My name is Janice and I’m a Star Wars Fan! No, not Start Trek, that’s different. I am NOT a Trekkie. If you don’t know the difference, kindly unfriend yourself now! If you don’t know the difference but wish to be enlightened, keep reading.
My love for Star Wars started many light years ago … in 1977 when my late Dad (bless his soul) took me to see the first Star Wars movie. Actually, it’s not the first one, it’s the fourth one but it was the first one to be made, and the first one to be released. I know it’s a bit confusing so I’ll put it in a nutshell for you. Episodes 4, 5 and 6 were released first, with 3 year gaps in between each film release. Then, after a staggering 16 year wait, episode 1 was released in 1999, and episodes 2 and 3 followed, again with 3 year gaps in between each episode’s release.
It’s now been 10 years since we saw the last Star Wars film (in case you’re not keeping up – that was episode 3 in 2005) episode 7 is about to be released – in December of 2015. Apparently we won’t have to wait too long for the final two episodes in the series. This time there will only be a two-year wait between the release of those, in 2017 and 2019! I think they’re worried that the original fans from the 70’s might be dying off so they’re hurrying things along slightly. Can you actually handle the excitement! (Actually, at our age, maybe we should take a pill and go and lie down.)
Right, so to make sure we’re all on the same page and that you’re all paying attention here’s what the actual Star Wars series looks like – not in chronological order (although it pains me to list it this way), but in episodic order, because I do understand that not all of you are quite as purist as the rest of us:
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Episode VIII (2017)
Episode IX (2019)
Moving swiftly along … I hear you asking, ‘What is it about?’ Well, what do you think it’s about? The battle between good and evil – duh! There are the Jedi, who are the good guys, and the Sith, the nasty guys. And all are ruled by the ‘Force’. The Jedi harness the Force (always, always with a capital ‘F’) for good. The Sith, tune in to its dark side and use it to do their damndest, evil worst to take over the Galaxy.
To try and explain the entire, intricate story to Star Wars novices would take quite some time, and as this is only the 101 version, I will simply educate you on some of the more iconic characters that you will most certainly have seen or heard of (please, please humour me and tell me you have!)
Darth Vader represents the epitome of evil in the Star Wars saga. An imposing figure be-robed in black and with his face masked, breathing heavily, who can say they haven’t heard someone mimicking Vader’s catchphrase ‘I am your Father’? (even if you haven’t, please for the love of the Galaxy, just nod and say you have!!). Darth Vader started life as Anakin Skywalker, and once it’s discovered that he has great potential in the Force, he is removed from a life of poverty and trained to become a Jedi Knight (very, very important good guy). He eventually marries Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, but events conspire against him, and he ends up moving to the dark side, and becoming a very important bad guy!
Heartthrob of note in the 70’s when the first Star Wars movie (which was episode 3, remember?) was released. Now we look at him, shake our heads and wonder, ‘What were we thinking?’ In the first Star Wars (which is the 3rd Star Wars, really) he’s a fairly non-descript young man, coerced into helping to rescue Princess Leia (his twin sister – but he doesn’t know that yet; he doesn’t know Darth Vader’s his dad yet either; actually he doesn’t know that he himself is a Jedi, by virtue of the fact that his father is one – the ultimate dysfunctional family). Eventually, he accepts that he must be trained in the ways of the Jedi, and he comes across Yoda …
The wise Jedi Master, an odd looking but endearing little creature who speaks in a strange, backward prose. Yoda’s character encompasses all that represents good in the Star Wars franchise. Advice he gives, wisdom he imparts (that’s how he talks – funny, hey?) No-one would dare say that they don’t like Yoda! (So don’t even try it!)
The rugged hero with the smart comebacks and the risky moves, who rescues everyone and gets the girl (Princess Leia). When we first meet him, he’s a smuggler, trying to get out of trouble by chartering his spacecraft to the highest bidder. Nobody likes him or trusts him in the beginning, but of course by the end of about 6 episodes (in whichever order you choose), everybody adores him! It’s Harrison Ford – what’s not to love (even with the dodgy waistcoat, and without the bullwhip)? His co-pilot is a Wookiee (what do you mean you don’t know what that is – and no, it’s not a type of dog, it’s much, much bigger?!?!) named Chewbacca (affectionately, Chewey). He’s adorable – but don’t get on his bad side. He doesn’t talk (not in words), but when he gets angry you’ll know!
They’re droids! How cool? Yes, robots. C-3PO is a very prim and proper droid who speaks in a very British, butler-like voice and who always needs to do the right thing. In fact he’s absolutely, positively terrified of doing anything wrong or making anyone angry with him. R2-D2 doesn’t speak – but C-3PO understands him perfectly. He communicates in blips and whirrs, and when he gets really over-excited, spins around like a bit of a dervish! He’s usually referred to as just R2, but you’ll know when C-3PO is really angry with him when he calls him by his full name, R2-D2!
Ok, so I think that’s enough for Star Wars 101 – I wouldn’t want to overload your brains with too much intergalactic information! I’m trusting you to revise these notes adequately. There won’t be a test, but just keep your light-saber charged (get one of those portable chargers in case of load-shedding!) and may the Force by with you!