Webmaster’s note 10/14/2018: This is an older compilation of members’ memories of the original Star Wars trilogy, and their reactions and anticipation about Phantom Menace coming out in 1999. We’re including it here so it can appear under the Essays and Articles category of posts, and under the Star Wars and Movies tags.
compiled by Tracy Hite
Phantom Menace introduced a whole new generation to Jedi Knights and Darth Lords. For the first time, movie tickets went on sale a week or more before the premier – and the lines formed days before that. (Talk about your reunion concerts!) I remember when a farm boy from the middle of nowhere first took on the Empire. (People old enough to drink weren’t even born then!) Their ships twisted and dove through the far reaches of the galaxy, bringing unheard-of realism to the silver screen. (Look, Ma, no strings!) Some guy named Lucas risked a huge budget on a bunch of unknown actors. (Harrison who?) The good guys won, the doomsday machine was destroyed, but the villain managed to escape at the last minute. (Sequel? What’s that?)
I was ten or so, and it had been a pretty lousy summer. My grandmother died, and so did Elvis Presley. I needed a diversion in the worst way, and Star Wars was it. It took me away from Earth, and gave me hope again. If Obi-Wan lived on in the Force, then maybe Grandma could, too.
Before Phantom Menace appeared, I asked our members to share some of their anticipations for the new movie, and memories of the one that started it all. Below are their replies.
From Linda Wyatt
So you want a before and after. Well, I can’t tell you what I expect. It should be good, but may not have the impact of the first. Still, all in all, I am glad George is continuing the saga.
I will see it at 12:01 at the Showcase. I could have gone to Tinsel Town, but I wanted the biggest screen, and Showcase is where it all began. I will leave TT to the new fans.
I will be attending with Mike and Sue Baugh, Steve and Sue Francis, Leah Gadzakowski, Denise Spear and my male niece, Brian. (For some reason, he hates the word nephew. Not that he is fond of my replacement.)
From Susan Baugh
“I am expecting classic Star Wars, decent plot, lots of action and awsome special effects.”
From Leah Gadzakowski
“Based on the trailers, I am expecting a battle, young Obi Wan, and a setting up of Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Should be very exciting. Lots of battles. Lots of the old Republic setting and future falling apart. First should be a build up and the second may be a little more of a downer.”
From Denise Spear
She is breathless, but mostly from rushing around. Completely inarticulate with anticipation.
From Brian Wyatt
“I think it is going to be cool. Lots of air battles, flying around, light sabers, and robots. ”
From Steve Francis
“I have only been waiting 22 years for this. Before we said, That was so cool.’ Now we are saying, This is going to be so cool.'”
From Sue Francis
“I just hope the hype doesn’t disappoint us.”
From Mike Baugh
“Why is my wife dragging me out in the middle of the night…make that morning. Why can’t I go to work.”
Well, that is all for now. Time to go get in line. See you all on the flip side and…
From Kirby Sloan
And I want a report from all of you BEFORE you go to bed tomorrow morning! Spoilers or not.
I am envious of you all. We probably won’t see the movie for a couple of weeks, given the need to find a sitter and getting ready for out China trip.
I looked in my diary and found that I waited for the midnite show of Jedi when it came out from about noon. Saw it at Southpark (is that theatre even there anymore? I was lucky since my apartment was right there. I haven’t been to Lexington in over 10 years.) I was one of the first people in line. The people waiting in line that long were looked at as strange. This days and days in line thing is hard to imagine.
From Sylvia Wendell
All this remembering back to when you saw Star Wars (Episode IV) for the very first time …. First time I saw ST was in Boston, at a special showing that was organized as a preview for the theater managers in New England, a couple days before it opened in general release. They wanted to fill seats with viewers who would be enthusiastic, to give the managers the idea it was *really great*, so they handed out FREE tickets to the two big SF clubs in the Boston area, and we went en mass. Sigh (smack, smack), they sure don’t make’em like that anymore.
From Maria Bellamy
Which movie came out in 1983? I was overseas that summer and I was the first one in line to see it in London, England. I got there about an hour before showtime and about 30 mins. before, all of a sudden hundreds of people showed up. A man with 2 small children came up and asked me to buy their tickets out of consideration for the kids standing in July heat & that he would buy my ticket if I would. I half-jokingly asked for popcorn and he was quite offended, but softened when I got his tickets. I gave up seeing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof for that. Not the movie, the play.
From Terri Barger
I saw the first one in 1978 (I was 2 years old), someone was dressed up like Darth Vader in the lobby of the theatre in Ashland, KY-where we lived, and dad asked him to leave because Vader scared me. I can honestly say my daddy took on Darth Vader for me! 🙂 I’m not sure whether I actually remember this or just heard the story so many times from my family…hard to say.