Star Wars: A New Hope at 35
by Joshua Jordan
Star Wars means a lot to me, it is my inspiration and my consistent passion. But I can’t help but feel a little jealous of fans who can remember the first time they saw Star Wars. See, I was born in the mid-80’s during what some fans call “The Dark Times”. This was a period of Star Wars history where there were no movies on the horizon, in fact there wasn’t really anything until the early 90’s. And anything that did happen in those “Dark Times” I was too young to remember. For a time the original Star Wars trilogy was all that I had.
While I may not remember the first time I ever saw Star Wars I do remember the first version that I saw. I don’t know exactly why my father decided to do this but somewhere along the way he wanted to share with my brothers and I all the movies that he loved. Yet instead of going out and buying them he decided to just buy a bunch of blank VHS tapes and record them anytime they played on television. So for many years the only way I watched Star Wars was on broadcast television. While I am glad my father did this because it introduced me to Star Wars and many other films, there were some flaws. First, because it was recorded off of television, I had to fast forward through the commercials. Second, the quality wasn’t great. Third, and most importantly, because it was the television broadcast some scenes were cut in order to make its time slot. This means that there were many scenes in each movie that I didn’t even know existed until I saw them on VHS years later. When I finally saw the Star Wars trilogy it was like seeing them again for the first time.
As I grew up and started watching more movies in the theater, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have seen Star Wars on the big screen. Then in 1997 they released the movies in theaters again as the Special Editions and this was my chance to finally see Star Wars the way it was meant to be seen. Unfortunately for middle school aged me, my grades were badly slipping and I was forbidden by my parents to see them until my grades improved. Unfortunately, I missed out entirely on seeing the original Star Wars trilogy on the big screen because my report card wasn’t released until the films had left the theaters. While it did motivate me to improve my grades I had missed my chance and from that time forward I vowed never to miss an opportunity again. Starting with The Phantom Menace going forward I have never missed another Star Wars movie in the theater since.
Fast forward to present day, I got the opportunity that I’ve always wanted as I was invited to see a special screening of Star Wars: A New Hope. I was so excited as I walked into the theater with my lightsaber in hand. As I sat down and talked to other people I soon realized that I wasn’t alone. Many had never seen A New Hope on the big screen, and in fact some had never seen a Star Wars movie. So when the lights went down and the movie started, a great feeling of excitement overcame me as I was about to experience this with a big audience.
Seeing A New Hope on the big screen was very similar to my experience of going from the television broadcast version of Star Wars to the theatrical version on VHS, it was like seeing the movie again for the first time. The movie didn’t look over 40 years old. The colors popped and you can feel the sound in your bones anytime the ships flew through space. I noticed details that I never saw before like the giant praying mantis at the Mos Eisley Cantina. I knew it was there from behind-the-scenes pictures I saw in magazines or documentaries but seeing it there in the movie was really cool. Another part of making this event even better was seeing the movie with an audience. It was so interesting hearing everyone react. Applauding when characters appeared for the first time. Cheering when something heroic happened. Laughing at comedic moments. It was a great time!!!
At the end of the night I left the theater with a big smile on my face feeling like a kid again. I also gained an even greater appreciation for the movie that essentially started it all. It also makes me want to see The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi on the big screen, especially Empire since it’s my favorite movie. My only regret is not being able to share this moment with my father who passed away in 2004. It was because of my father’s VHS tapes and his passion for Star Wars that helped me become the fan I am. It was this that inspired me to become the artist and storyteller that I am today.
About Joshua Jordan
My name is Joshua Jordan I currently work as a Cast Member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World and when I am not working there I am an Artist and Comic Book Creator. If you’d like to check out my work you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ubernerd527. Did you like this article and would like to read more? Then please go to thearcadearchives.com where I have written others like it. Not to mention that I am also part of a few podcasts on the site as well. You can also check out information about my original comic book, The Blue Flame Legends at facebook.com/theblueflamelegends or purchase a copy at indyplanet.us. Thank you to Skywalking Through Neverland for allowing me to write this article and thank you for reading it. May The Force be with you.