The first time I was ever introduced to Star Wars began with my older cousin’s bedroom wall. My cousin has a collective assembly of nerd fandom, the likes of which one could only imagine! His room was meticulous to boot! He had Marvel Comics from the 70’s and beyond and nearly every Simpson’s comic ever printed! Supermodels around his bed so beautiful that at the age of 5 I had convinced myself I was a lesbian for finding them so attractive! I loved my cousin’s room- from afar- as I was never allowed inside. However, behind my cousin’s padlocked fortress was always a small window of opportunity that I breathed every chance I could -when he’d come out and reveal a small window of time where I could see, in clear view, neatly pinned Star Wars action figures on the wall. The figures were not much longer than the palm of my hand, and in the second to top row, near the middle, was a woman figurine in a white dress and stellar buns. I wanted to be that woman.
I would beg my mother to send me to school in those buns, to let me be her! Whoever she was! The one who found a place in this decked-out boys club I wanted to explore. She never could get my hair in those buns, unfortunately. From then on I knew I had a mission to complete. I needed to know who this lady in white was.
Fast forward about two or three years, a new neighbor named Danny moved in to the house down the block, just two down from mine. A beautiful blue house with a garden and a mowed backyard, and carpets you couldn’t walk on with shoes! Danny had a computer, which in the 90’s was a big deal. He would play chess and war games on it. Danny also went to private school and had one of those awesome town rugs in his bedroom. But the best part about Danny’s house, was his attic filled with boxes and boxes of the coolest toys.
In retrospect, Danny didn’t have stuff as cool as most of what my cousin had- for instance he didn’t really own any comics let alone Simpson’s comics- But he had EVERYTHING Star Wars related! And the best part was that they were all OPEN! A Millennium Falcon, Slave I, a Death Star, Cantina scum, you name it! Even a Leia, who he was more than happy to let me play with and tell me all about. Eventually Danny was my first Star Wars birthday party, too. I didn’t even know you could have one of those at that point in my life!
After probably weeks of playing nearly endlessly at Danny’s house -only taking breaks to ride our 6-speed bikes- I set out to see the movies. I knew my cousin was going to be a dead-end, and my parents didn’t HAVE them, but maybe my uncle in the basement would! So naturally, I went into his collection to find out and there it was. A marvelous 3 tape set that when put together formed the face of the evil Lord Vader! The puzzle snapped together and I was so excited. I KNEW where they were, my mission was near an end, or so I thought. I couldn’t just take my uncle’s videos and when I asked him to borrow them he literally laughed at me and said ‘no’. But I didn’t give up- oh no! I nagged him 7-year-old style until he finally caved! After who-knows how much incessant begging he cleared one night for me to watch one movie. I even remember the smell of the basement that night… although I won’t go into it.
A New Hope had Leia being everything I had hoped for. She treated boys like they had cooties, she was brave, and smart, and bad ass! She was me in my head when I grew up, except instead of a WWF Superstar she was a diplomat and space princess… I could settle for that – I thought.
It was from then on, I went on to see the other films, eventually holding Empire Strikes Back as my favorite. But that first quest to discover the universe of the galaxy far far away is a dear memory to me even till this day. And well, now as a parent I have the amazing business of watching my daughter discover this world in a whole new way! I honestly wouldn’t say, even after all that, that the Star Wars movies are my all time favorite movies. But I will say that the Star Wars Universe has a funny way of enveloping me in its magic. One moment I can’t sleep and the next I’m reading tales of Boba Fett’s beyond the Sarlacc, and trying to learn Mando’a because it’s beautiful! I adore the way fans have developed these characters, stories, languages, and more. I find it all to be a muse for my own creativity and spark something really bewitching. It truly brings me back to a place, of sci-fi fantasy, which only my 5-year-old mind could have thought-up. And I’ll always love it, and revisit it, and cherish it.