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Two years ago I was incredibly excited to welcome Star Wars back to the movie universe. I hadn't been supremely disappointed in the prequels like others, but I knew they left a lot on the table that could have been explored.
The Force Awakens was a chance to see Star Wars spinning off from the Original Trilogy, featuring characters from that time. From the first teaser that they showed back in November of 2014, everyone knew they were bringing out everything that the fans loved. New characters, old favorites, lightsabers, etc. They were all there.
I was excited then, but I am even more excited now as we count down the days until The Last Jedi hits theaters. (102 days, to be exact.) Why am I more excited? Read on:
We have an established galaxy.
Thanks to the Extended Universe of Star Wars stories, fans had pieced together a timeline that contained all the stories after the events of Return of the Jedi. When those stories were eliminated from canon and new movies were announced, fans wondered what in the world was happening in this new epilogue for the OT.
The Force Awakens helped to establish that new timeline. It was 30 years into the future, and the New Republic was floundering. It was helping fund a Resistance movement which was fighting against a rising First Order under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke.
In that overarching view we also knew that Han and Leia's son, Ben, had turned to the dark side thanks to Snoke and become Kylo Ren. He had been training with Luke, but had turned away. Resisting a call back to the light, he killed Han.
The Force awakened in a girl named Rey, marooned on the planet of Jakku when she was younger. She crossed paths with Finn, a deserting stormtrooper who was trying to locate BB-8, who contained a map to Luke. The three of them get into trouble, Finn is wounded, and Rey beats the crap out of Kylo Ren with Luke's old blue lightsaber.
Oh, and the First Order blew up the New Republic HQ while the Resistance blew up the main First Order HQ.
There. I was pretty picky, but that's the storyline now. For all those people who complained about its similarities to A New Hope (Hi, Mom!) there is some validity.
But now we get to the fun stuff!
We get to meet Luke, like it or not.
I think I would have been more excited for The Force Awakens if Luke had been featured more. But I guess Lucasfilm just wanted me to marinate on my excitement for two more years as I got ready for The Last Jedi, because here he is!
It turns out everyone in the galaxy was wondering about Luke, not just me. And as they wondered, I got more excited.
And then we got the trailer in April, with Luke's first words since Return of the Jedi:
And I plastered the goofiest grin on my face because it was what I was waiting for so long to hear!
This Luke, however, isn't going to be the nice guy we know and love. There's going to be scars, and we're going to have to be okay with uncovering them and seeing the pain and sorrow. It will also round out the character, and that's always a plus.
Sharing it with kids is even more fun.
When The Force Awakens was released, I bought junior novelizations of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi and read them to my students for read-aloud. If they didn't know who those Original Trilogy characters were before, they were certainly aware of them when I was done. (I must have done a number on that group; about 90% of my Christmas presents that year were Star Wars-related!)
This year, I don't feel like I have to do that. When I printed out cartoons of the characters, I showed them to a few kids, and they immediately knew who they were. They love how cool Kylo Ren looks - probably even more than Darth Vader, to be honest! When I bring up characters I don't get a confused look - I get a nod of understanding.
Excitement gets me through the tough times.
When I am frustrated at something or someone, I check Star Wars social media. If I need a pick-me-up in the mornings before work, I listen to a Star Wars podcast. As with anyone who struggles with something, finding an escape is the perfect way to unwind. Star Wars has been my thing for a good four years now, and most of the time I can relax and unwind.
Some people might wonder how I deal with trolls and other negative personalities in the Star Wars universe. Most of the time I don't hear about those people - the people I follow bring a positive light to the community and encourage inclusiveness. It's helped me to be more welcoming to other Star Wars fans and not be a gatekeeper.
If they can influence me in a positive way, I should too, right?
The plot thickens in the second part of the trilogy! I can hardly wait!
My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!