My Star Wars Moment #12: ‘Star Wars Memories’

Some of you might remember David Salazar from his amazing guest post ‘Leia, Padme and Rhyming Star Wars‘. Well, he’s back with a great My Star Wars Moment which shows us how Star Wars reaches across origins and generations, gives whole families joy and can inspire career choices! It’s definitely a great piece and I hope you enjoy it!

Quick reminder, if you’d like to send in a MSWM email me at juliwitte@clone-corridor.uk.

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Star Wars Memories
by
David Salazar

It was early 1997 and I was just 9-years-old. The movie theater near my house in East Meadow, NY had just released some movie called “Star Wars: A New Hope.” I had no idea what it was. My father, a Colombian immigrant, had never been a fan of the franchise when it made its bow in 1977. My mother had seen the films as a child (she too was born in Colombia, but grew up in the US) but was never hooked the way other people were at the time. So there I was with my brother, one year my junior. We had gone to Pizza Hut and gotten one of those free Yoda posters that came with buying a meal at the time and we were very curious about this “Star Wars” thing. So my mother took us to the cinemas to see “A New Hope.”

And then everything changed. Suddenly movies were more than just those Disney films we had grown up with. A few weeks later we went to see “Return of the Jedi” (unfortunately “Empire” had been out of theaters and to this day I have yet to see that film the way it is meant to be seen). “Star Wars” became a huge part of our childhood for years to come. We collected the action figures. We collected the three SNES video games. We got the Special Editions on VHS and watched them time and again.

In 1999 we were there for opening weekend of “The Phantom Menace” to a sold out theater. Three years later we made it a big family event to see “Attack of the Clones” (it was my brother, my mother, my aunt, my cousins). I remember people laughing at Anakin’s “sand” line and then the applause for Yoda lighting his saber to take on Count Dooku. I must admit that after “Attack of the Clones” my life underwent a huge change. I started high school and I became fully dedicated to being the best musician I possibly could. Thus movies became periphery for me and my love for “Star Wars” diminished for a time.

That changed in 2005. I was actually oblivious to the opening day for “Revenge of the Sith.” I remember sitting in class one day and one of my friends told me that he was missing class the next day because he was going to a screening of “Sith” at midnight. I was surprised. That is how out of touch I got from the franchise. That weekend my entire family decided that we would see the movie together. It was about 15 of us. Cousins, uncles, aunts. It was Sunday afternoon of opening weekend.

Moments before the lights came down, my younger cousin, who was 5 when we first fell in love with “Star Wars” in 1997, turned to me and said the following words: “Dave, this is our childhood. And it’s coming to an end.” Imagine that for me, a 17-year-old to hear in that moment to be reminded of how I had changed in almost 8 years. The early moments of my love affair with the franchise poured back and after watching the movie, I was entranced yet again.  I loved “Star Wars” and the cinema again. I wound up studying film in college and currently work as an entertainment reporter and filmmaker, thanks in large part to that seed that George Lucas’ franchise planted in my youthful mind.

Now 27, I am still fascinated by the saga but on a far deeper level. The mythological qualities. The construction. The parallelism. John William’s storytelling in the music. And  I can see that other people in my demographic are also seeing the movies as more than just pulp entertainment. My early childhood experience with “Star Wars” ended, but like me, the franchise continued to grow and evolve as I did. I purchased my tickets for “The Force Awakens” as soon as they were available and will be seeing the film with many of those same family members that saw “Sith” and “Clones” with me.

I am looking forward to making more memories for years to come.

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