Hey Internetters! How are you doing? I’m good, thank you. I have a complicated relationship with Star Wars. Everybody knows Star Wars, and you can’t seem to exist in the Western world without running into a storm trooper at some point in your life, whether in toy form or cosplay form. This week I feel like sharing with you some of my introduction to it. Here we go!
When I first arrived in Canada, it was summer of 1997. My parents opened a variety store, and I was 11 and didn’t speak very much English. I was puzzled and amazed by a lot of things. It was peculiar every bag of Lays chips had a picture of a blonde boy on it. Why? Because little kids like chips, and his hair colour was the same shade of yellow, duh. I soon came to know, that that was the works of mass advertisement of Star Wars, Episode One. To this day I still can’t take a bite of Lays original without simultaneously picturing Anakin’s bowl cut.
After being in school for a couple of months, I had learned a little bit of English, my best friend at the time, an immigrant girl who got to Canada five years before I did, introduced me to the concept of a Princess Leia. She was completely obsessed. She drew pictures of Leia, did her hair like Leia, and she even had dot wav sound files of Leia’s one-liners saved on the computer and played them over and over. “Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” and “Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?” were some of my first English phrases.
You can’t only know Leia and not the others. Aside from the fact Leia had two cinnamon buns as hair, I also learned that Luke Skywalker was the hero/her brother/they kissed at some point. Han Solo was the other guy who was actually her boyfriend, without the blood relations. I didn’t know what role Yoda had in all this but that he was green and wise. It made sense that you probably need him in that situation.
Probably because she’s never had to explain it to anyone, my friend never explained to me why the 1997 movie was a pre-quel, and that the originals were actually made in the seventies.
(For those of you who don’t know: the Star Wars history is VERY confusing. The original movies, episodes four, five, and six, came out in the seventies and eighties. They were huge cultural hits. So huge that even people born in the nineties watched them and loved them. The director, George Lucas waited two whole decades to make episode one, two, and three. Which were also popular movies, but less so. Now there is a new Star Wars movie coming out everyday. I’m kidding, but they do come out pretty often.)
To me, a kid who wasn’t exposed to any of it prior to 1997, it was only logical to assume that Episode One was the first movie ever made.
How come there were characters already without a movie? I dunno. I was Fresh Off the Boat from pre-internet China, I didn’t know how things worked. This was just one of the million things that I didn’t know about. Leia and Luke and Han Solo must have been Children’s Entertainment celebrities. Yoda was a puppet. I thought they were like Luna from Big Comfy Couch, or Steve from Blue’s Clues (shows I watched that were on par with my English abilities). The audience already had a relationship with them, and now a movie was coming out. All the facts were from the gazillions of books called “Star Wars: something something” at our community library. None of which I had the English proficiency to read.
When Episode One was made available on VCR and my parents obtained it for rental movies at the convenience store, I watched it. My friend had only drawn pictures of Leia and Yoda, so I didn’t have the visual knowledge of what everyone else looked like. I was excited to see them for the first time.
When the characters appeared, I looked left and right at every “main” looking male to find Luke. “That guy with long hair must be Luke. Wait, no, THAT must be Luke. But he just said his name is Obi Wan. Is Obi Wan code for Luke? And which one is Han Solo? It can’t be the blonde little kid because he is way too young to have a girlfriend…”
The appearance I was most anticipating was of course, Princess Leia. My friend had made her out to be coolest girl ever created. But throughout the movie, I had this vague sense that Leia wasn’t really there. The only one with the slightest possibility of being her was this girl with what looked like giant croissants for hair and little red dots on her face. I didn’t know that her name was “Padme Amidala” because that is a ridiculous word for an ESL kid to make out! I thought maybe she was Leia. In that case, they changed her clothes a lot. And she didn’t wanna wear her cinnamon buns.
I told my friend I was very disappointed. Not only was there no Luke, no Han Solo. Princess Leia went with croissants instead of cinnamon buns. My friend was shocked. She finally explained to me, there were other movies made before this. Ooooh, it was finally beginning to make sense.
I hope that was enjoyable. Next week I’m gonna tell you more about my thoughts on the Star Wars movies. Have a good one!