Star Wars: All the things we’re thankful for in a galaxy far, far away

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Photo Credit: [Star Wars: Return of the Jedi] LucasfilmAs Turkey Day comes around, we look at all things we are thankful for. Forget family, health, and financial security. This year, I’m only thankful for Star Wars.

My daughter seems nice, but she requires conversation and guidance, my knee is killing me as I approach 40, and Chase may be hiring Dengar to locate me and “encourage” me to pay my credit card debt. Star Wars only gives. Though, there are some that are claiming it has taken their childhood…I am thankful I grew up with Star Wars in a time that allowed kids to be kids and use their imaginations.

Since I was knee-high to a Jakku night blossom, Star Wars has been in my life. I was born in 1979. Too late for A New Hope, too young to remember Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi was my introduction. While Return of the Jedi is a hard #3 of the Original Trilogy ranking, it is ingrained in my psyche and will always have a special place in my heart.

I remember seeing laser swords flash across the screen and the various life forms in Jabba’s palace. Return of the Jedi created a world of which I could never dream. All the possibilities of what could be in the universe. Rebels, the Empire, even the Ewoks all told a tale in which we all craved more of. And we had more of it thanks to a little company called Kenner and those fantastic pieces of plastic they sold.

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Being a product of a divorce, one of the constants I had as a kid when being shuffled back and forth in custody weekends, was making sure I had my Luke, Han and Bossk action figures to hold battles against the Empire. Of course, Bossk wouldn’t be fighting for the Rebellion, but he had such a cool look and as a young Padawan, I didn’t truly grasp the subtleties of intergalactic politics, space wizards and cosmonaut pirates. Now I’m an expert on these items, much to the chagrin of my wife.

Setting up Jabba’s playset along with my IG-88 and stormtroopers and flying the Rebels in on an X-Wing to rescue Leia or take down the stronghold took me in my childhood away to somewhere wonderous.

I watch kids today and they are so over loaded with content and electronics they struggle to be able to keep themselves entertained for any length of time. Kids do not have the chance to daydream or create nearly as much as when I was growing up. For that, I am thankful I grew up in a time where Star Wars was fresh and had time to wonder.

For those of us that grew up with Star Wars, those memories of creating the Star Wars worlds are what keep us invested in the backstory. Because we created the backstory ourselves. Each time we played we built “Legends” in which our characters faced adversity and triumphed. Watching social media and people visceral reactions to everything Star Wars makes me more thankful as a kid those things did not exist yet. I was able to enjoy all things Star Wars pure and let me imagination fly. Now if I could only get Chase to imagine my debts paid off. Maybe that can be what I’m thankful for next year.

So thank you George Lucas for all things Star Wars (except Jar Jar). My childhood was great because of it.

– Graig Stephens