My love for Star Wars probably started way before I came into this world. By this I mean my late father absolutely loved Star Wars; it was pure and honest love. He was the only sibling of many, and I do mean many, to have a deep affinity for it, so no one had an influence on or persuaded him in any way towards these movies.
We grew up pretty low-class, and though we couldn’t afford much my father owned just three Betamax video cassettes, the original Star Wars Trilogy; it was bootlegged since it’s all we could have afforded. He wasn’t a nerdy guy by nature, just intelligent, but he absolutely loved those movies.
So in a way, my love for Star Wars could be genetic, originally.
I live in a small twin-island Republic, just off the coast of Venezuela, called Trinidad & Tobago. We’re a very third-world nation, so we had limited access to information and media back in the 90s. There wasn’t much content to consume or acquire if you loved something that wasn’t mainstream and though Star Wars was revered globally, it wasn’t that much of a big deal here.
A small article here, a short T.V. program there.
It was so scarce, I remember before we had the Betamax tapes, there was a Star Wars marathon, three nights in a row, probably on the Sci-Fi channel on cable; which we didn’t have of course. We all made a trip over to one of our families who did have cable, every night just so my father could watch those movies. Eight of us, all gathered around a 27-inch CRT T.V. to partake in this rare event.
You were lucky if anything Star Wars related was unearthed. This remained so for years, that is of course until the Special Editions were released.
I had never witnessed Star Wars on a screen larger than probably 27-inches and I was around 12-years old at the time, yet somehow knew this was a big deal despite living in a sort of vacuum, relating to news and information about it.
You were almost shunned for expressing love for movies with a walking-talking dog with aliens, guns that went “pew pew” and a villain with asthmatic problems. So I never outwardly expressed my love for it back then. Even going to see the Special Edition movies branded you as almost eccentric.
I really had no clue how deeply people felt globally about these movies since I was sort of an outcast amongst friends, I had no one else to share my love for it other than family.
That I believe changed in 1999 when the prequels came out and the buzz started again about the franchise. You went from being a weirdo to a regular nerd; still part of a small ostracised crowd.
I remember being totally blown away in the cinema, watching The Phantom Menace. I loved the new aesthetics, characters and foreshadowing story. Love at first sight as some may say. I was 15 at the time.
We had no computer back then, much less internet access, so after viewing the movie in our Capital, we scurried over to the National Library to go online and learn more in our excitement.
I’m not a regretful person, however, I did not see The Phantom Menace with my father. One day in the middle of my lessons class, during August, he came for me to go with him to the cinema, and I didn’t because I became close to a girl I recently met in class and liked.
At the time I assumed there would be more opportunities to go and enjoy it with him, but that never happened. He had cancer and seemed to be winning, however, in the following year, he depleted quickly and succumbed to it on March 9th.
I do regret never taking that opportunity when I had the chance.
When he passed, I was nearing completion of a 1000 piece Star Wars jigsaw puzzle, but never finished it. For years I struggled with understanding the meaning of life and losing my best friend, my father. I was 16 years of age at the time.
He was a very simple person. Family meant everything to him and I was the closest to him. We spent hours on days watching movies and him explaining them to me. We did tons of things together, played cards and went on long drives around the country.
I was the last person who spoke with him on his deathbed. He asked me if he could go, and I said yes.
Whenever I see anything Star Wars related, I think about him every time. He was the odd one out in his family, a pure heart so to speak, never giving up even till his last, a fighter and was an overly positive thinker who struggled at times with the atrocities in this world.
He was the poor farm boy looking up at those two suns.
When Revenge of the Sith came out, I remember driving home by myself, leaving my family behind to watch it over. Once was enough for me at the time. The sky was gloomy, overcast, I was in a mess, depressed even because of it. Part of it is due to the ending where everything tied in tragically. But also what Star Wars means to me.
These are not just pristinely made movies with gripping moral storylines and life-altering philosophies. These are memories of my father with his prized Betamax bootlegged videotapes. The three nights we went over to my family to watch the Marathon. The missed opportunity to go watch The Phantom Menace with him which I’ll never get back. The future years we would have had to enjoy the newer movies, experiencing and talking about them.
I now have a son of my own, and our relationship is strained because of a divorce. His mother, who has a heavy influence, pushes him to hate Star Wars because she knows what it means to me.
A few years ago we went to witness The Last Jedi in IMAX. He objected to watching it, all the way to the cinema. However, when we came out, he was humming the theme music and was all excited. His inquisitive mind wanted to know more about space.
Time after time I observe his secret interest in Star Wars, but I see the fear kick in and he outwardly shuns it. I am passive towards him claiming to have no interest in it and he has not seen them all.
All I have now are my memories of my late father absolutely loving those movies and my son now not even bothered with them. I trust in time he will gravitate to them on his own, naturally, the way Luke gravitated to the force despite Uncle Owen’s influence.
Because I believe his love for Star Wars began before he came into this world.