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I don't remember the first time I watched Star Wars. Like parents or hating maths Star Wars is one of those things that have always been in my life, with no before. Logically I must have been introduced to it through one of the free-to-air television Star Wars trilogy runs which came at least twice a year, but I'm happy with my personal mythology that like DNA, Star Wars has just always been in my imagination.

And boy has it been my imagination. The X-Wing computer games let me fly my favourite starfighter. The Extended Universe books ate up all my pocket money and some of my parents', I shared the books with fellow fan-friends at school to read under our desks in class, and when the original trilogy was re-released in cinemas the only threat my mother needed to get me to behave was that she wouldn't let me see the movies. She did, of course, and bought me the full-size movie poster to boot. I had all the facts memorised, I knew how many TIE fighters an Imperial-class Star Destroyer could carry (72), the name of every alien glimpsed in the Mos Eisley cantina and Jabba's palace, and if you ever ask me to sing the entire film soundtrack from The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi from opening fanfare to end credits I'll do that too.

I went to the midnight premieres for all three of the prequels, the last one while costumed as Queen Amidala in her first Episode 1 dress and I was photographed for the local paper. No, I don't love the prequel trilogy the way I do the original trilogy, but neither do I hate it the way everybody else does. I'm aware that my memories of the original trilogy are coloured by nostalgia, that the originals were originally made for children, and those children-now-grown-up had ridiculous expectations married with grown-up tastes labeling the prequels as crimes against humanity rather than just mediocre movies. Plus the little kids I know who watched the prequels love the prequels the same way I love original trilogy.

Hearing the Disney had bought Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars hit both the cynic and hopeful fan in me, because oodles of profit off the biggest movie IP in history aside, if Disney's hands-off approach to Pixar and Marvel was anything to go by Disney owning Star Wars could work out. As I understood JJ Abrams to be much more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek, him being slated to direct Episode VII didn't faze me. And then the cast list of a young woman, Moses from Attack The Block and the original actors and writers and John Williams himself ... I let myself hope. Hesitantly. Other than those news headlines I paid little attention to the production's development - but then the teaser trailer dropped. And all I needed was the Millennium Falcon soaring over desert and the John Williams Star Wars fanfare to be grinning like an idiot.


Bring on Episode VIII.


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May 2016

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