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Monday, April 9, 2012

Childhood Star Wars confessions

The official Star Wars site is removing its blogs, soon. I've appreciated the platform over there, and while there wasn't a lot of content split between this blog and that one, I've been able to retrieve some of the more interesting pieces. Here's a fun one from 2006, dealing with some random mistakes of a youth spent in Star Wars fandom...

Kenner really messes with your mind...

Image from
For years and years, I swore that Luke's lightsaber was yellow. And for years and years, random passerby swore I was colorblind!

There was a fair stretch between when I saw Episode IV until it finally hit HBO — Feb. 1, 1983, I believe — and my family hadn't gotten a VCR yet. So my only resource was that first Luke Skywalker action figure — with the yellow lightsaber, naturally.

I was disabused of the notion far, far too late. But I won't deny it had a little something to do with how I outfitted Zayne Carrick in the early Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics. (It's OK -- I'll wait here while you go check...) 

Evil Doctor Yoda!

I went into The Empire Strikes Back half-expecting Yoda to be a creepy monster, and Darth Vader to commit suicide at the end. No, really!

A mere youngling, I couldn't wait to get into see Empire in the theater - and as luck would have it, the local 7-Eleven had the Donald F. Glut novelization right on the front counter days in advance. Half the school had copies, and we were all racing to get through the book first and learn the secrets before everyone else. (One of the kids blew the Vader-Luke connection for everybody just before English class. Grrr...)

Now, that sort of speed-reading doesn't exactly make for complete accuracy in comprehension. Thus, I came away not exactly knowing how big or nasty-looking Yoda was — I was imagining him to be Greedo-like before I hit the theater! It's hard to imagine that today, with all the preview images around — but back then I recall Yoda's appearance was a pretty well kept secret — at least from me. He wasn't in the first action figure wave, for example, so we didn't see him on the card backs... 

But he didn't seem that depressed... 

If that wasn't crazy enough, consider how half of us read Vader's last scene. Glut writes that on failing to catch the Falcon, Vader quietly "walks off the bridge." Now, none of us watched Star Trek or were otherwise conversant with naval jargon — so a "bridge" for us was, well, a bridge. Now, what the heck a bridge would be doing on a starship, I can't tell you. But evidently Vader gets upset at the end of the movie and jumps off one — or so one of our local interpretations went!

That's the danger with peeking in advance, at least when you're a kid!

Ironically, that didn't happen me with Episodes IV and VI — because while I did "peek at the story," in both cases I read the comics adaptation before seeing the movies. Score one for comics: You know what everyone looks like, and whether they're jumping off bridges or not...

"Bespin" is usually enough for the taxi driver...

Intellectually, I know Cloud City is called "Cloud City," but from the first moment I read about it (remember that novelization, again) I've thought of it as "City in the Clouds." It's never actually named in the film that I can recall, beyond what Luke calls it, which, again, is "a city in the clouds."

And now, even today, I have to catch myself not to say "City in the Clouds" half the time... 

Comedy was so much easier at age 12...

And on that same score, I can't see a Twin Pod Cloud Car without cracking up. Again back there in grade school, one of the kids (maybe trying to make up for ruining the secret of the movie earlier on) cracked us all up with a drawing of two completely goofy-looking idiots in a spaceship: the "Twin Pod Clod Car," new from Kenner. And once again, that's the first name that comes to mind whenever I see one today...

Well, you know what they say. You never get a second chance to get a first impression. Or something like that...
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