Warning: In case you don’t know even a single thing (and I’m talking a single iconic thing) about the original “Star Wars” trilogy, but you have an interest in finding out for yourself, don’t read any further. Although if you don’t know some of the things I mention in this article, you should really brush up on your classic pop culture skills.
Here’s something you might not know: Being a fan of something is expensive. Since 2001, I have spent literally thousands of dollars on “Harry Potter.” As I write this article, I’m just a few miles away from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, where I will soon enjoy the Diagon Alley addition to the park. Over the past sixteen years, I have learned that fan culture is pricey, and I love that “battle between good and evil in an environment totally-yet-not-so-different-from-your own” thing more than life itself.
That was why I told myself to stay the hell away from “Star Wars.” I knew what would happen, and I couldn’t afford it. As a teenager, I couldn’t have handled that. I was already spending money taking countrywide road trips for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” conventions (which, for my career, ended up paying off in a big way). I knew exactly what would happen if I dared get into those freaking “Star Wars.” I’d turn into “30 Rock’s” Liz Lemon.
I broke down in early June 2017. My dad couldn’t believe I’d never seen a single “Star Wars” film (save for “Episode I” when I was about four, so I don’t remember anything) since it’s so up my alley. So I told him I’d watch the original 1977 film with him one night. And I did.
And I freaking loved it.
While I haven’t quite turned into Liz Lemon (or even close). What transpired over the next few weeks was and is embarrassing. It was embarrassing when I yelled at a group of teenagers in my parents’ house to stop talking because I’d never seen “Return of the Jedi.” It was embarrassing that I waited until I was a graduate student to watch “Star Wars,” which isn’t even a euphemism for anything sexual. Actually, I can’t even imagine how it could be.
Anyway, I obviously had a lot of thoughts about what I was watching—all of which I’m sure are embarrassing, but I wouldn’t be Blue if I didn’t aim to humiliate myself in public. I don’t even know if I deserve to be writing this article, given how new to “Star Wars” I am and how possessive people are of this mythology. But we’ve all got to start somewhere, don’t we? So, here you go: the top five thoughts I had and opinions I developed the first time I saw the original “Star Wars” trilogy.
1. All I Want in Life is to Marry Han Solo
It’s probably bad that I’m starting with this one. In fact, it’s so bad that the spirit of a thousand fanboys just floated through my window and whispered, “Fake geek girl” three times in my poor, unsuspecting ears. And yeah, it probably seems that way. But guess what, fanboys? You don’t know anything about my geek girl history.
As a certified geek-girl-for-life (in other ways), I’ve consistently favored the Lancelot surrogate. In other words, I favor really strong supporting characters over the hero. I should not have expected it to be any different here. To me, Han Solo is the perfect character. He’s strong. He’s witty. He’s somehow able to communicate fluently with species outside of humanity. He’s a huge dork in a leading man’s body. The Solo character is, as I’ve recently figured out, probably the best and most dynamic character in the saga.
Basically, I just want to be Princess Leia, which brings me to my next point. Han Solo likes tough girls. Han Solo likes smart girls. As a tough, smart girl, I’ve heard time and again that I’ll never keep a man’s interest for very long because I’ll scare him away. Of course, I’m unwilling to change anything about my core personality, so if a tough guy happens to come around while I’m fighting my way to the top, well… that’s awesome. That hasn’t happened yet, but when it does, he’ll be like Han Solo.
The spirits of the fanboys climbed through my window again. They’re unhappy that I used two of the most iconic “Star Wars” characters to talk about myself. I just don’t care.
Also, if you’re curious: Yes, I have seen “The Force Awakens.” No, I’m not happy with it.
(Also, I mean. Look at him.)
