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How did you get into Star Wars?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:08 am    Post subject: How did you get into Star Wars? Reply with quote

So how did you become interested in the Star Wars franchise? I was recently asked this question, and thought it would make a good thread topic to hear from everyone who wants to chime in. Please feel free to post a briefer answer than mine. Cool

(And I'll create a separate thread for how you specifically got into the SW WEG RPG, but you can mention that here if you got into Star Wars as a whole through the game.)

How did you get into Star Wars?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:17 am    Post subject: How Whill got into Star Wars Reply with quote

I am a child of the early 70s, born to a father who loved watching movies. Action, adventure, historical, horror, comedy - probably about anything except straight-out "chick flicks". In the late 70s, we still didn't have home video or even cable TV. Besides whatever movies that were broadcast on the three TV channels we had, my dad went to the theater whenever he could. He had no qualms about going to movies by himself and did so. He also had no qualms about going to the theater for half a movie until he had to go to work, and then going back to the theater with his ticket stub another day and talking the manager into letting him back into the same movie without paying for a second ticket, to finish watching it where he had left off. But on occasion he would take the family to the theater for family-suitable films. Those were always special occasions to me.

In 1977, my dad, brother and I all wanted to see Star Wars (what A New Hope was known as in those days). My mom had no interest in it because it has "space" in it (She is biased against sci-fi after going on a bad date with a guy to see 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968). When Star Wars came to our local theater, the three of us guys went to see it. The theater wasn't quite packed to capacity, but it was mostly full.

We were all completely enthralled with the opening sequence, and I remember hearing whoas, oohs and ahs from the surrounding audience showing how much we were all just blown away. When the droids walked through the blaster shoot-out unscathed, the entire audience erupted into laughter like it was the funniest thing we had ever seen. Then all sound from the audience was suddenly extinguished as Darth Vader came aboard the Rebel vessel. At that moment, I became completely oblivious to my dad, brother and the surrounding audience. The theater faded away and I was magically transported to this far away time and galaxy...

...As Obi-Wan's voice was heard guiding Luke in the final battle, I felt like I was the ghost floating in Luke's X-Wing cockpit... No! Luke's friend from back home is blown up! Death Star in range in 30 seconds. Use the Force, Luke. So many Rebels had been shot down, and Red Leader couldn't make the shot with the targeting computer, but I know Luke can if he can only get to the thermal exhaust port in time before Vader gets him. Oh no! Vader blasts Artoo! Luke is totally alone. The Death Star has cleared the planet! Vader has a target lock! What?! Vader's starboard wingman is blasted! Han came back! Yahoo!! Vader's other wingman veers out of control into Vader which causes him to spin out of the trench! You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home! Luke lets the torpedoes go and releases his held breath. They find their mark. Get out of there!! Death Star goes BOOOOM!!!! Great shot, kid! That was one in a million! The Force will be with you, always. Vader gains control and flies away. Artoo gets fixed, and the Rebels have a celebration ceremony to give Luke and Han awards...

As the Rebels begin to applause, suddenly I am transported back to the theater as my dad, brother and the entire audience is also standing up and applauding with the Rebels... The standing ovation continued into the end credits, and then we walked out of the theater and back to the car, humming the score. On the way home we all said we liked it but were mostly quiet, slowly shaking off the aftershock daze of the most unique and fantastic experience.

When we got home, my brother and I started to be kids again, and commenced running around the house as if we were Han and Luke blasting stormtroopers back on the Death Star. I barely heard my mom complain that it was past our bedtime, and my dad said, "Honey, we're going to have to just let them run around for a while. We just had the greatest adventure of our lives."

THAT is how I originally got into Star Wars! I've become something of a movie fanatic myself, and I have never had a cinematic experience anything like seeing the original Star Wars. Best climax and best overall film of all time! Still to this day, I can't even listen the end of "The Battle of Yavin" on the musical soundtrack without tearing up because it always takes me back the first magical time I saw Star Wars in the theater as a child.

