I had not intended to watch The Force Awakens. I had watched Episode I and II, and I think lost interest after. Star Wars being so firmly fixed in American pop culture, I was able to easily fake understanding whenever there was a Jedi or Vader reference thrown my way, even without doing any other research, and with only the image of Hayden Christensen as true representation of The Force in my head. Until this year, when true fandom sat in the other cube from me at work.
One of my coworkers breathes Star Wars. It was merely a quirk easily shrugged off at first. (He wondered if he could wear a collared shirt with Vader’s helmet embroidered on the chest for Casual Friday.) Then it slowly became part of his work identity as the cubicle decorations came up, and the Star Wars trivia occurred. It was inevitable, I would eventually verbalize to the man I had no clue what the heck he was talking about. But I had to, he insisted because the new movie was coming out. Yes, yes, I will put the movies on queue. No, not this weekend, next weekend maybe. And then, the excuses ran dry and even I felt lazy and ashamed so I buckled down and prepared to focus.
Episode IV (the fact that I’m even doing these in Roman Numerals make me feel icky geeky.) The acting was horrible! I could not ignore the novelty of actually being introduced to legendary characters I have heard about for so long, but the awkwardness of them all was still hard to take. I wrote commentaries as I watched just to keep me going, but near the end, comical or intriguing I still had to continue.
Episode V. Prepared for horrible scripts and awkward over-acting, I was more able to listen and learn about the story unfolding. And I emerged with so many questions. I was starting to become a student. Gag!
Episode VI. Can I just for now say there is absolutely no way I should have to yell SPOILER ALERT? I do believe I’m the last person on the planet to hear about this. Darth Vader dies! Does he? Is he dead? Or is the Emperor dead? I saw Skywalker do a fall like that too and he survived. Maybe the Emperor also landed on something, slid down a shoot and escaped. Who knows? My coworker does I’m sure, and I wait until Monday to pose these questions to him.
Episode VII – I think I have learned enough about the Star Wars fandom not to even recap my thoughts until much later.
But my mom saw through social media posts that I had been watching Star Wars and decided to treat myself and the kids to a night at the movies. It was amazing!
The theatre was full of cheers, and laughter and comradery. My son and I bonded over details we noticed that we could tie to the other episodes and those we couldn’t (he’s not very knowledgeable about it himself, though I believe he is the nerdier of the two of us) and we discussed what we wanted and expected for the next episode, to which he said “You think you can wait?” You know what, I don’t think I can.
Now, I’m going back to start from the beginning (The Phantom Menace) so I can go back to work having done all the research possible.