May 4th is Star Wars Day. A day in which all Star Wars fans celebrate all things from “a galaxy far, far away”.
The first celebration of Star Wars Day took place in Toronto Canada in 2011 and has become a yearly event for fans to this day. Not only do fans wish one another, “May the 4th be with you” but also gather for movie parties, cosplay events, merchandise sales and more – all paying respect to the Star Wars Universe, their favorite characters and the person who’s vision made it all possible, George Lucas.
It’s not surprise that the founders and staff at Star Wars Reporter are devout Star Wars fans with our own favorites, memories and love for the sci-fi drama and we want to share them with you. We got together to talk about our Favorite Star Wars Character, Favorite Star Wars Memory and Favorite Star Wars Film.
Favorite Star Wars Memory: A long time ago in our very own galaxy, my journey with Star Wars began as a five year old sitting beside my father while munching on popcorn watching the “Miwenium Falcon” race through hyperspace, while begging my mother to somehow figure out to recreate my spiral curls into Princess Leia’s twin-buns (we never really succeeded). That memory would die away to be rejuvenated fifteen years later, as a senior in college, as I scribbled the first words to an essay after a spiritual awakening with Star Wars (See that article here: http://starwarsreporter.com/2016/03/31/star-wars-a-bigger-fish-the-fandom-journey-of-a-new-star-wars-fan/). Then my passion for the fandom was lit, and I was challenged to pursue my faith through the symbolism of the films and its theological implications. I’ll never forget how I sat, as an educated adult, with starry eyes as I filled a legal pad furiously with notes.
Favorite Star Wars Character: I’ve always had a girlish affinity with Obi-Wan Kenobi. I stated in my article The Character of Kenobi: A Tribute, that: “He’s the knight in shining armor that women across the world spend their childhood’s imagining and their adulthood planning for – he is an enigma of chaste charm and tasteful chivalry, and twice as handsome, and he has a kind and sincere heart…” My favorite thing about Obi-Wan, however, is that he represents the parts of us that try to pursue the light while living in the darkness. It is the struggle of Romans 12:2 – the struggle of being forced to live separately from the world that so desperately tries to pull you in.
Favorite Star Wars Film: Revenge of the Sith, for many reasons. Mainly for me, however, is the fact that it’s really the climax in the story of Star Wars. The greatest villain argued to ever have been conceived – Darth Vader – is born out of a broken vessel of hope. It’s the story of humanity’s fall, essentially – Anakin, the Chosen One to balance the Force, falls into darkness, leaving us on the cusp of devastation. For me it is symbolism of humanity’s fall in the Biblical account of Genesis 3 – the promised hope of Earth, the purest creation (humanity) falls due to their jaded pride, much like Anakin Skywalker. Without Revenge of the Sith, we don’t have the climax of devastation that leads us to the new hope, Luke Skywalker, and thus we don’t have much of a conflict – and, we all know every story needs conflict to be an engaging piece, otherwise it isn’t a story that we can identify with at all.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Favorite Star Wars Memory: Star Wars: A New Hope was released in May, 1977. I had just turned 15 and my sister was almost 12. In June, we begged our mom to take us to see the film. She didn’t really care about seeing it (Space ships? What the heck?), but it was a good way to celebrate the end of the school year. Our grandmother was living with us at the time, after becoming a widow a year earlier. Mom didn’t want to leave her alone for too long, so the four of us piled into the car and headed to the theater. My sister and I fell in love with the Star Wars universe, of course. Mom still didn’t get it, really, but didn’t mind going. My grandmother thought it was lots of fun. She was almost 82! She died the next year. Thus, my favorite and earliest memory revolving the whole Star Wars universe is the fact that it was the last movie my Norwegian grandma got to see at the theater. And she liked it.
Favorite Star Wars Memory:
I thought long and hard about this because there are so many Star Wars memories. Watching the original film on Beta Max as a sick child. Playing with my action figures in the back yard. Waiting in line for the prequels. My father taking us to see Return of the Jedi on the first day we’d moved into a new, strange town so that we’d find some comfort and familiarity. Walking down the isle at my own wedding as the Imperial March played. Star Wars has infused so many important moments in my life.
But, the single greatest memory I have of Star Wars is when I got to truly become part of the adventure. On October 31st, 2016, Endless Vigil: A Sourcebook for Sentinels was published by Fantasy Flight Games for use with their officially licensed roleplaying game Star Wars: Force & Destiny. This long journey began back in 1987, when I discovered The Star Wars Roleplaying Game. It was published by West End Games back then, and it was my first exposure to the world of tabletop RPGs. It kindled a passion that has become a driving force in my creativity. What began at that stall in a shabby flea market when I saw that book on a wire rack would lead me on an adventure as grand as the Old Republic itself.
