(1993 Star Wars Bend-Ems Figures)
The earliest memory I have of Star Wars is when my parents showed my siblings and I scenes from A New Hope and being completely mesmerized by it. I was eleven years old when they took me to see A New Hope for the first time in theaters in 1997. It was unlike anything I had seen before. I loved the story, the costumes, the music, and I pretty much left the theater in love with Han Solo. My dad even remembers me as a teenager saying, "I married Harrison Ford in my dream!" That was probably due to my reversible Star Wars pillows that had different characters on each side including the smuggler himself.
My Star Wars collection began immediately after seeing the films. One of the first toys I remember having was my Princess Leia and Chewbacca bendable figures. Can you tell they were well loved? KB Toys was a popular stop for my brothers and I. We collected many of the action figures and accessories. They liked to throw their figures around in battle while most of mine were kept in the box. To this day I'm still annoyed at how buff some of the figures were. Especially Princess Leia. Good grief!
(Myself and one of my many beloved plushies)
By the time The Phantom Menace hit theaters in 1999 I was thirteen and loved the film just as much as the originals. I remember seeing it multiple times on the big screen. I couldn't get enough of it! The N64 game, Star Wars Episode I Racer, was my favorite video game to play, and I loved being able to feel like I was actually podracing in the Boonta Eve Classic race from the movie. Of course, I was also very intrigued by the relationship between Anakin and Padme and was extremely anxious to find out what happened next!
It was between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones that I became a more serious collector. I could no longer keep my collection of random Star Wars items on my dresser. I had to put up shelves and somehow make room for everything else. I even hung up my trading cards on the wall. ON THE WALL. I had Queen Amidala and Anakin pillows, a life sized R2-D2 cooler, a Han Solo in Carbonite beach towel, plushies, various figurines, and many posters and random magazine spreads featuring Hayden and Natalie hanging up as well. All my friends and family loved my room because it was literally all Star Wars.
(The first photo of my husband and I in line for Attack of the Clones)
I was sixteen when Attack of the Clones was released in 2002. I wore a Jedi robe my mom made me and attended the midnight showing. I also happened to meet my husband there. He was dressed as a Sith and I boldly approached him asking him if I could take a photo for my website (you can read about the history of AAHA here). We talked all things Star Wars and exchanged email addresses. We wrote each other nearly every day until we finally met up again in 2005 for Revenge of the Sith at another midnight showing.
My experience seeing ROTS was much more impactful considering I knew everything that was going to happen in AOTC. Believe it or not, I was a complete spoiler junkie back then. After seeing AOTC it made me realize that I wanted to approach the final Prequel film in a different way. Going in only knowing the basics made such a difference! I loved the movie and sat in my seat long after the credits finished in tears. I knew Anakin's fall would be difficult to watch but I didn't expect it to happen the way it did.
Unfortunately after ROTS, things died down and there wasn't a whole lot to look forward to for fans. But 2008 was the start of amazing events, including our wedding where we were announced as husband and wife to the Throne Room music at the end of A New Hope. Yes, it was epic! And as you know, The Clone Wars series kicked off with the official movie in theaters the same year. What an absolute treat that and the rest of the six seasons were! I really appreciated being able to explore stories from characters who had smaller roles in the films. I also never expected that one of my favorite characters from Star Wars, Ahsoka Tano, would have originated from a cartoon! Speaking of which, Her Universe also launched in 2013 which was, needless to say, a huge deal. Finally I had something to wear to represent my favorite movies besides boxy tees! Then in 2014 Star Wars Rebels aired and I fell in love all over again. The future of Star Wars was beginning to look bright...
(My husband and I at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim)
With the announcement of The Force Awakens I was at first completely annoyed. The Star Wars story was perfect as it was and I didn't want it to be ruined. But I didn't realize at that time how everything was about to change and that us fans were going to be getting an incredible amount of content to enjoy from across the entire spectrum of Star Wars lore. As time went on and more information unfolded about the film, the idea grew on me. J. J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy began to change my mind and that first teaser trailer really gave me hope. Star Wars Celebration Anaheim also had a huge part in bringing out the crazy passionate Star Wars fan inside of me. I was up at a ridiculous hour the morning of, (which is so not my thing) and I remember how shocked my husband looked as I jumped up and down saying, "It's Star Wars Day, It's Star Wars Day!". My devotion and love for Star Wars remained the same throughout the years but part of my inner fangirl was dormant. But the second trailer changed that. It awakened the fangirl within me. I smiled and laughed from complete exhilaration, and cried some serious emotional tears during that trailer. It WAS Star Wars and I knew that everything was going to be ok. It's so funny to look back now and think about how turned off I was about the idea of more movies being made. But this was exactly what I and I'm sure many other fans were unknowingly needing in our lives. More Star Wars.
Thanks for reading my Star Wars story!