Here at AiPT! we have a serious Star Wars obsession — like, super duper serious. We spent the entire month of December talking about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and with Solo: A Star Wars Story coming out May 25th, we decided to do it all over again. For the next month AiPT! will be flooded with Star Wars YouTube videos, podcasts, cosplay, comic reviews, novel reviews, and hell, maybe we’ll even dive back into the dreaded holiday special from the ’70s.
Star Wars Day may only come once a year, but for many fans Star Wars is much more than just a franchise- it’s an integral part of their lives that’s helped shape who they are. People pursue specific careers because of Star Wars, they propose to their soulmates over Star Wars and people even grieve with Star Wars.
Simply put, no imagined world in the history of mankind has had as massive an impact on our culture as Star Wars has. Thus in celebration of Star Wars and Solo: A Star Wars Story we’re sharing some of our most beloved Star Wars memories. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below and May the Force be with you all.
Zarik Khan: Growing up without the prequel trilogy or Clone Wars cartoons, one of my favorite things that I enjoyed playing with was the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, by Decipher. Not only was the game interesting, but it unexpectedly helped me become familiar with all the lore and backstory in the original trilogy. As I said the game was interesting, with each card serving to emphasize the balance between characters, weapons, locations, ships, vehicles and of course, the Force. I hopped aboard when they had just released the Hoth expansion pack and the rest was history. I dragged my mom to the mall every month to grab at least one expansion pack and I still remember the glossy feel of the cards and the excitement when I’d get a rare card. Sadly, I never got to play the game with anyone but myself or bewildered friends who would come over and get intimidated by the complex mechanics. Shortly after the release of Episode I, the game was cancelled due to Decipher losing their license. But I still have all my cards and as the internet exploded, people have managed to keep the game alive to this day, even creating “virtual cards” and online versions of the game. For me however, the info section of each card will be Wookieepedia before Wookieepedia for me, where I first learned trivia like the name of the Cantina bartender (Wuher), the fact that most of the ships in the saga were built by Kuat Drive Yards, the name of “Pruneface” way before he started on Robot Chicken (Orrimaarko), and so much more. Now with that out of the way, anyone up for a round?
Connor Christiansen: My favorite Star Wars memory is my first Star Wars memory-it’s actually my earliest memory period. I distinctly remember going to see the special re-release of A New Hope in theaters with my family in 1997. I was four years old, stubby little legs dangling from the red velvet chair at a movie theater just a hundred yards from the ocean in Oceanside, California. I remember watching some moisture farmer named Luke buying some goofy droids in the desert, surrounded by my entire family. I don’t know how to explain it, and I am not going to make up some midichlorian riddled bantha fodder in an attempt to, but this memory brings me undeniable comfort. Brings a sensation that when Star Wars is around, things are right, that I am at my center and that I have somewhere I belong. There’s no other memory that has quite an intense effect on me and it kicked off a life-long obsession with a galaxy far, far away.
JJ Travers: I’ll never forget the first time I saw Star Wars. I was around five years old, my father and I were visiting my grandparents and they had a present for me. Tt was the original trilogy on VHS. My grandparents put it on for me and I was immediately hooked. My life was changed forever it that moment. I can still remember the carpet I sat on, the TV cabinet and furniture in that room. That moment is forever ingrained in my brain. It still gives me goosebumps when I think back on the first moment I heard “Red Five standing by.” and watched Luke Skywalker destroy the Death Star.
It’s been almost 20 years and my love for Star Wars has only grown since that day. I watched those VHS tapes so often that my mother had to replace the boxset. I’m fairly certain it was the reason are automatic rewinder (for VHS tapes, yeah I’m old) broke. Now a days my book shelf is overflowing with Star Wars novels and comics, there’s artwork on my walls, funko pops littered all over my apartment and I’ve got the Jedi Order’s crest tattooed on my leg. Star Wars still gives me goosebumps, still brings me joy and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the passion it’s brought me.
Nathaniel Muir: The easy answer is lightsaber fights. I am a huge fan of Luke vs Vader from Return of the Jedi. I think it is because I saw it so many times as a kid and I had a cool baseball cap of the scene.
One moment that really sticks out to me is the scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Han slices open the tauntaun’s belly. I saw it once as a kid and it horrified me. For years, I covered my eyes during that scene. After a while, I was covering my eyes out of habit and not out of genuine fear. About six years ago I walked into the living room as my wife was watching Empire. For the first time in decades I saw the tauntaun’s guts. I was impressed by how great it looked. Star Wars is known for its special effects but the less fantastical parts do not get enough praise.
Jim Lehane: The year, 1992. My then eleven year old self was looking for something to read when my older sister offered up her copy of Heir to the Empire. I devoured it. She then gave me Dark Force Rising, which I enjoyed with equal glee. This began a lifelong love affair with the “EU” (the Star Wars expanded universe as it was then known). Since that time I have made it my goal to read and collect every bit of Star Wars story ever produced (in both Legends and Canon), even going so far as to try and chronologically arrange them on my own Star Wars timeline (found at starwarstimelinealmanac.com). My love of Star Wars really is due to the limitless stories out there, ever expanding the base mythology.
Michael Pursell: The movie is largely viewed as the worst of all Star Wars films, but my favorite memory is seeing The Phantom Menace opening night. I was 13 and the exact age Lucas was targeting with this film. So if I wasn’t going to enjoy it, who would? I went with my older brother to the midnight showing (back when it was actually a midnight showing) and it was the most surreal experience. I’m sure most of that was due to the lack of sleep and copious amounts of caffeine I was on, but I went to school the next day high on life. I can’t say for sure, but I may have been the only one at my school who had seen the film by that point and I was the center of attention for all of a day. It wasn’t perfect by any means. I distinctly remember my brother being upset Yoda was still a puppet (although I’m sure he regretted those words years later) and Jar Jar wasn’t a character I enjoyed despite being created specifically for my age bracket. You know what though? That opening sequence was incredible and drew me into the prequel era instantly. We got to see what life was like when Jedi roamed the galaxy, all of which were unique. Plus, that final lightsaber fight coupled with the Duel of Fates left even the most disappointed Star Wars fan breathless. Including its limited re-release for charity where tickets were only a dollar, I must have seen The Phantom Menace 13 times in theater. Today it’s probably my second least favorite of the franchise besides Attack of the Clones, but I’ll always have that pure joy of a child seeing Star Wars rebooted and in theater again.
Patrick Ross: At the age of 16, I went on my first-ever date — We went to see Attack of the Clones on opening night. Like Michael, I was essentially the exact target demographic for the prequels: I was 13 when The Phantom Menace came out and 16 for AotC. 16 also being the age I ventured into the world of dating, I figured, what better way to commemorate something as awkward as a first date than by watching Anakin Skywalker awkwardly try to put the moves on Padme at the same time? Okay, so I didn’t know AotC was going to be quite so cringeworthy at the time, but looking back, it certainly was appropriate. And while in hindsight Episode II is hands down, no question my least favorite Star Wars movie by a fairly significant margin, I’ll never forget my nerves being as shot as Anakin’s were that night. And say what you want about the scene now, but when Yoda finally unsheathed his lightsaber and started backflipping all over the place, everybody in the theater that night went absolutely insane, me included.
Sound off in the comments below with your favorite Star Wars memories.