A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away… | Level Up

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away… | Level Up

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A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away?

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This is one of the most potent phrases in all of Geek Culture. With a single line, George Lucas changed the film landscape forever. To this day, when this phrase flashes on a screen, the eight-year-old inside of me gets lost in a world almost as real as the one around us. In a few weeks, Solo: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters all across the globe. For 2 hours and 30 minutes geeks of all age, gender, race, and religion will be instantly transported a galaxy far, far away. So, how has this phrase, and the universe behind it, stayed so important and relevant for over 40 years? I?m glad you asked.

I saw Star Wars: Episode IV ? A New Hope when I was eight years old. Unfortunately, I was too young to have seen the original in the theater, so my first viewing was on an old, 19 inch, CRT Tube television. Sitting, cross-legged on the floor, no more than 4 feet from the screen. It sounds dramatic, but that moment changed my life. What I saw was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. At 8, it was hard to put my finger on why Star Wars resonated with me. Now, almost 30 years and seven movies later, I have a better idea of its significance?both for me and the geekosphere at large.

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There are 2 key factors that I believe set Star Wars apart. I will call them Reality and Respect. Broad terms I know, but let me explain. When I say reality, I think about how real the world of Star Wars feels. Sure, I have never driven a landspeeder, fought a Sith Lord, or took out womp rats with a T-16. Still, even with the fantasy elements of the Star Wars universe, it feels very familiar. Luke calls his family Aunt and Uncle. He has chores and curfew. The conversations that he has with Obi-Wan and Han all feel very grounded. Sarcasm and boasting come naturally to the characters. To heighten this realism, the world feels lived in. It?s not clean, cold, and calculated. The roads are made of dirt and computers sometimes don?t work. There is decay and wear at every turn. While the action on screen may be happening in a galaxy far, far away, the viewer can believe what they are seeing because it?s grounded in a reality that we understand. This allows us to identify with the characters and feel a more significant connection to the world.

The other word I use is respect. What I mean by respect is that Star Wars doesn?t baby feed exposition to the viewers. The movie opens with a text scroll which serves as an intro to the film and then drops you into the action. Stop and think about it, what happens after the scroll? Space, then the Tantive IV is shown being chased and attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer. That?s 10 seconds into the film. What is the Empire? What is Leia the Princess of? Is that planet in the background Earth? Over the course of the film, we find answers to some of these questions but not all of them. George Lucas respected the audience and our ability to follow what was going on without having to explain everything step by step. Fans are left in wonder. Why does Han so quickly kill Greedo? Why did Obi-Wan sacrifice himself? What do bartenders have against droids? Those are the conversations that have fueled playgrounds, water coolers, and message boards for years.

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As a dad, and HUGE Star Wars geek, I have enjoyed watching the films and TV series with my kids over the years. I love to watch their eyes when a lightsaber is lit. I love seeing their excitement when the Death Star is blown up?twice. We have conversations about why Vader?s lightsaber is Red and why is Han the only person that can understand Chewie. These characters have become our extended family. When we go to the movies each year to see Star Wars, it?s less of an outing and more of a reunion. If there is such a thing as the geekverse, I believe the center of it is Star Wars. It is a universal language that all geeks are fluent. So, as you gear up to take your family to see Solo in a few weeks, don?t forget the roots of the series and the importance of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Recommended Watching Order

Star Wars: Rebels ? 4 Seasons (TV Series)

I think starting with Rebels sets the stage for just who the Empire is and what the rebellion is fighting for. You also get an excellent introduction to Darth Vader here which naturally leads into Rogue One.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One leads directly into A New Hope which leads in Empire. The end of Empire has the massive reveal of who Darth Vader is. Once you have that twist, it?s best to go back and watch Episode 1 and 2 for the original of Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars: Episode IV ? A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode V ? The Empire Strikes Back

Rogue One leads directly into A New Hope which leads in Empire. The end of Empire has the massive reveal of who Darth Vader is. Once you have that twist, it?s best to go back and watch Episode 1 and 2 for the original of Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars: Episode I ? The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode II ? Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: The Clone Wars ? 6 Seasons (TV Series)

The Clone Wars TV Series takes place between Episode II and Episode III. I feel like it?s such an essential part of the series for two reasons. First, it fleshes out the political and tactical struggle that the Republic was facing but more importantly The Clone Wars is where viewers get to know who Anakin is. There is so much development for Anakin that it only enhances the turn in Episode III.

Star Wars: Episode III ? Revenge of the Sith

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo is a little bit of an oddball. It includes one of the pivotal characters in the series. However, it doesn?t tie directly into the narrative as Rogue One did. I feel that dropping Solo in between Episode 5 and 6 is a great fit. A New Hope and Empire give you a proper introduction to Han, Chewie, Lando and The Falcon. The cliffhanger at the end of Empire is a good break in Han?s story to now go back and get the details of his early years. That flows nicely into his finale in Jedi.

Star Wars: Episode VI ? Return of the Jedi

Now, knowing the Fall of Anakin Skywalker and the Birth of Darth Vader, you are ready to finish the original trilogy. The Return of the Jedi does a great job of showing Anakin?s redemption and closing the overall story of the Emperor that started way back in Episode 1. Jedi then leads perfectly into The Force Awakens, and it?s follow-up, The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: Episode VII ? The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VIII ? The Last Jedi

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