Several people have asked me, "How did you like the new Star Wars."
It should be noted that none of these people asked me how I liked The Rise Of Skywalker. The inquiries I have received for the most part lie in that conversational gambit pit much in the same way that people talk about "that new show on Netflix" or the weather. I do not doubt their interest, in me anyway. That's because when I give my response that includes a shrug of my shoulders and words like "adequate" and "tying up loose ends," I get a sad face in return. And, "Oh, I'm sorry."
Because I have waited forty-two years for this. After buying tickets to see A New Hope in a theater dozens of times before the advent of home video, and snapping up the novelization and the nominal sequel as we all waited for the Empire to Strike Back, I did not dare to imagine that there would or could be decades filled with anticipation for the next chapter. Back in 1977, there was no talk of trilogies, outside of that close-knit group of nerds who hung on each syllable and wisp of myth. Fanboys.
I was one of those. I remember being crushed by the revelation that we would have to wait two years to discover what exactly Darth Vader meant by "I am your father." The Princess is his sister? What? Then, in 1983, all those questions were neatly answered by a bunch of Ewoks and a finale that left me wondering why it had to end like that.
Thirty-six years later, I feel that same sense of ennui. Why did it have to end like that? The choice to move ahead with episodes seven, eight and nine was not so much daring as good accounting. The public had already had its patience and pocketbooks tested by three prequels, why not stack another trilogy on top? A science fiction Big Mac, as it were.
The Last Jedi hooked me, much in the same way that Empire got snared me way back when. I was chock full of anticipation. How could any one movie cap off all those decades of nerdful expectation? The answer is simple: There is no way. In the same way that I picked the space nits off episodes one, two and three, and my misgivings about the way the Jedi returned, I was treating it as if it were my shared vision.
Which is dangerous, since it leads to disappointment. The joy and wonder I felt wandering around Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland and the warm feeling I got from the moment my six year old son ran in from the living room announcing, "Dad! Luke blew up the Death Star!" Those are the gifts of that land of make believe. The opportunity to quibble about the Kessel Run and Midichlorians only proves how important all of this made up junk was - is - to me.
How did I like the new Star Wars? I think it gives me a chance to do what I have been doing to 1977: Worry about something that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.