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Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Long Time Ago in a City 800 Miles Away

I was 13 when I went to see the first Star Wars movie on opening weekend in 1977 in New York City when it was just called "Star Wars" without a subtitle or episode number. Theater staff handed out buttons saying "May the Force be with you." We had no idea what that meant. We then entered the theater and saw a great movie.

That first movie remains my favorite of the Star Wars series to date, with the movie's single tight finale and the "Force" more mysterious than real. Special effects in movies have gotten so good that they can no longer wow you like they could back then.

In the early 90's a Chicago professor gave a welcome lecture to the incoming freshman and ended by saying "May the Force be with you". Most of the students had no idea what he was talking about. I felt old that day.

As the final Star Wars chapter officially opens in the US today, my oldest daughter is only three years younger than I was when the first movie arrived. The movie has gotten good reviews and I look forward to reliving my youth, being with the Force and traveling one last time to that galaxy far far away.

7 comments:

  1. I remember that the original plan called for three trilogies, with the second one a prequel of the first and the third one a sequel. Unless it is abandoned, you will be able to relive your youth once more :-)

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  2. In the early 90's a Chicago professor gave a welcome lecture to the incoming freshman and ended by saying "May the Force be with you". Most of the students had no idea what he was talking about. I felt old that day.

    I find this very hard to believe. Star Wars, for better or worse, has becomes so much a part of our culture (even before the latest string of films) I can't imagine anyone of any age or geek level not at least knowing about it. In 1990, incoming freshmen would have been in the 17-19 range, meaning that they would have grown up with the phenomenon.

    Are you sure you didn't mistake confusion for how a young teen may react to an elder using the phrase "May the force be with you"?

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  3. Are you sure you didn't mistake confusion for how a young teen may react to an elder using the phrase "May the force be with you"?

    Perhaps they would have recognized the phrase if Yoda had given it instead?

    "...with you may the force be!"

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  4. It's quite clear that Lucas had no plans for prequels, nor even the original "Episode V" and "VI" sequels. No way when the first Star Wars was filmed were there any plans for a Yoda character, or a that Luke and Leia were siblings, or that Darth Vader was Luke's father.

    (Similarly, I would like to burst the bubble of anyone who is convinced the Matrix movies were supposed to be a trilogy from the start too. The lack of quality of the final two Matrix films should be all of the proof required.)

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  5. If I recall correctly, when Star Wars was first produced, it was produced as a stand alone with somewhat of an open ending for possibility of sequels, if the movie did well. Upon its great success, Lucas then wrote eight other films, basing the original as episode IV, with a prequel trilogy (which we have now seen, though how it adhered to the original design is anyone's guess) and sequal trilogy, with the idea that, upon completion of episode VI, they would shoot the prequel next, giving the actors time to age a little before doing the sequels. Of course, the problem with that now is they've let the actors age a little to much...

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  6. Actually in an interview with the agent for the Wachovski brothers, he explained how they had first asked him to shop a deal for a trilogy and $200M+ dollar budget from the get go, without them ever having directed a movie!!

    The agent convinced them to direct a smaller movie first (Bound) so that they could prove themselves to the studios.

    The agent also indicated that this was the reason the movie was filmed in Australia, as that was the only place where the money they got would last for three movies (in the end the first one was such a success that this would have been a non-issue).

    What I think is correct is that there was only a script and a plotline for the first movie, hence the mess of the 2nd and 3rd instalments.

    Not sure what this has to do with Complexity, though :-)

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  7. Lance wrote:
    I was 13 when I went to see the first Star Wars movie on opening weekend in 1977
    ...
    That first movie remains my favorite of the Star Wars series to date, with the movie's single tight finale and the "Force" more mysterious than real.
    ...
    In the early 90's a Chicago professor gave a welcome lecture to the incoming freshman and ended by saying "May the Force be with you". Most of the students had no idea what he was talking about. I felt old that day.


    Well, I was 17 in 1977 and perhaps it's those four extra years that made a difference for me. The science-fiction show that touched me was Star Trek. I mean the original TV series, with all it's campy charm.

    Star Wars had little impact on me, and I have never understood why it is so highly regarded. Star Wars was about "war" (think of all those pseudo-Nazi soldiers and the lengthy--and mindless--space battles ending with big explosions). Even its fans usually admit that the dialog is bad.

    Star Trek was about "exploring new worlds" ...

    I feel a lot older than that Chicago professor!

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