My immediate family is made up of introverts and geeks, but somehow I never was fully exposed to Star Wars (or Star Trek for that matter) as a child. I occasionally saw bits and pieces at friends’ houses, but it never grabbed my young imagination. (Frankly, I was convinced it was a very long, very dull movie.) As I grew older, I simply dismissed the original trilogy as something “not for me: . . . until Star Wars: A New Hope was re-released in theaters in 1997.
As a nineteen-year-old daddy’s girl, the idea of getting to spend one-on-one time with my father enthralled me, so when he invited me to go see Star Wars with him, I eagerly accepted. I was a little anxious as we headed into the theater, because my only strong memory of the film was whiny Luke and lots of sand, but as the crawl started and John Williams’ score began with its swooping instrumentals ,I found myself escaping from the stress of my freshman year at college to a universe far, far away. When I looked over at my dad as the movie ended, I saw that he’d been moved as much as I had; we’d created a special moment where the two of us related less as father and daughter and more as two nerdy souls loving the great space opera of a compelling story.
Dad took me to the re-releases of The Empire Strikes Back when I came home one weekend and we gleefully rushed to theaters for Return of the Jedi over spring break, and I adored every minute of it. Each time I came out of the films eager to discuss the nuances of the stories with my dad, and he was more than happy to offer his ideas and theories. Looking back, it’s even more special how my dad and I grew closer over films about how the parental bond can become warped and dark, but I genuinely think we both adored dissecting what we like and disliked in the franchise. Even now, we can nitpick a movie, book, TV show, or other media we love to shreds, because it’s one of the best ways for us to have a good time.
Unfortunately, the prequels didn’t draw us in the way the original trilogy did, and I watched The Force Awakens alone; however, the memories of watching the original trilogy with Dad shine brightly, and I fully believe those moments helped me through a difficult first year of college, since I knew someone at home understood me fully and wanted to see me spread my wings.