My favorite lines?

    “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.”
    “I can arrange that. You could use a good kiss.”


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