Confession: I’m a Nerd Who Had Never Watched ‘Star Wars’ (Part I)
Warning: If any one of you is like I was, and has never seen Star Wars, the following article contains many spoilers. Turn back.
A somewhat longish time ago, in a galaxy not-so-very-far away (our own, actually), I was born. 27 years later, I was probably the only person left of my group of family and friends that had never seen Star Wars, which needs no introduction, as I’m sure most of you have seen it too. This article will serve as the confessions of a self-proclaimed nerdy man who somehow got through over a quarter of a century without this major rite of passage.
In January of what is swiftly approaching my 28th birthday, this horrifying truth was leaked amidst a group of kind and generous people, and some of the biggest Star Wars fans I know. The decision was imminent: it had to change. So, the group of courageous heroes embarked on a quest to fix this travesty. And this is where the story begins: Earth, 2018.
“Oh yeah, it’s definitely gotta be 4, 5, and 6,” said one of my role-models, agreeing with my friend and roommate, who’d less-than-stealthily resolved to fix this blasphemy on nerd culture.
So, despite my confusion, we began with the fourth movie, which was actually the first movie, prompting the question: why would you start on the fourth movie while filming- and why did the prequels take so long to write? I mean, c’mon Star Wars fans, it’s weird. It’s like picking up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and just jumping right into the story like the first four years of Harry’s story were irrelevant. In theory, great book, one of the best…but does it stand on its own without the background?
In Star Wars’ case, yes, it did- though, admittedly, I did come into this knowing the very basics (spoilers) of Darth Vader’s relationship with Luke, and his background, as well as the fact that Luke and Leia are siblings (come on, I’m not completely hopeless). So- let’s dive in. Remember, each ‘review’ was written after watching the movie in turn, so IV was written right after I’d seen IV, and before I’d seen V, and so on.
It was immediately apparent why the death of Carrie Fisher rocked the worlds of so many people. Leia is an iconic. She is strong, intelligent, and brave. She obviously paved the way for empowered females from the future, like Hermione, Katniss, and Wynonna Earp.
Leia made it clear that she was by no means helpless, and that asking for help does not mean that she can’t handle. I hope that now that Disney owns the rights to Star Wars, that they continue taking a page out from that book, and empowering their princesses, as they’ve recently been doing by example of Elsa, and Moana.
I was surprised to not hear mention of or see Yoda, as he is one of the biggest faces of the Star Wars franchise. However, I was pleased to see Chewbacca, who was just as loveable onscreen as his fuzzy Wookie face suggests in his plush likenesses.
Luke’s story, though not unheard of, still managed to break hearts, and captivate me as an audience. I’m excited to watch him grow into the Jedi I’m pretty sure he will become.
Han Solo, from what I’ve been told- is a great guy. The initial reaction is that he’s a Slytherin-type, out for himself and his ambitions- but something tells me that he’s got a bit of a bigger heart than he lets on and I’m hoping to see his story progress into that.
Darth Vader surprised me a bit- as he wasn’t the only face of the bad guys. From what I know, his story is very sad- and could have gone down a very different path. I really hope to understand him more, and the whys. As someone who always picks things apart- I hope that they make him more than just another good-guy-gone-bad villain, and explore his character in-depth in more than just Episodes 1-3. (Again, I’m not clueless.)
Aha, so this is where all the famous quotes come from.
Episode five was action-packed and did not disappoint. We finally got to meet Yoda, and watch him try to coerce a stubborn Luke Skywalker into learning more about the Force before running off to save his friends from the clutches of the evil Darth Vader.
If this were fanfiction, ideally, we would have seen Luke go through extensive training to bulk up (hey, who knows what VI holds), like in Hercules. I thought it was a little unfortunate that his time with Yoda was brief. And, as we all know, heroes have to do things their own way to succeed- but, it surprised me at how headstrong Luke was.
I like Han and Leia individually as characters, and I can certainly see where they balance each other out- but, at this point, I haven’t quite felt a huge chemistry pull (blame Supernatural).
I really like that even in the 70’s when these were created, Leia was a huge part of the story, and remains iconic to this day. I loved the line that implied that Luke was not the only one who could save the world. #TeamLeia
Today, shows are trying to be a bit more diverse with princesses who don’t require a prince, and representation of different cultures, heritages, beliefs, and lives. The 70s, not so much- so, sorry to make such a big deal of this woman who is just as badass as her male counterparts- but, I feel like this was a huge deal!
I was also a bit surprised at how violent Vader was toward Luke. I mean, of course he’s Vader, but, I do know a bit about the backstory of Anakin. How to not win over your son…try to kill him and coerce him to the Dark Side saving the one very important detail for last (y’know, again, AFTER you tried to kill him).
C-3PO was…a lot, as he was in Episode IV. It’s not that I don’t like him, because for some reason, I do. I just don’t like the borderline abuse that he dishes out, especially at the loveable R2.
