Thirty years ago, a bearded guy who enjoys wearing flannel released a fun little sci-fi flick. Filled with cheesy lines, less-than-stellar acting, and a good old-fashioned “hero’s journey” plotline, the film hearkened back to the sci-fi serials of yore. Sounds like a decent summer popcorn flick, right? Bring the kids. Maybe rent it once or twice. And who knows, maybe someday a sequel would be made.
On May 24, 1977, nobody could possibly have predicted that the very next day, this movie would be released, and it would become so embedded into our culture that some people to this day can’t walk through an automatic door without waving their hand, pretending to be a Jedi. Nobody could have predicted that an asthmatic amputee in extremely protective headgear would become one of the most iconic villains in movie history. Nobody could have predicted that this movie, essentially a kids film, would go on to ensure that thousands of full-grown adults would continue to act like children, collecting action figures, playing video games, dressing up in costumes, living in their parents’ basement, etc.
Say what you will about the direction the “Star Wars” franchise has taken in recent years; you simply cannot deny the impact the original film had on the world. I’ve not watched any of the films in quite some time, but whenever I do–when I sit down and watch Luke swing across that chasm, when I hear Vader’s stunning revelation, when I watch the destruction of Jabba’s sail barge, and so many more moments–I feel like a little kid again.
Happy 30th birthday, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, 3P0, and R2. May the Force…ah, nevermind.