As you read this, I’m well on my way to picking up my older two from school and taking them straight to the movie theater where we’ll be able to partake in the new Star Wars movie — the first in 10 years, and the first sequel to Return of the Jedi since 1983.
They’re pretty stoked, it’s safe to say. We watched Star Wars Rebels this past year and have gradually gone through the original trilogy, 30 minutes at a time, until finishing up with Return of the Jedi a few weeks ago. For my kids, they won’t have to wait very long to see what happens next. I’ve had to wait since I was 7.
Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood — not the only part, not even the only pop culture part, but big even so. Seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater was one of my most treasured movie memories, and that was followed by years of collecting toys, reading the novels, and endlessly re-watching all three films. We even got super-excited over the Ewoks and Droids cartoons in the late ’80s, just for more Star Wars.
I’m not trying to mold my kids’ childhoods after my own. They like Star Wars because they actually like it. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t force them to go see this movie or push it on them. My son absolutely adores R2D2, to the point where we have a giant inflatable in the front yard right now of the droid as part of our Christmas decorations. And yes, the kids thought the Ewoks in Jedi were a hoot and you can take your grown-up cynicism about them and go elsewhere.
Seeing the movie today will be momentous for them, I’m sure. We don’t go see a lot of films in the theater, and when we do they’re usually cartoons. But I do not want them to miss out on being able to have seen a Star Wars film on opening day. Maybe it’ll be just another movie to them. Maybe not.
We started the day by blasting the Star Wars theme as we got dressed, and my son made sure that both he and I wore our matching Darth Vader jackets. So here’s hoping that the movie is excellent, that this marks a new era of great films (I’m actually really psyched about Rogue One), and that our childhoods — mine in the past, theirs in the present — will intersect for a time in the theater today.