I realized Chewbacca had a mustache this time, and I can’t unsee it. I wish I could, as Chewy is definitely one of my faves. But now all I can see is fur, and a mustache on top of it. Presuming you all have known that for a long time.
Watching these has definitely made me want to watch the prequels now, as I’m one of those people that wants to know why the bad guy is bad, and see the background of some of these characters. I’ve seen bits and pieces already, so I’m doubly intrigued.
I was also educated as to why the film included Luke being beaten up by a Wampa, and I learned what a Wampa is. (The cutest dog ever is named Wampa, so I was curious as to his namesake. He is nothing like that snow beast.)
All in all, I know the movies are long, and they’re brilliant, but I really want to dig deeper into the hows and whys, and I’m hoping that the last Episode of this part of the series delivers answers. We shall see.
Well, I’m crying. In all of my almost 28 years of not watching Star Wars, I have to say- good job on all the nerds in my life for never spoilering the Anakin redemption arc for me. I legitimately thought that Darth Vader remained evil until the end. I’d seen the Emperor’s face, but thought that Vader was ultimately the ‘big bad’ and that Luke would have to vanquish him.
I was so pleasantly surprised to learn that this wasn’t the case, and it made me cry. As stated, I do have a pretty good idea of Episodes I-III, so this kind of brought it full-circle in my mind. And I was informed that Hayden Christianson had been shopped in later, which I found to be a brilliant decision and I hope it made fans from the 70s cry as much as I did in 2018.
Though Han and Leia are still not my favorite couple, I stand by that I do see it as a logical ship that works. I think that they provide good balance to the other’s personality, and I can see the ‘why’ to the ship. I suppose I’ve just been spoiled by greater love stories in my lifetime. (Please don’t bring out the torches!)
Anyway- I really did love that she threw his line back at him, ‘I love you’ and ‘I know’. I also love his confusion about the whole Luke scenario. That was actually one of my favorite scenes. “He’s my brother”. I sense that there should have been just about that level of confusion for Luke and Leia too- because, well, they did kiss. I did feel like that whole scenario could have been written and handled better. When Luke admitted to Leia that she was his sister, the response of ‘I know, somehow I’ve always known’ would have been a lot more beautiful if she hadn’t kissed him. If she’d always known- what the heck was that? I feel like the Luke/Leia kiss didn’t really serve a purpose to begin with, and now it kind of set Leia up for some awkward characterization.
And also, while we’re on the subject-I feel like bad explanations run in the family. Luke’s confession that he was Leia’s brother was on par with Vader’s explanation that he was Luke’s father- being in which that it was badly worded and not at all beautiful and captivating, as one would expect from such a scene. Again, the redemption of that should have been Leia’s response. Now, seeing as I have only just seen Star Wars– I don’t know, guys, was it intentional of Lucas to make brother/sister kiss, or was that a detail that they hadn’t written in yet (their relation)?
Onward to some of the smaller characters from here.
I adored the Ewoks. I found myself interested in their background and role with the main characters- but, I also found that I sort of wanted to bring one home. However, looking at their choice in Gods- I have to realize that bringing one home may not be ideal- their choice in C-3PO leaves something to be desired to say the least.
I don’t know how I felt about Jabba. From the photos I saw of him before I saw the episodes, I thought he’d be significantly less evil. But, he was giving some serious creepy Jafar/Jasmine vibes with Leia. Unexpected, not appreciated. As far as his animation goes- I love the way he looked, I loved the style- I’m just not sure I can say I loved what they did with his character.
Of course, Yoda dies. That was sad. I plan on making his namesake cupcake this weekend, and now I’m going to just be thinking about his death. I’m mildly concerned that the new (Disney) movies won’t have Yoda. Though- I hear they have a certain princess? So, we’ll see. (As I’m writing this- I feel like because I’ve only seen IV-VI, I’m probably still saying some very wrong things, and probably being laughed at. One of these days, I will certainly not sound like an idiot.
And no, I am still not over Chewbacca’s mustache. That will perturb me until my dying day.
I’m not entirely sure why I’d been so stubborn on Star Wars: whether it was because they were made in the 70s, or because they were so long, I really don’t know. My conclusion to the first part of the series is that I should have watched it a long time ago- especially as a fan of other iconic nerd movies, books, and shows like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
Sure, the graphics are from the 70s, I knew that, and it was to be expected. But, they did amazing for their time. And, you don’t watch something for the graphics anyway- you watch it for the story. And, some rushed arcs aside (which I’m sure are made up for in the movies that came after, don’t torch me here), this was an amazing story.
Even after being around Star Wars nerds for most of my life, I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of pieces of the story, and I fully believe it lived up to everything that those around me wanted it to be for me. So, I’m pleased to say we’ll be moving on to Episodes I-III next, but before then, there’s one last thing I wanted to say: