I can’t remember a time in my life when Star Wars wasn’t in it. And with good reason: I became cognizant right at the moment when Star Wars had seemingly taken over the world. When the original movie opened on May 25th, 1977, I was a month shy of turning 3 years old. They say your first lasting memories are formed at around age 3, and my earliest memories are Star Wars. Not the movie, which I probably didn’t see until I was about 4 years old, but the hype, merchandising, and overwhelming pop culture presence that became fundamental to Star Wars fandom.

My earliest memory (besides being pushed into the deep end of a swimming pool by my older brothers before I could swim) was seeing the trailer for Star Wars for the first time. My older brothers had actually gone to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind in one of the neighboring screens in our local, now long gone movie theater, back when a movie house had maybe two screens at most. Deciding I was too young for Star Wars, my grandmother took me to the screen next door, which was showing The Jungle Book. But when Darth Vader appeared in the trailer, I lost my mind with fear. To me, he was terror personified, and my grandmother had to take me out into the lobby, screaming and crying. Within a year though, I’d have my own Darth Vader action figure. We all would.

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