We had some action figures, and some other Star Wars items/media. I remember live-action cops-and-robbers-type role playing Star Wars with my friends in the neighborhood in which we created our own Star Wars stories that were decidedly set in an alternate reality of the film(s). My dad took my brother and me to see the two sequel films in the theater in 80 and 83 (also only seeing them once each). After seeing RotJ, my D&D group and I created a makeshift Star Wars RPG based on the Basic D&D game system which we played several times over the summer, but eventually our RPG interests moved back to D&D and on to other games. The Droids and Ewoks cartoons (and the Ewok TV movies) were "below me" so didn't interest me because by junior high I had stopped watching cartoons/kid shows and playing with toys (but I was still into comic books and RPGs).

And in junior high, I got into Star Trek TOS that I began watching in syndication, and soon got into the ST films of the day and books, so Star Trek actually became my first multi-media franchise I truly geeked out over. Then by 87, I had a high school job and bought my own VCR and little TV so I could own my own copies of the Star Trek films and favorite TOS episodes.

My best friend had the Star Wars trilogy on VHS and brought them over one day the summer of 87. We "trilogized" (watched all three SW films back-to-back in one sitting), and my childhood love of Star Wars was rekindled. I saved up and bought my own copies of the three Star Wars films (SW and Star Trek tapes retailed upwards of $100 each in those days, but I got them wholesale through work.) My love of Star Wars has remained active and only grown ever since.
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Zarm R'keeg
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I was born, my parents (my dad, who has been responsible for my introduction to Star Wars, Stark Trek, the Greatest American Hero, the US Space Program, and generally all the things that have captured my imagination, and my mom- who was turned off to sci-fi things similarly to yours, Whill, except by ET instead of 2001) went on a missions trip to Scottland. Out in the sticks, one of the only entertainments they had during their down-time was a radio station that was broadcasting the NPR radio dramas. hat was my mom's introduction to Star Wars, and enough to get the pair of them to go to a midnight premiere of ROTJ. I was born a couple of years later.

When I was deemed old enough- though still too young to see the movies- the radio dramas were how they introduced me to Star Wars. I had some fairly interesting mental images with that, I think- picturing the Jawas as leprechauns in full emerald regalia, Mos Eisley as an Arabian village in an oasis more appropriate to Disney's Aladdin, and the scene where 3-PO is picked up into the sandcrawler suction tube (the radio drama follows him rather than R2) as a Looney-Tunes style scene with the tube taking multiple right-angle turns in a maze-like pattern before depositing him in the hold.

A few years later, I was allowed to get ANH out of the library- then snuck out ROTJ and tried to watch it without parental permission, only getting halfway before being caught and forced to return it (the Ewok storytelling scene, I recall).

We got our own copies, taped off of cable for us by my uncle- and because of content cut for commercial breaks, certain scenes (like the speeder flying overhead to initially enter Mos Eisley, or the shot of the X-wings flying past Yavin and toward the Death Star, always look like Special Edition inventions to me, because they weren't in the copy of the film I grew up with.

My sister and I were homeschooled, and so (lacking the need to get dressed, get out and wait for a bus etc.) we used to spend every morning before school huddled up under a blanket over the heating vent (to trap the heat) watching one of the three films (ROTJ most commonly, ANH least-commonly)- every day for months, at least.

A year or two after being introduced to the films, I was sick at home and asked my parents to get something from the library for me (I think; either that, or I went there just as I was coming down with the bug)- and The Last Command was on the shelf. It was my introduction to the EU, and my first notion that Star Wars could expand beyond what was in the three films; that there could be other adventures. A few years later, my dad made a reference to Han Solo, asking if his clone would be called Haan Solo, and I was shocked at the obscure Last Command reference- but he laughed and told me that I'd been quite vocal about everything I was reading and discovering back then.

From there, I moved throughout the EU, which captured my imagination utterly (and is perhaps why it is so foundational to Star Wars in my view of the franchise)- heck, I even dug Crystal Star. So sue me. Smile I'm sure if I read it again today, the characterization would be as awful as everyone says- but the ideas (using the Force to rub together two molecules int he air to create a floating light/heat source!) inspired me. When I found the original Essential Guide To Vehicles And Vessels at the library, my fate was sealed; I've been an avid Star Wars fan ever since those radio dramas, but the 90s Bantam stuff and the growing number of reference and essential guides were what really locked Star Wars in as the major influence on my childhood. The RPG came in a few years later, when I was 13 (just as the line was ending, ironically), and the in-depth exploration of the Star Wars universe (and yes, the more-occasional decrying of "That's not Star Wars! They're ruining it!" Wink ) has been ongoing ever since.

