A few months ago, I began to write a list of things I wanted to do during my Winter break. I had finally gotten around to vacuuming my room and making sure my Animal Crossing island hadn’t gone to complete chaos. Amongst these activities, I decided that I was also going to watch the entire Star Wars saga. I had gone a full two decades of life without watching a single Star Wars movie, and I felt like I was missing out. I figured it couldn’t be that bad. After all, this is the fifth highest-grossing media franchise of all time we’re talking about here. You need adoring fans to get that famous.
After vigorous research on the best order to watch the nine movies, I decided to stick with the classic order-of-release version. Despite George Lucas, the creator of the series himself, insisting that the truly authentic way of experiencing the story was to stick to numerical order, most Star Wars fans believe that the mismatched release date order to be the best.
As a complete newbie to the universe, I found myself incredibly confused as to why this was. I soon discovered that although the numerical order was chronologically linear, the release-date version was nostalgic. People want to experience what it would have been like back in the 70s when the movies were steadily being released in cinemas worldwide. The sense of nostalgia heavily contributes to the series being so well-loved. Most of the franchise’s fan base grew up watching these movies and looking forward to the new releases year after year.
Nostalgia is an incredibly powerful thing; it seems to be why most of our beloved stories stick with us throughout our entire life. According to this article from The New York Times written by John Tierney, wistful thinking of the past can actually help us “become more optimistic and inspired about the future”. The entire experience of Star Wars revolves around simultaneously remembering the past while looking ahead to the future. You will often hear fans rave about the original Skywalker trilogy while also anxiously keeping tabs on when the newest episode will be released. Shared love towards the entire series is what binds each fan together and allows for the possibility of future Star Wars installments.
When I realized this, I decided that this was a community I wanted to be a part of. This was a world I wanted to explore, a universe I wanted to learn more about. With these newfound high expectations, I curled up onto my couch with a cup of hot chocolate and a plate of cookies to finally watch Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope.
To say the absolute least, it did not disappoint. If you’ve been looking for a sign, or a reason to try out Star Wars, consider this it. Your browser history will soon be filled with real lightsaber amazon searches, and your heart bubbling with that feeling of past longing and future hope.