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The Force Is With Me Still

By Laura J. Bagby Sr. Producer - I recall the first time I was privileged to join the throng that packed out the sticky-floored movie house when Star Wars™ blasted onto the screen in 1977. I was nearing 7 at the time, impressionable, and totally enthralled.

Playtime at home and on the playground became less about Barbies and more about becoming Princess Leia. And I was serious about it. I had the long hair and even tried to wear those ridiculous ear-buns she had. And I would have had the action figures and the replica Millenium Falcon, too, if my parents had been more easily swayed by my juvenile wish list. I guess it was just as well, though I wonder just how much I would have gotten for those items on E-Bay today.

Ah, well, at least my sister Melanie was more accommodating. While Mel attempted to get me to write plays and stories, I was determined to get her to play Luke Skywalker. Amazingly, she acquiesced so that I could live out the fantasy just one more time.

“Mel, you be Luke, and I will be Leia,” I would say in my bossy, three-years-younger voice. I liked reenacting those scenes when Leia got rescued from the grip of the Dark Side. And since I didn’t have any brothers around, my sister got stuck playing the boy.

It took me years to realize that who I should have been putting into the role of leading man was not the naïve Luke, but rather the swashbuckling, cynical, devil-may-care Han Solo. Who knew back then that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were related? All I knew was that blonde-haired guys were king in my book. I was too limited in taste and too immature for the challenges of a smart-alecky dark and handsome man like Han.

My Star Wars™ childhood had all but died out when I heard rumor that Lucas was going to be doing his next batch in the series. At first, I had mixed feelings. They were messing with my loyalties to the tried and true. It was like asking me to switch from KFC’s Original Recipe chicken to that Extra Crispy version, or to drink New Coke instead of Classic Coke. (Does anyone else remember that horrible time in soft drink history?) I will take the original, thank you.

So, the first time I saw all these new characters – no Carrie Fisher, no Harrison Ford – I felt initially betrayed and I didn’t much like what I saw. Eventually, I was able to embrace the film series in its entirety.

Yet, I have to be honest: I still prefer the first three films, making me true to my Gen. X roots. I still have a Star Wars™ movie poster on my office wall, the special edition poster from 1997 with Obi-Wan, Luke, Leia, and Han. When I need a little inspiration, I find myself looking over there and smiling. I know, I can be a sci-fi nerd.

And even still, I feel almost patriotic when I hear strains from the Star Wars™ soundtrack and that bug-zapping whir of clashing light sabers. Victory is assured!

Sometimes I can sense that the Force is with me. Is the Force with you?

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