To me, Brock Peters' version of Vader's ROTJ turn is even more chill-inducing than the film one (now that the 'No... NO!' has been added, and yes, I am the one guy on Earth that actually likes that); I hear Anne Sachs and Perry King in my head when picturing the characters almost more than I do Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. And don't even get me started on how important Kyle Katarn's adventures were to shaping my style of storytelling... Smile

It hasn't always been a positive relationship. My disillusion with the Prequels, the Clone Wars, and an emphasis on things that didn't work for me kinda took off some of the luster... and the end of the EU/Legends announcement, like some crisis of faith, really put me off of Star Wars for a little while. Negativity is present, perhaps, in many of my recent discussions about Star Wars, because it has been the dominant trend of my fandom for over a decade... with Star Wars drifting away from anything that connected with me. But, I think the story is going to have a happy ending; the trials were there, but the healing has started. Smile A new RPG group, and the phenomenal talent for Star Wars: Rebels to really channel the things that, to me, constitute the spirit of Star Wars, have slowly begun to revive my passion and bolster my Star Wars enthusiasm. It's still a little tentative, fearful of the future and what Episode VII may hold for the revamped franchise... but it's growing back, day by day- especially as I contemplated that time, a few years down the road, when I can introduce my son to it the way that my dad did me.
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Moebius
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also the originals as a kid. But it was the RPG that was like the ONLY Star Wars stuff coming out for what seemed like a complete and finished franchise. It was like they were saying "you way more? Then you gotta make it up yourself!"
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was 12 when A New Hope (then just STAR WARS) came out in 1977. It was a big hit that summer, and I remember where I was when I first heard about it. Some family friends (that lived just down the street) came camping with us, and one day at the beach my friend excitedly told me all about this amazing new sci-fi movie! It had these things called Sandpeople, and Jawas, and on and on he went!

I saw it soon after that. IIRC my first viewing was with my family at a drive in. Shorly after that, I think, we got to see it at the nice theater in downtown Seattle, the UA 150, which had a huge screen and showed the movie continuously (as its only show) for over a year. For Christmas that year our biggest, coolest item was tickets to go see it again there! Of course everything else that year was also 'Star Wars' related. I got the SW Sketchbook, some black-light type posters that you colored yourself, and a whole bunch of other things. I got the vinyl double record set with John Williams music, along with a record called "The Story of Star Wars" and spent countless hours listening to both.

I read the novelization and gobbled up anything SW I could get my hands on (like Starlog magazine). I still have the only action figures I ever bought (other than ones I purchased for mounting on tropies when I became a Star Wars Squadron Member for Decipher in the 90s): Han Solo (my favorite character), Chewbacca, and C-3P0. I also have a simple, cantina backdrop for them (I think it was something I mailed away for). I even have my original trading card sets (blue, red, green, and yellow, I believe) from those days.

Though I was a big Star Trek fan when it came out, Star Wars became my favorite franchise and property, and I've been a humongous fan ever since! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was released shortly before The Empire Strikes back, so, Star Wars has simply always been a thing in my life. I got into it just by being alive in the early 80s. I saw the movies, I played with the toys, I watched the cartoons... it's just a part of who I am Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an excellent description, Whill. You really nailed how iconic that first viewing was of the best movie (of all-time). That scene with the Devastator chasing the Tantive IV is still (to me) the most powerful scene in the history of cinema!

It's interesting how that first experience perhaps colors our experiences. Comparing the radio dramas to the films (for me, anyway) is not even close. I think I've listened to them once, and they just seem a pale imitation of the originals (the only plus being that they add a little extra). But I'm willing to concede that maybe part of this is because my initial exposure to the franchise was with A New Hope.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was born a month before the release of Star Wars and was taken to see it when I was about a year old. My mother tells me it was the.most amazing thing she had ever seen. Not the movie but a one year old didn't move or take his eyes off the movie for the entire film. I'vr been hooked ever since. In fact I am watching it right now with my eleven year old daught and my two year old son (Obi-Wan is giving Luke his father's lightsaber). I don't remember that first time but it was burned into my brain. I do remember seeing Empire in a drive-in in Texas and seeing Jedi back in Honolulu, where I was born.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:
What an excellent description, Whill. You really nailed how iconic that first viewing was of the best movie (of all-time). That scene with the Devastator chasing the Tantive IV is still (to me) the most powerful scene in the history of cinema!