Years later, I would work as a freelance writer in the RPG industry. From OGL d20 products, to The One Ring Roleplaying Game, my resume grew slowly but steadily. My writing would also include a plethora of products published by my own one-man company, Barrel Rider Games. But all of it was done in pursuit of that elusive dream that a 9 year old boy had. I wanted to write for the Star Wars RPG. Star Wars is my galaxy, and roleplaying games are my canvas. It was my destiny.I never stopped chasing that dream, that destiny. After communicating with Fantasy Flight Games a not so long time ago, I was given the opportunity to join their freelance team and was elated at my first assignment.
I was also a complete and utter nervous wreck. I was writing Star Wars. Let that sink in for a second. My words had to get approval by not only Fantasy Flight Games, but also Lucasfilm and the Story Group. I was to be judged by the gods themselves. It was too much. It was too big.
“Size matters not.”
So, I pressed ahead. I pushed past my doubts and insecurities. I wrote with all the love and passion that had built up over my lifetime. With guidance from my editors and support from my wife, I turned in my work and waited… and waited… and waited.
I had written official Star Wars material. I had contributed to the canon. I had done it. And I couldn’t tell a soul. You see, when working on something like this contributors are required to sign what’s called a Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA. The NDA prohibits as contributor from discussing anything about their contribution or the final product without express permission until such a time as the product is released to the public.
That day was October 31, 2016. That was the day my name appeared as a contributing author to the Star Wars saga – albiet in a very minor capacity. But still, I had done it. I remember receiving my contributor’s copy in the mail. I have no shame in admiting that I wept openly. If I could have gone back to nine-year-old me aid said that he had just taken his first steps into a larger world; if I could have told fifteen year old me that the mockery he suffered for his love of those old sci-fi movies would be vindicated; if I could have offered gentle support to a homeless twenty-five year old and told him that in a little more than a decade, he’d be part of a galaxy far, far away in ways he couldn’t imagine.
But I couldn’t. So instead, I wept. I wept for a dream turned reality. I wept for the joy in my heart. I wept for the humility at getting to part of this grand creation. I wept for Star Wars.
Favorite Star Wars Character:
I love Anakin, and Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka. I love Norra Wexley, and Poe Dameron, and R2-D2. I love Zeb, and Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Darth Revan.
But Luke Skywalker has been my hero since the first day we met. He was a kid stuck in a farm town. He felt put upon by his family. He whined all the time. We had a lot in common.Luke taught me a lot too. As did his mentors. We grew up together. Sure, I was no Jedi Knight. I didn’t know how to use a lightsaber (though Luke did inspire me to take three years of german longsword fencing – does that count?), and I didn’t have any connection to the Force. Heck, I’m not even that great behind the wheel.
But Luke taught me none of that matters. Idealism, and belief in people is something worth fighting and worth dying for. It doesn’t matter if they’ve slighted you or hurt you in the past. It doesn’t matter if they’ve destroyed planets. It doesn’t matter if they’re seven feet tall and entombed in a black suit of cybernetic body armor. You have to believe in people. You have to believe that deep down, there is conflict – there is good. That sentiment seems particularly apt right now. At the time of this writing, we await the release of The Last Jedi with only Luke’s cryptic “The Jedi must die” remark. And though those words seem to bare grim portents – I have hope. I have faith in Luke. Just like he always had faith in me.
Favorite Star Wars Movie:
I can’t. I just can’t pick a favorite. It’s not possible. Star Wars is such a huge part of my life and my thought process that my favorite film changes with my mood or with the day.
On days when things seem impossible and I need to muster up the courage to do the impossible, Rogue One is my favorite.
When I need to see my beloved Ewoks being awesome and reminding me of wonderful childhood memories, it’s Return of the Jedi.
When I want to recapture that innocent fun of sitting on the living room floor and watching our Beta Max, it’s A New Hope.
When I want to reminded just how terrible and tragic the fall of the Republic was, it’s Revenge of the Sith.
Call it a cop out, but the truth is I don’t think I have a favorite. I can’t. Do I have a favorite hand? Or a favorite lung? No. Because they’re just ever present, they’re a part of me. That’s how ubiquitous Star Wars is.
Favorite Star Wars Memory:I fondly remember my first Star Wars toys. It was on the very next Christmas after the release of the 1977 film, A New Hope. For Christmas,(Santa) brought me an X-Wing and a (Farm Boy) Luke Skywalker action figure! I was inseparable from them. Using my backyard that had a small creek running though it as a backdrop, I can still remember the many adventures that “Luke and his X-Wing” had on the many planets around the galaxy all while evading the evil Empire! Along with the films, the old Kenner toy commercials were the inspirations for my game-play.
