By Jeremy Konrad
I was born in 1984, otherwise known as one year after Return of the Jedi came out, and at that time ending the Star Wars saga. Sadly, I missed all the hoopla, all the collecting (oh to have a time machine!), all of the madness that was the OT in theaters on their first runs. I first saw them on VHS when I was 6 years old, and I loved every second of them. While Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were also prevalent, the Saga always seemed to be the one that stuck with me the most. Luke’s journey from moisture farmer (and droid enthusiast) to conqueror of Empire inspired me in ways talking turtles and Bill Murray never could. I was still too young to have read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, but even in my adolescent way I knew I was watching something special.
I did not get to see the Saga on the big screen until the special editions hit theaters in 1997. By then, I had a little brother who was 7, and watching him experiences the films on the big screen filled me with joy and an intense jealousy since he got to see them on the big screen for the first time instead of on our small television at home. Although, he has grown up thinking Han shot second (and that is wrong!).
We were Star Wars buddies all the way through the prequels, and yes, we enjoyed them (well, Attack of the Clones was and is a little more hard to appreciate) all immensely. After Revenge of the Sith came out, we thought the Saga was finished. At this point I was 19, and comics had pretty much taken over every aspect of my life. I read Star Wars comics and the occasional novel as well, but as far as collecting the toys and memorabilia, I resisted. I was not yet ready to give myself over completely to the Force. I knew that from a financial and time standpoint, it would consume me. So, I kept staying on the fringe, dabbling a little here and there, while always feeling the pull to just give in and admit I needed Star Wars in my life.
Flash forward to 2012.
My beautiful daughter Kaitlyn was born that summer, and we were thick as thieves from the start. I had gotten the Saga Blu Ray collection and I began re-watching them that fall. The Phantom Menace had been on all of 5 minutes, with the little one walking around, and the second Qui-Gon ignited his lightsaber, she stopped dead in her tracks. She sat down on that spot on the floor and didn’t move for 40 minutes, dead silent until I moved from the couch down with her. She crawled up into my lap, turned her head smiled and pointed at the screen.
It was all over.
We watched a movie a night, saving Return of the Jedi for last year on May The 4th, and then started watching The Clone Wars together as well. To this day, if that music comes on, no matter where she is, she runs into the room, points and cuddles up next to me to watch. She is about to turn two. Her favorite characters are Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars (and I do terrible impressions of each of them.)
Star Wars is the first thing my daughter and I have bonded over, and I am sure I am not alone in that regard. That alone would be enough to make me a diehard fan for life. But, now we collect anything and everything Star Wars related. I am now kicking myself for resisting all of these years, as the Star Wars fan community is full of some of the nicest, most passionate fans in the galaxy. When I started seriously collecting, I found all kinds of outlets for my fandom, including The Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club, many great fan sites like Rebelscum.com, Jedibusiness.com, and great podcasts like Rebel Force Radio, Star Wars Action News, and Galaxy Of Toys to name a few.
The Disney sale, the announcement of new films, the EU reboot, and this week’s casting announcement have us fans in a tizzy. This is such a great time to be a Star Wars fan. Personally, I know that Katie and I are looking most forward to Rebels, and many more lazy days on the couch watching new characters and their stories unfold.
I love Star Wars. I love the OT. I love the prequels. The Clone Wars is a crowning achievement in animation. I love the EU. Dark Horse has made quality Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and I am sad that that is ending this year. (Get caught up this weekend digitally with their May The 4th bundle sale!) I love Kenner for making the original toys and Hasbro for carrying the torch for collectors. These films and this hobby fill me with more joy than anything in my life besides my family.
Most of all, I love you Star Wars fans. Thanks for welcoming me with open arms.
May The Force Be With You.
Jeremy Konrad is a freelance writer for Bleeding Cool. He always wants to talk anything and everything Star Wars. Follow him on Twitter @jeremyohio
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