Friday, May 25, 2018

the real Star Wars Day

"Star Wars": US release date = May 25, 1977
"The Empire Strikes Back": US release date = May 21, 1980
"Return of the Jedi": US release date = May 25, 1983

The old Star Wars movies, now called "the original trilogy," came out during a time that spanned my childhood from early elementary school (1977) to early high school (1983). That's a huge chunk of my youth, so of course it's only natural that I would have felt the influence of this trilogy very deeply. Dad used to worry about my Darth Vader obsession.

As you see above, two out of three of the original movies came out on May 25, which for me has always been the real Star Wars Day. This may be why it feels so utterly strange to be seeing the movies in the newest trilogy in December. To me, these have never felt like Christmas movies, or to put it another way: Christmas has never felt like the right time to release a Star Wars movie. I've long associated these movies with the end of the school year. Arriving right around Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer-movie season, these movies usually signaled that the biggest vacation of the year was just around the corner, and summer would be spent re-watching these films. I was at the end of the second grade when the 1977 movie came out; I was finishing up fifth grade when the 1980 movie came out; I was about to make the leap into high school when the 1983 movie came out. Nowadays, having the movies come out close to Christmas break feels like a reduction in scope and significance. What is Christmas break, after all, but a week-long reprieve from the grind that is school?

But that's just me, I guess. As I continue my slow descent into crotchety decrepitude, more and more things feel wrong or out of place to me. Maybe that's only natural: I'm old enough to be misremembering and mythologizing aspects of my childhood; insisting that May 25 is the real Star Wars Day is merely part of that grumpy descent.

That said, May the Force—not the lispy Fourth—be with you. Happy May 25th.

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