At some point or another, we were all bitten by the Star Wars bug—er—sandflea. We were dragged to a theater by a cool uncle, handed an N64 controller to play Star Wars Episode I: Pod Racer (let’s be kind to those whose first exposure may not have been the original trilogy), or just caught a marathon over Thanksgiving weekend.
For me, it came in the form of a very lifelike animatronic Darth Vader coin bank (or at least it felt lifelike to my childhood wonder). I can still hear the gears crunching as he turned on his pedestal, swinging his lightsaber each time I dropped a coin in (my brother and I put a lot of coins in). I can hear the slightly tinny version of the Imperial March play, giving way to a few classic Vader breaths, before James Earl Jones intones “Impressive, most impressive, but you are not a Jedi yet.”
And since then, I’ve been hooked.
In honor of our new Star Wars Facebook group, The Carbonite Freezer, we had fans share their Star Wars origin stories, a few of which we’ve chosen below.
Geralyn — 1977, Hollywood, Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Took my 4 year old to see it and it’s been love ever since.
Steve — It was two things for me: 1) My grandparents had kept my uncle’s Star Wars toys and I played with them as a child not really knowing what they were until 2) the Thanksgiving marathons of the OT on TBS (maybe Sci-Fi) in the 90s. To this day, I will always associate The Empire Strikes Back with slices of pumpkin pie.
Juan — I honestly don’t know for sure. I do remember I saw part of ESB at school (back in 95 or so, I was 8) and I was terrified cause I only saw luke cutting vader’s head. Few years later I borrowed the special edition from a friend and I watched them all... I remember I was scared of storm troopers lol. Anyways, I was completely hooked from then on. I remember an uncle of mine would share some floppy disks with behind the scenes photos of TPM and I was amazed. TPM was the first SW I saw in a theater though and I greatly enjoyed it. The rest is just history, but in short, few things have inspired my imagination in so many ways as Star Wars. I hope it never ends.
Eric — My first introduction to Star Wars was playing the original X-wing PC game on my first computer in 1994 (I was in fifth grade). I actually read two of Timothy Zahn’s novels (and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) before I ever actually saw one of the movies. I remember being mad that the TIE fighters shot too fast and the X-wings seemed to not have any shields at all. “This movie isn’t accurate to the game!” screamed 12 year old me. It was a great time to be alive.
Jennifer — I saw them on tv when I was a kid. I don’t even remember how old I was. They have always been a part of my life. It’s how I got into space opera novels.
James — Was living in Saudi Arabia - would have been 1978 or ‘79, and I’d be around 3-4 years old. Didn’t really get to see any movies or TV, but somehow ANH was being broadcast and my family hosted a viewing party. Signal was terrible and had to watch through a forest of grown-ups legs, but saw enough to be hooked. After that started getting the toys here and there, with our backyard a perfect stand in for Tatooine.
Fiona — In 2003 I was a sheltered, homeschooled 10 year old who was not allowed to watch much sci-fi and fantasy on the grounds that it was “too violent.” At the time I was best friends with a boy who lived up the street, and when I told him I’d never seen a Star Wars movie he and his dad made me sit down and watch The Phantom Menace with them. I was hooked after that. My parents gave in and rented the originals so we could watch them together, I actually had reservations about the OT before seeing them because they looked so “old” compared to the shiny prequels but as soon as I saw Princess Leia taking control of her own rescue I was like...maybe these movies are better. After that I was completely obsessed and remain so to this day. I got the purple ForceFX lightsaber for Christmas that year because I wanted to be Mace Windu’s Padawan and I’d love to say I still have it but I SOLD IT like a fool
Nate — First movie I have any real memory of. Apparently first saw ANH when I was 3. I remember when they did the re-release in the late 90s. My mom said it was required viewing seeing them in theaters and let me skip school the day they came out lol. Favorite memory though would be earlier this year going to Celebration with my sister, being in the room for the 40th anniversary and TLJ panel. Movies changed my life in more ways than one.
Jamie — During the early-90s, my parents rented A New Hope for me and threw it on. I’ll admit, like some of you have, it did not instantly hook me. I was probably too young, and those introductory scenes (which I now love) on Tatooine just didn’t hold my attention.
A year or two later, I got all three for Christmas on VHS. I don’t remember asking for them, maybe some uncle of mine had hopes he could sway me after my initial failed introduction. I don’t know what changed about me, maybe nothing, but I just remember going to the basement of my grandparent’s house that Christmas morning after getting them, as my entire family stayed upstairs to continue the holiday celebrations. I did not come back upstairs until dinner. I watched them all in a row without break, and to this day I cannot pinpoint a single moment, like some of you have, that swayed me. Was it the trench run on the Death Star? The walkers battling snow speeders on Hoth? The climactic, emotional battle on Cloud City? The glorious final space battle above Endor? The Emperor’s iconic cackle? I’m still not sure. All I know is when I look back, it was after that day, I was hooked.
Read the rest of the stories here, and be sure to share your own in the comments below. Enjoy your holiday weekend, make sure to spend it at the table with loved ones—and maybe watch some Star Wars, too.