Glad you appreciate it, but I wrote it even more for the younger generation who didn't know what it was like for us back then.

DougRed4 wrote:
It's interesting how that first experience perhaps colors our experiences. Comparing the radio dramas to the films (for me, anyway) is not even close. I think I've listened to them once, and they just seem a pale imitation of the originals (the only plus being that they add a little extra). But I'm willing to concede that maybe part of this is because my initial exposure to the franchise was with A New Hope.

It is interesting how our first experiences of Star Wars colors our appreciation of the franchise. The first thing that jumps out at me is that the younger generation that got into the film saga after the rise of VHS just got to watch the classic trilogy together, or each sequel soon after the prior episode. They have no idea what it was like for everyone (adults and kids alike) to have no choice but to wait three full years after Vader's revelation to find out if it was actually true, and what happened next. And not only that, but to not be able to watch any prior film in the series in the mean time. Maybe that's a big part of why the films (and cinematic experiences) are so important to me. In the six year period of 77-83, I saw each Star Wars film exactly 1 time each, in the theater, and that's it.

I don't think I've ever listened to any of the radio dramas, but I've read the novelizations, the story books and the comic adaptations, so I am interested in listening to the radio dramas once. I can certainly respect parents not showing the films to their children before they are mature enough to handle them, which is why my son hasn't seen them yet. But I feel that letting my son hear the radio dramas (or any other versions of the story) before viewing the films they are based on would be spoiling his eventual movie experience, so I most definitely will not be doing that.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
The first thing that jumps out at me is that the younger generation that got into the film saga after the rise of VHS just got to watch the classic trilogy together, or each sequel soon after the prior episode. They have no idea what it was like for everyone (adults and kids alike) to have no choice but to wait three full years after Vader's revelation to find out if it was actually true, and what happened next.


I still vividly remember arguing with kids in junior high or high school, as many at the time thought that Vader was lying (I believed he was telling the truth). There was much discussion about this back in the day, and you're right, it was quite a different experience having to wait three years between movies.

I personally saw the films a bit more than Whill, back then. For the first one, I saw it about 4-5 times in the theater, then our church somehow had a bootleg copy (which they showed with large screen projection equipment to our Youth Group). I don't remember when I got my first VCR, but I had it for sure by the late 80s, so I could watch the movies anytime I wanted by at least then.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:
Whill wrote:
They have no idea what it was like for everyone (adults and kids alike) to have no choice but to wait three full years after Vader's revelation to find out if it was actually true, and what happened next.

I still vividly remember arguing with kids in junior high or high school, as many at the time thought that Vader was lying (I believed he was telling the truth). There was much discussion about this back in the day, and you're right, it was quite a different experience having to wait three years between movies.

I also believed Vader because of Luke's vision in the cave on Dagobah. I predicted that part of the drama of RotJ would be Luke's reluctance to kill his own father and his temptation to join the Dark Side. However I thought Luke might go bad and it would be up this mysterious "other" Yoda had spoken of to save Luke and kill Vader while Luke killed the Emperor. Or if Luke didn't go bad, he would kill his evil father and the Emperor with the aid of the "other". We all thought this "other" would be the titular Jedi who would return. I was completely surprised that Leia was the "other" and Luke's sister, and that Vader's mere mention of her is what would set Luke off to almost crossing over. And I also didn't expect that Vader would actually turn good again and kill the Emperor, a twist no one I knew saw coming.

DougRed4 wrote:
I personally saw the films a bit more than Whill, back then. For the first one, I saw it about 4-5 times in the theater, then our church somehow had a bootleg copy (which they showed with large screen projection equipment to our Youth Group).

