Today, May 25th, marks the 39th birthday of Star Wars: A New Hope, and the Star Wars franchise itself.
May 25th, 1977 is an important date for all Star Wars fans, as it was the day Star Wars became a reality. Not all of us were alive when A New Hope premiered in theaters, but we all feel its legacy. Without it, we would not have had six more films, two television shows, and hundreds of books and video games which have made their homes in our hearts.
I remember watching A New Hope when I was three or four years old, in 1998 or 1999. The memory isn’t complete, so I don’t know if I was seeing the movie for the first time. But I do vaguely recall that, even at that young age and before seeing The Phantom Menace and my soon-to-be crush Ewan McGregor, Obi Wan Kenobi was my favorite character. I can’t tell you why my three or four-year-old self’s favorite character was an old man, but Ben Kenobi is awesome no matter what age he is so I’m not knocking my early choices.
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Many years later, my brother and I were watching A New Hope, I think on VHS. It must have been a different version than what we had seen before, because it was for the first time we saw a stormtrooper clonking his helmet on a rising door in one of the Death Star scenes. My brother said, “Hey, did you see that?” I hadn’t, so he rewound the tape, and then we both watched it and laughed together. It’s a small, insignificant moment, but it’s one I like to remember as part of my experiences with A New Hope. Even after watching it several times, there are still new things to discover and appreciate.
I only wish I could have experienced Star Wars when it first came out in theaters. Not because I have a nostalgia for the original version (I actually like the 1997 special edition better), but because of the wonder the audiences must have felt seeing that cutting edge special effects for the first time, and the realization that science fiction movies didn’t have to be dumb to be fun. Star Wars changed the world, and I can only imagine how epic its birth was to witness.
What are your memories of watching A New Hope? Were you there when it premiered in 1977? Talk to us about your experiences with the film in the comments below.
Happy birthday, Star Wars!