It doesn’t matter if you were born in 1977 or 2007; if you’re a Star Wars fan, the franchise likely had an impact on your childhood unlike any other pop culture work. And whether we admit or not, the toys and merchandise were a big part of that appeal, a trend that’s still going strong today as we can see by the hordes who participated in Force Friday.
It’s one of the things that resonates so strongly about a new fan film called Summer ’78, which is so jampacked with nostalgia it’s oozing out of the corners of the frame. Just under four minutes, the short is basically just a glimpse at one kid’s morning playing with this Star Wars toys and having a grand old time, like so many of us did back in the day.
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There’s a twist to the proceedings, though, that eagle-eyed viewers who are on the watch for the numerous Easter eggs scattered throughout may be able to guess by the end. It’s not too hard to figure out where the short is going, but it’s still a satisfying grace note to tie the film into present day.
Summer ’78 was originally shown at Star Wars Weekends earlier this year, but was just recently published on the Internet. It was directed by J.C. Reifenberg, who works on the Comlink and has even been a part of a few Kevin Smith productions. The short was produced by James Arnold Taylor, who you’ll recognize as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and as various characters in Star Wars Rebels.
Playing with toys is just one of the many ways that Star Wars fandom manifested itself in childhood, but for me, it’s the one form of Star Wars that I associated most strongly with my youth, probably because I gave it up as I grew older. (That clearly wasn’t the case with a lot of other Star Wars fans.) Even if I wasn’t born until more than a decade until after 1978, I still recognize the summer fun on display here very well.