Star Wars: The Force Awakens…and so Do My Memories

Conversations With My Son: Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer

I resisted the pull of The Dark Side, not watching the new Star Wars teaser trailer online. I was determined we would see it on the big screen first, so Friday afternoon we went as a family to the one theater in our area showing the 88 second preview before all its films. We were nearing the tail end of Black Friday, so the throngs were out in full, clogging the freeway, the parking garage, the mall — all to near capacity.

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I’d spent some time the day before talking to my 5-year-old about the new movie and the Star Wars canon in general. It was a confusing and disheartening conversation…

“Buddy, you know how they show commercials for new movies before a regular movie? Well, we’re going to go see the commercial for a new Star Wars movie.”

“WHAT. THE. HECK?!” He’s getting great at dramatic pauses. “There’s a new Star Wars movie?! Is this Star Wars 4?”

“No, this one is number seven.”

“Seven?” A puzzled look.

“Yeah. It’s like a book, with chapters. Star Wars is chapter 4, Empire is chapter 5, Return of the Jedi is chapter 6. There are three other movies we still need to show you. Chapters 1, 2 and 3.”

More bewilderment. (I know buddy, it will never make sense.) “What are those movies called?”

“Uhh… Attack of the Clones… and Sith something, I think. Daddy doesn’t really remember.”

“Who is in the first movies?”

“Well, they’re about Anakin when he was a little boy…”


“…and how he grows up to be Darth Vader.”


“Uh, yeah, I thought you knew. But you know who Darth Vader is the father of, right?”


Whew. “Yeah, that’s right. And the first three movies also have General Grievous and Jango Fett and Mace Windu in them…” He knows all these from the Clone Wars cartoons.

“And Kit Fisto?”

Ugh. Worst Jedi name ever. “Yeah, I think so.”

I pause, tentative before my next statement… “They also have Jar Jar Binks in them.”

“AWESOME! He’s my favorite Star Wars character EVER!!”

. . .

Damn you, George Lucas. DAMN. YOU.

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Help me, J.J.* Abrams, you’re my only hope.

After sitting though the regular, unimportant previews of films I never want to see, The Force Awakens trailer finally began. I was tense. And it was quick. And it lived up to my expectations, in that it built them up even greater for the actual film.

The Dark Side…

I’m pretty sure both Jon and I exclaimed — in unison — when they showed the new, snazzy lightsaber, “NO. WAY.” I think I know where he gets the dramatic pauses.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Lightsaber

…and The Light.

As the voiceover growled “…and the light,” the Star Wars theme blared triumphantly, the Millennium Falcon roaring onto the screen… instant goose bumps. I was immediately transported to 1977, sitting beside my younger brother in a newfangled multiplex in Georgia, watching the Falcon jump into hyperspace for the first time. Wide-eyed and covered in goose bumps.

Star Wars A New Hope Millennium Falcon hyperspace Star Wars The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon Tie Fighter

And then I flashed-forward to next December, sitting next to my then-6-year-old, he experiencing his first Star Wars film on the big screen, me reliving mine. World-rattling battles, jumps into hyperspace, sinister villains and heroic adventurers, galaxies far, far away and loads of goosebumps. Fatherhood at its epic best.

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*My son’s nickname is JJ. Don’t tell me that’s not destiny.

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