Favorite Star Wars Character: Mark Ham..er…I mean – Luke Skywalker! As a young boy growing up in a small mining town in northern Canada, I could empathize with the loneliness that Luke must have felt. Of course, he was in the middle of nowhere in the dessert and I was in the middle of nowhere in snow. I connected and loved Luke’s story of pulling himself out of obscurity to becoming a hero of the galaxy. I remember wanting to “be Luke Skywalker” when I grew up. To be honest, I still do! I remember the feeling of relief and fulfillment at the end of Return of the Jedi when Luke was able to resist the Dark Side and help defeat the Empire once and for all. Of course, this was small in comparison to when I actually met Mark Hamill in real life last summer at the Toronto FanExpo in Canada! It was a 35 year dream come true! I brought my 12 year old “Luke FanGirl” daughter with me. She was so excited. When we were next in line for a photo op, my daughter turned to me and said, “I can’t breathe! It’s Luke…oh my God! I can’t breathe!” It was a great moment for the both of us!
Favorite Star Wars Film: Return of the Jedi. It was hard to just pick one favorite but my memories of this film were the strongest. I know, I know! “But the Ewoks, uugh!”. I loved the Ewoks and still do! To me, this was the ultimate film that brought the trilogy together. An epic battle on all fronts with the goodness of the Rebels defeating the evil of The Empire. We also see Luke Skywalker completing his quest to become a Jedi Master, the low tech but numerous Ewoks defeating the hi-tech Empire, and the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. And all this with some of the best battles and action scenes in the trilogy. What’s not to love? For me, the most satisfying part was that moment at the Ewok celebration where Luke is alone and the ghosts of Obiwan, Yoda and Anakin appear and we have that warm moment of them all smiling. Then the scene ends on our heroes together before the credits…Those feels!
Favorite Star Wars Memory:
Hey guys. With four decades of devotion, nearly my entire life spent loving Star Wars, naturally it’s very difficult to pin down a singular memory that defines my wondrous experience with that galaxy far, far away, But as I stroll down memory lane, I don’t know that I can ever remember a feeling that matched seeing Star Wars for the first time as a five and a half year old child. I was a quiet kid, thoughtful, calm, and already a thinker and dreamer. I was exactly what Lucas was targeting. Nothing in my geek life can compare to the feelings that washed over me as that iconic theme blasted through the movie house’s speakers on that summer day in 77′; nor will I ever forget the intensity of beholding the star destroyer as it filled my field of vision. I was in. I was entranced, transported, captivated, and the feelings of awe and wonder never left me. To this day my mom smiles when she describes how every time she looked over at me, she saw me sitting there stunned, speechless, with mouth hanging open, eyes wide as saucers. It totally floored me. We left the theater and that was it: it was Star Wars, Star Wars, Stars Wars, from that day forward. I’ve had a lifetime of joyful experiences: holidays, birthdays, the ensuing releases of sequels and prequels, but nothing will ever top seeing Star Wars for the first time as a child. It was as magical a feeling as I’ve ever felt, and I carry it with me to this day. I’m honored to be writing to you now, in 2017, so many years later.
Favorite Star Wars Character:
My favorite character is Darth Vader. Its a toughie, for I most identify with Luke, and as a child I was Luke when battling imaginary Stormtroopers… Luke Skywalker and subsequently Mark Hamill are my heroes, but in the movies, Darth Vader captivated me with his stunning appearance and imposing presence. I’m a sucker for great villains, and Vader went on to become so much more. That black mask and cape, the red lightsaber, his power with the dark side of the force… Yep, I’m a Vader fan, and an Anakin fan, too. He’s just awesome to behold onscreen: the voice, the breath mask. I loved how he remained so calm in Empire and Jedi, yet you knew there was intense anger brewing underneath, and just the possibility for him to unleash his rage made him so much more forbidding. And I was awestruck that by the end of the OT we got to see the vulnerable side of this fearsome Sith Lord. As Luke’s story arc went full circle, so did Vader’s. He remains my all time favorite character to watch.
Favorite Star Wars Film:
Nothing can match the impact of the original movie, A New Hope, as it became; and I’d never argue over Empire being the best, BUT Return of the Jedi is my favorite, hands down. Yep, ewoks and all. While I’ll admit Jedi had some of the weakest attributes of the OT, for me it also had the best. The confrontation between Vader, Luke, and the Emperor are the pinnacle of the saga, and my favorite scenes in all of Star Wars. Every line by Palpatine is iconic, and to see the Emperor of the universe in a showdown with Luke Skywalker inside the incomplete Death Star while epic space battle raged outside just gives me chills. The battle between father and son with the Emperor encouraging them was what the whole thing had led up to. Perhaps my favorite individual scene is when Luke confronts Vader right after his capture on Endor, and for the first time we get the slightest hint that there’s some compassion behind that evil looking breath-mask. The way Vader utters, “It is too late for me, son…” shows at least a slight hint of compassion, and the especially deep breath he takes after Luke is led away displayed that indeed, Luke was right about him… I also love great big endings, and between the confrontation with the Emperor, the most epic space battle ever put on film, and the desperate fight to destroy the shield generator on Endor, Return of the Jedi succeeded for me in bringing the OT to a stunning, epic conclusion.