Anyone I can find who will speak to me about this seems fairly sure that we only got a new Starwars movie yesterday. I remember liking it? The fact that we can experience and share this thing of ours again - for the first time - is a constant source of wonder. And now we get to run the Kessel with our favourite scoundrel in what’s suddenly become a matter of weeks.
Only this time, that scruffy lookin' nerf herder is even more baby faced. I’m not even complaining and have precisely no cares over how many parsecs it takes us. The fact that there may and must be three is only the gift that might keep on giving.
My most vivid memory - drawing only from back when my existence approximated eight full circuits of our sun - is that of a Sunday afternoon, lying on the living room carpet as my dad turned the TV on after lunch and I was swept into a snowstorm on Hoth: The guy was in trouble, there were weird ships and a space yeti and the sword - that was made of light, I should mention - jumped. into. his fucking. hand.
Mum walked in and (I am in no way paraphrasing and have total recall of this exact moment in time) said, “Oh, it’s Starwars. Aren’t there more of these?” And that was that.
I know every Starwars fan - every fan of every fannable thing ever - has their own version of this. Their own origin story. I also remember the day that we picked up a second hand (because I wish I was that old) bucket of Kenner’s ESB action figures, complete with a whole set of unknowables and a Mattel ROTJ ewok village. I can smell that school gymnasium now, where the ‘carboot’ sale occured. I can see the grey carpet, fold-away climbing bars and pommel horse. The worn crash mats still smell blue. I can feel the mystique and adventure that particular bucket promised. Fun was had for time with that horde and I’m keenly aware of the trove’s continued existence somewhere in their attic. I’ll climb into the rafters one of these days and you shall know where to find my bones.
The prop design in Starwars has always been a big thing for me. I have well and truly lost count of the hours I’ve spent ‘window shopping’ on Etsy for a DL-44. Luke or Han’s, I can’t decide and it may be even more iconic for me personally than The Falcon. And I have that tattooed on my god damned arm. There’s something about the whole thing - props, creatures, costume and set - that makes it feel very real for a part of my brain that has always desperately wanted it to be. I know I’m on well-trod ground here but it’s my thing too, as well as Rian’s and I can only be eternally grateful for that. He’s headed into a trio of tantalising, untouched territory and that shall have to be enough.
It must be to do with the permission to suspend disbelief. It feels lived in, slightly broken and very real. We immerse our bodies, minds and hearts and escape. We can examine ourselves in a context that - though fiction, where we are safe from harm or offence - feels real enough to throw our lives and interactions with one another into relief, whereby we might hold them at distance and know our nature, without fear of breaking the mirror.
Needless to say, ‘Empire’ was and remains today, my Joseph and his coat of multiple colours. It’s just the right amount of dark and Ford shines from within. The thing almost certainly didn’t write itself but, at times, feels thoroughly alive. I know, I know.
I would go to Dagobah and beyond to make you feel my love.
JD - TACOCAT