Nice. We were a poor family and didn't know anyone with bootlegs. (And the only friend I had with a film projector only had Johnny Tremain and the like.) The concept of paying to see a movie multiple times was completely beyond our experience. We only got to see movies multiple times when the four TV channels showed movies we had already seen before. I got to see The Wizard of Oz at least once a year from age 5 to 10 though!

DougRed4 wrote:
I don't remember when I got my first VCR, but I had it for sure by the late 80s, so I could watch the movies anytime I wanted by at least then.

In 1987, I actually had the first VCR in our family, bought after saving up money from my high school job. I burned through multiple VHS copies of each film because by 1997, I had watched the Star Wars trilogy 100 times. Yes I know, that's about 10 times a year!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it was seeing the first three films on the big screen.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:26 am    Post subject: Empire Strikes Back! Reply with quote

I was in third grade when SW came out, but like Whill and others we didn't go to movies very often. We always had old, broken-down cars and the closest movie was 45 minutes away at best. So, we didn't see movies right away when they came out. In fact, the first non-Disney movies I remember seeing were "Rocky" and "Midway", which were out the year before.

Anyway, Star Wars affected even us, and I saw it and loved it, but in pre-internet days, I didn't see much about it. I got the comic and novel adaptations of the movie, but never liked the comic (although I've since come to appreciate them).

I think for me Empire Strikes Back was when things really came home to roost for me. It was the first time we saw real battles, and already being interested in WWII and wargames meant that I really dug those parts of that film.

PS. I think I shouldn't underestimate the importance of Princess Leia, even when I was 10 and a decade before the advent of the chainmail bikini. I recall telling some kids that I had a girlfriend and her name was Carrie Fisher. Eventually some of them made the connection... but it was a few weeks. If you're going to have an imaginary girlfriend, go big or go home!
I think it was also important in expanding the universe... new kinds of stormtroopers! Bounty hunters.... wow. Non-Imperial places like Cloud City, getting squeezed by the Empire before our eyes. Super Star Destroyer. Some little reptilian guy on a lost swamp planet that can move spaceships with his mind.

Besides, of course, that it was such a great movie generally. So, unlike a lot of the old cranks that groused because the sequel ruined the space opera feel of SW, for me it was the depth of the universe in ESB that invited me to feel like I was really visiting someplace otherworldly. Lucas made his missteps thereafter, but by the time Luke and Leia stood on the viewdeck and watched Lando and Chewie blast off to look for Han, I was hooked.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was watching the '77 Oscars and a commercial for Star Wars came on advertising that it was coming out, I watched in rapt amazement as the little robot got shot by the robed people and I was hooked and wanted to see what happened. So my mom got my grandfather to take me and then she and I ended up seeing it afterwards....
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife jokes that I have "part-timers" syndrome. My memory sucks, but here goes...

I was 4 years old when my parents took me to Star Wars back in 1977. All I remember from that first showing was trying to remember Han Solo's name. Fortunately, my parents were into sci-fi/fantasy, and we watched the movie quite a few times in the theater (since that's all you could do...darn kids and their DVDs/BluRays/internet). We watched the re-releases as Empire and Jedi came out.

My mom hooked my siblings and I with quite a few Kenner toys, Marvel comics, and storybooks until they stopped producing it all. We had all kinds of adventures with our figures and spaceships (which is probably why my brothers and I enjoy RPGs so much).

When my family bought our first VCR, for ridiculous sum, the Star Wars trilogy were among our first tapes owned...at about $80 each.

After awhile, it seemed like Star Wars faded away, until my senior year of high school. "Heir to the Empire" was published, and suddenly, Star Wars was back. Around the same time, I picked up my first West End Games book, Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters, not realizing it was a supplement to an RPG. Of course, I needed the RPG book, and then the sourcebook, and well...I guess I'll cover that in the other thread.

Anyway, as much as I enjoy the Star Trek, Alien, Terminator, Marvel, Doctor Who, Tolkien and other franchises, Star Wars will always top my list (even if I don't care for most of Anakin in the prequels). It has just about every kind of genre: action, adventure, fantasy, romance, sword-fighting, dog-fighting, western, superheroics... In a way, for me it's more "How Did I Get into Other Stuff" since Star Wars paved the way to enjoy other movies/TV shows/books/etc.
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