This is a big year for Star Wars fans. Not only does the next installment of the latest film trilogy hit theaters next month, but fans have been celebrating all year with the 40th anniversary of the very first film. Can you believe Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in theaters forty years ago? In those decades, countless amount of viewers dove headfirst into the stories of characters from a galaxy far, far away. With the revival of a new trilogy and subsequent films surrounding the Star Wars universe, the fandom is continuing to grow. For the fans who grew up with the franchise, it may feel extra special.
What does Star Wars mean to you?
Unbound Worlds, a website from Penguin Random House which focuses on sci-fi and fantasy literature, is asking that important question. To celebrate the 40th Star Wars anniversary, the site is sharing a new content series, A Long Time Ago. Over the course of October, the site shared personal stories from twenty authors about what Star Wars meant to them. The personal essays come from fans who have grown up in the span of the last few decades. Each has a unique story to tell so we decided to share a taste of a few essays you can read on the site.
A wide variety of personal essays
Beth Cato, an author with two steampunk series with Harper Voyager, shares how she was born into the world of Star Wars. As a result of growing up with a mega-fan older brother, her first words were even Star Wars related. As siblings, the duo would spend the summers marathon watching the original trilogy on VHS. Now, Cato credits Star Wars as the foundation for her writing.
Blake Crouch was worried that there would be no more Star Wars movies so he decided to continue the story on his own. At the age of 12 in the early ’90s, Crouch set out to create his own fan fiction. Due to the time that had passed, Crouch created ‘The Last Strike’, which took place three decades after Return of the Jedi. Crouch even shared the first three pages of the story for A Long Time Ago. He credits the story as the beginning of his path on becoming a writer.
Emma Newman shares not only how much the movies meant to her but also the merchandise surrounding the films. She journeys back to her childhood and remembers the time she spent re-enacting and creating scenes with her Star Wars figures. Newman recalls memories of her granddad buying her a Wampa. She also shares the elation of getting new Star Wars toys for Christmas.
As a Star Wars fan, you can probably relate to a lot of these personal stories. I can remember the first time I watched the original trilogy growing up in the ’90s. Most of all, I remember watching them with my grandmother. She came over to take care of me until my parents came home from work. My brother is the biggest Star Wars fan so he probably would have converted me into a fan eventually. Therefore, if it wasn’t for that random sick day watching on VHS, who knows how long it would have taken me to become a fan.
How can you celebrate?
Thankfully, we don’t just have movies to immerse ourselves in, we have Star Wars comics, TV shows, merchandise, games, and books. In conjunction with the anniversary, Penguin Random House recently released a short story collection, From A Certain Point of View. There is a number of new and upcoming Star Wars books making their way to the shelves and they should not be missed.
Along with the Unbound Worlds essay series, they are promoting a special contest for readers. As part of of the Star Wars Reads initiative, the site is running a sweeps to win a Star Wars prize pack. The winnings include 25 Star Wars books and audiobooks, a replica of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, and a $250 gift card to ThinkGeek. The contest closes November 15, 2017 so hurry up and enter!
So what does Star Wars mean to you? Share your story in the comments!
(featured image: Lucasfilm)