The Empire Strikes Back Turns 30 – My Fanboyhood Turns 16

25 05 2010

This weekend was filled with Empire Strikes Back tributes, stories, lists, interviews, behind-the-scenes and more. So, being the huge Star Wars fan that I am, I’ve decided to write my own little tribute:

The world has celebrated the 30th anniversary of the best sequel ever – The Empire Strikes Back. 1980 was the year the world was introduced to the wise Yoda, the dashing Lando Calrissian, the puckered scalp of Darth Vader – and of course the mysterious Boba Fett. But, alas, I was not even born to experience all this excitment.

It wasn’t until 1994 that I was introduced to Star Wars. Up until that point I just thought Star Wars was equivalent to Star Trek (I know, a common, and heretical, mistake, to be sure), which I had already shown a dislike for. But my dad took it upon himself to correct the error of my ways and introduce me to the greatest space opera known to man. There had been a TNT Star Wars marathon on TV, which he proceeded to record on our VHS player. Getting home from school one day, the VCR was cued and I saw those scrolling yellow letters for the very first time. The events of Episode IV: A New Hope literally unspooled themselves via gritty tape strips before me. And I was hooked.

My best Han in Carbonite pose at Star Wars in Concert

The next day, at school, I immediately found the group of kids who played with the Star Wars MicroMachines at recess and decided to join their ranks. But they talked about ice planets and cloud cities – what was I missing? I couldn’t wait to get home and continue the adventure. School was over, homework was left undone, dinner left uneaten, as I pressed the recordable VHS tape into the slot and witnessed The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.

I was in the middle of the Cloud City escape when my dad got home from work.

“You started watching it without me?” he said, mock-wounded.

“I just couldn’t wait!” I said, pausing the tape so I wouldn’t miss a single blaster bolt. “But I’ll start it from the beginning if you want to watch it with me!”

So we did. I re-watched pretty much the entire movie, and was delighted to find I loved it just as much the second time around. And I continue to be delighted that I love it just as much the hundredth, even the two-hundredth, time around.

When did you first see The Empire Strikes Back? Share your favorite Empire Strikes Back memory in the comments!

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