Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away

Dun...Dun...DUN DUN DUN DUUUN....DUUUN....

If John Williams's epic theme immediately popped into your brain, congratulations.  You are a Star Wars geek.  It's been 36 years (as of May 25) since George Lucas introduced the world to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader.  Although the special effects may seem dated, and the dialogue might seem rather cheesy now, there's no denying that the series has captured the attention and passion of both new and old fans.  As someone who dressed up as Princess Leia (white robe and buns on each side of my head) for Halloween when I was six; was once convinced that Darth Vader was lurking in my closet (don't ask);  and read the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back numerous times, Star Wars movies and paraphernalia have been big personal interests since I was a child.  If it's been a while since you've watched the movies or if you're interested in learning about the creation and culture behind Star Wars, the library has plenty of materials that will satisfy even the most ardent Star Wars fanatic.

Has it been a while since you've watched the movies? You can either start with the prequel trilogy, or you can just pretend that those movies don't exist, and watch the original trilogy (fun fact: Return of the Jedi was originally called Revenge of the Jedi, until it was pointed out that a Jedi wouldn't seek revenge--posters and other promotional materials with the original name fetch a pretty, pretty penny). Note that watching the series in its new order will ruin several key moments in 4-6.   If you can't remember the difference between Jango Fett or Boba Fett, The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia should set you straight. You can also consult the "visual dictionaries" for Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, and Episodes IV-VI.

With the completion of the prequel trilogy, it became clear that Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is the central character in the Star Wars trilogy (whereas the central arc in the original trilogy was the maturation of Luke Skywalker, which of course ties into Vader's story). Vader is one of the most intriguing and complex villains in science fiction film history; The Complete Vader is an impressive look at the creation and fame of The Dark Lord of the Sith.

Star Wars has spawned an overwhelming number of science fiction novel series. Several series deal with the continuation of the saga after Return of the Jedi, while some focus on stories taking place before the prequels' timeline.  In order to get a handle on what's what, Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion should be most handy (it also discusses children's series and ebook series). 

If you're a Trekkie, this weekend is for seeing the new Star Trek movie.   If you're a Star Wars geek, rewatch the first Star Wars movie (or, as George Lucas and my TAG group call it, "the fourth"--*tear*) and don't think too hard about the fact that Disney is now in charge of the franchise.  May the Force be with you.

Jennifer @ Warrenton

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