A Star Wars Saga

Jill Pertler

It’s that special time of year and we’re a nation in anticipation. My family is experiencing the same star-laden excitement as the rest of the country and I’m not talking about deciding who gets to place the topper on the tree. The newest Star Wars premiere is coming soon to a theater near you!

The whole Star Wars pop culture phenomenon started 38 years ago, in 1977, with the original movie. Because of its success the one movie quickly became a trilogy, with shows released in 1980 and 1983. The second set of three movies spanned from 1999 to 2005 and gave us the prequel to the first three episodes. So, the first episode wasn’t the first, it was the fourth, even though it was released first. The second was the fifth and the third the sixth. The fourth was the first and so on. You don’t have to be a Jedi Master to follow the logic. Even Jar Jar Binks could do the math.

At our house the excitement is as palpable as Senator Palpatine’s evil aura. My guys – all fans of the Force – debate intricacies that I’ve yet to understand, much less ponder. They are making plans to see the film at midnight the first day it is released. I am making plans to sleep. Sorry, I know how incredibly anti-Wookie that sounds.

(Whispered) I’m not a huge fan of Star Wars. I don’t even own a lightsaber. I’m going to have to rewatch the first six movies in order to understand what’s going on in the current one. And, quite frankly, I’m not sure I have the time.

My husband is unaccepting and in denial regarding my total lack of any sense of the Force. He’s been trying to get me to turn to the dark side since 1983, when he tricked me into seeing the third movie (which was actually the sixth, we just didn’t know it at the time). He said we were going to see “Flashdance,” or maybe it was “Terms of Endearment,” I can’t remember which. I do remember not seeing either.

Instead we went to “Return of the Jedi.” In a year with films like “Risky Business,” “The Big Chill” and “Staying Alive,” my husband, who was not my husband or even my boyfriend at the time, picked a movie that featured a Muppet in an attempt to impress me.

Our familial history with the franchise doesn’t stop there. Our sons were at impressionable ages when the second trilogy was released and another generation of Star Wars fans was created. One son even had his own Jedi braid when he was about 5. My boys are serious about this “May the Force be with you” stuff.

While epic, here’s the Star Wars saga in a nutshell: Boy meets girl. Anakin Skywalker and Padme were 9 and 13 when they first met. They grew up, fell in love and got married. Anakin was busy becoming a Jedi, otherwise known as “one of the good guys,” but the dark side proved tempting. Padme got pregnant, delivered twins and died during childbirth. This further pushed Anakin into the abyss (literally), from which he emerged as Darth Vader – one of the greatest villains of all time.

Jump forward a couple of decades. The twins, Luke and Leia, are all grown up, but they don’t know they are brother and sister because they were separated at birth. Leia is a princess. Luke’s Jedi skills are emerging. “The Force is strong in this one.” Darth Vader attempts to entice Luke over to the dark side. “I am your father.” Luke goes to Jedi school with a Muppet.

Meanwhile, battles and wars break out and planets get blown up, but Leia’s funky hair always stays in place. There are also robots and lots of weird looking aliens thrown in for good measure. Luke fights his dad a couple of times in awesome action scenes featuring lightsabers as the weapons of choice for chopping off right hands. Darth dies, but not before making peace with Luke. Leia falls in love with Han Solo and in a little known tidbit of trivia, Chewbacca marries and has a son named Lumpawarrump. I’m not making that up. I found the info on Wookiepedia, and I’m not making that up, either.

The world’s abuzz with Star Wars hype. And, despite not being much of a fan, I’ll probably go see the movie. Not at midnight, but I’ll go. With my husband – because he is a super fan and we sort of have a longstanding history with this Star Wars stuff.

For us, it all started a long time ago, in a movie theater far, far away, when we were just starry-eyed teenagers not much older than Padme was when she met Anakin. Sigh.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.