As we (continue, in my case) celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, I wanted to reflect on A New Hope. Join us in celebrating the film that started it all as it turns 40!
A New Hope has never been my favorite Star Wars movie. I’ve never approached it with dread, and, in fact, I’ve found it to be a lot of fun each time I watch it. There’s something about a young Luke’s first steps into the larger world which fill me with the same wonder I imagine he was feeling. Watching him ignite the lightsaber as he listens to Ben reminisce about the Clone Wars stokes my imagination, bringing a variety of images to mind. (Even more, now that The Clone Wars has given us six seasons worth of material!)
I’ve always been curious how the film became the hit that it was. Vanity Fair has a great video that describes this, showing what we wouldn’t have without Star Wars. Watching this, I realized how spoiled we are to have never lived in a world without Star Wars. As it has become such a cultural phenomenon, it’s amazing to think there was a time before the films. (Do we have any readers who were alive to watch Star Wars in theaters? We would love to hear from you!)
As someone who has grown up immersed in Star Wars culture, it is hard for me to remember what my first few experiences with the film were like. What really drew me into the series? I’m not sure I’ll be able to pinpoint one thing exactly. I just remember lots of late nights and rewound VHS copies.
I think the thing that captured my imagination, before anything else, was the dogfight on the surface of the Death Star. Mike Klimo, author of the Ring Theory, notes that it was George’s love for fast cars that inspired his unique vision for the Battle of Yavin. I’m not a speed guy in real life – I’d rather drive just about four over to avoid trouble with speed limits – but something about watching them on screen is exhilarating. Even the slower moving dogfight of ANH is one of my favorites. It is simple, and brings a lot of character development into the film.
My love for X-Wings and their pilots continued as I grew older, so something always calls me back to this scene in A New Hope. In every movie after, I’ve had to judge their starfights compared to those found in A New Hope. (In this respect? Attack of the Clones and Empire Strikes Back come up wanting.) This really was what allowed me to enjoy the battle at Starkiller Base during The Force Awakens, even if it wasn’t in space. Yeah, who knew that would be a problem for other people?
But really, looking back, I think that was the moment I realized the series would be different from any other series. What was that moment for you?
I have written a reflective piece on Eleven Thirty-Eight as well entitled Forty Years of Inspiration: From A New Hope to Rogue One and Beyond
In celebration of the 40th Anniversary, here are some other links to take a look at:
The Last Jedi: The Vanity Fair Cover Story
Remember, you can also find me at MynockManor.com. You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWerms. Follow us on Facebook at First Order of Business, and Twitter @firstorderbiz. David can be found at @tipperbeanfad – give him a follow!