Star Wars is For Grandmas

Today the internet is abuzz with Star Wars tributes, marking the 40th anniversary of “A New Hope” hitting theaters. The AV Club has a cool write-up asking “What’s Your Earliest Star Wars Memory,” which prompted me to ask myself the same question.

I wasn’t hip and/or nerdy enough to know what Star Wars was before the 1997 re-release. Even then, whenever I saw trailers or ads for it, I thought it looked pretty lame. You know who convinced me otherwise? My grandmother.

Let me paint a picture of my grandmother (whose name was Faith) real quick: sure, she had the large glasses, curly grey hair, standard grandma stuff. But she also wore a thousand rings on every finger, fingernails so long they looked like claws, a necklace made out of what was supposed to be a Buddhist wall decoration but she wanted it to be a necklace so damn it she made it into one, bright red shoe laces to match her multiple bright red jackets, and usually a glass of scotch with a rubber band around it (just to mark it as her scotch, not yours.)

Needless to say, I thought she was pretty cool, so when she said we should go see A New Hope, I agreed. I obviously was blown the fuck away. So was she. So much so, that we decided to also see Empire Strikes Back that day. And if you give a mouse an Empire Strikes Back, he’s gonna ask how the hell Han Solo gets outta this one. What’s that? It’s too late in the day and there aren’t any more screenings of Return of the Jedi? No worries, grandma’s driving us to a Blockbuster so we can watch it at home.

So, my earliest memory of Star Wars is watching all of them, in one day, with my grandmother who was cool enough to recommend it. Who knows if she realized she was opening a door to an enormous world of fandom for me to enjoy the rest of my life. Recently, it’s been pretty easy to argue that our nostalgia for these films has blinded us to how much of a cash grab the franchise has become. Maybe that’s true. But I know for a fact my grandmother would’ve loved the crap out of BB-8.

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