2. The Best Acting I Have Ever Seen Mark Hamill Do Is on This Episode of "The Muppet Show"
As I’ve recently discovered, part of the appeal of “Star Wars” is its ridiculousness. Whether that’s because the whole thing takes place in space, there’s no way Leia’s hair in “A New Hope” is even a little comfortable, or these incredibly cheesy one-liners and the sometimes poor delivery of them, you just have to buy into it. And I have. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely blind to how cringe-worthy some of Luke Skywalker’s lines actually are.
In fairness, I don’t think a lot of it is Mark Hamill’s fault. There’s pretty much no non-ridiculous way to deliver the reaction to finding out that Darth Vader is your father. That doesn’t change the fact that for as iconic as Hamill’s Skywalker is, he’s still better on this one episode of “The Muppet Show.” In it, Hamill plays himself and his “cousin,” Luke Skywalker. The best part is when he “gargles Gershwin” with a Muppet called Angus McGonagall. Truly iconic. If you don’t believe me, watch it for yourself.
3. I Really Regret That I Didn't Grow up with Princess Leia
Growing up, the heroic female character I spent the most time with was obviously Hermione Granger. Hermione’s great. She’s awesome. She’s lovely. For someone as young and as interested in books and learning as I was, it was wonderful to see a young female character who was praised for those very attributes. Hermione Granger made bookish elementary-school students feel a lot less alone, and I thank her for that.
But there’s a major downside to Hermione that I didn’t realize until quite recently. She’s almost unabashedly a rule-follower. Clearly, she’ll break all the rules in order to pursue a worthy cause, but you better believe she’s going to try to avoid rule breaking. And if she can’t, well, then you better believe she’s going to complain about it almost the entire time.
Princess Leia’s not like that. She exists to rebel against convention and she’s the smartest person in the galaxy. She’s even more goal-oriented and organized than is Hermione Granger, but at the same time, her entire career is based on willing rebellion. Also, Leia has a biting wit about her—something that has been long and chiefly associated with male characters. Her cleverness doesn’t just stop with education. She knows how to be charming, which is an example of intelligence. And she just doesn’t hesitate when it comes to going for things. Somebody has to save their skins, and it’s going to be Leia. Meanwhile, Hermione’s always a little too reluctant to jump headfirst into the fray because her logic gets in the way. I can relate. After all, I grew up with her as an example.
But I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be a little girl with both Hermione and Leia as role models. I think I would have learned to be absolutely unstoppable.
4. You're Probably Not Supposed to Dislike C-3PO, but Here I Am
Let me begin by saying that I understand that C-3PO is one of the good guys. I understand that he interrupted Han and Leia’s kiss in “The Empire Strikes Back” because he thought he was being helpful. I understand that he reports the probability of death all the time because he’s a droid with anxiety disorder. I feel that. I report the probability of my own death about five times every single day.
But I still don’t like him. And there’s no escaping him, either. To date, he’s in every single “Star Wars” film.
And he’s the only one who is. When he was crushed to pieces in “The Empire Strikes Back,” I was thrilled to be rid of him for even a few minutes. But I knew my relief was temporary. That metallic anxiety machine always rises. Always.
I think about impending doom too much as it is. I don’t need to hear it from some golden robot when I’m trying to escape the anxieties of my ordinary life. Like, I get it. I won’t be piloting my way through an asteroid belt any time soon. But I will be undergoing surgery, and the asteroid belt could be a metaphor for that. And now, every time I think about it, all I can hear is that freaking droid, saying something like, “Ma’am, the possibility of you surviving your procedure is approximately 3,720 to 1.”
Never tell me the odds.
(Even with his red arm in "Episode VII," I still knew it was him.)
5. I'm about to Spend a Lot of Money
I haven’t yet. When I went to Disney World last week, I expected to come back with an extra suitcase filled with merchandise for my new house and office. Since I only went to the Magic Kingdom, and most of the “Star Wars” merchandise is safely hidden away in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, my wallet still remains intact.
That’s very temporary, I think. I just took a fifteen-minute break from finishing this article because I was looking up Funko Pop figures of Han Solo. There’s only one left in stock of the one I want. May the Force be with me, I guess.