A collection of musings, articles and news about romance fiction.

May The Force Be With You – guest post by Paula Roe

Hey, everyone! Did you know it’s been 35 years since the very first Star Wars zapped into our cinemas? THIRTY-FIVE YEARS! Yep, good ol’ 1977. The reason I’m telling you this (and no, it’s not to make you feel old :wink:) it’s because this year Lucasfilms are issuing all six movies as Blu-ray, plus rolling them out in chronological order in 3D, starting with the Phantom Menace this month. A money grab? Possibly. But as a huuuuge fan from way back (yeah, not too way back. Oh, hang on, I did see the original three times at the cinema :-S ) I am going to be front and centre for every one, up to the very last – Return of the Jedi – in 2015.

Now, for those of you too young, too sheltered or just plain uninterested (what the…?!) Star Wars not only launched the career of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher (let’s not mention poor Mark Hamill, who nonetheless did pretty well as a cameo Simpsons character), but also the cinematic genius of George Lucas.

I am a purist – don’t care too much for the prequels (even though I queued for hours for The Phantom Menace tickets for its first Australian midnight screening), absolutely LOVE the original three (in order: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). It includes the best and biggest themes of popular storytelling – action, humour, romance, a hero, an evil villain, an anti-hero (played by Harrison Ford at his yummiest. 😀 ). And lightsabers.

Princess Leia was the first time I’d seen a take-charge heroine on the big screen.  Before Buffy was even a twinkle in Joss Whedon’s eye,  Leia was shooting at storm troopers, blasting holes in the Death Star and giving sass to bounty hunters.  She was gorgeous, feisty and got things done. AND she was a princess!

Star Wars also gave rise to one of the most recognisable theme songs ever, two most-often repeated lines in cinema (“looks like we’ve got company” and “I got a bad feeling about this.”), fan fiction, parodies and decades of pop culture references (including “may the Force be with you” and “I am your father”.)  It spawned a very lucrative merchandising offshoot (books, action figures, apparel and the most brilliant Lego sets EVER). The original trilogy have been listed in stacks of ‘best movies ever’ lists and the special effects were years ahead of their time. Not to mention Princess Leia in her metal slave bikini that launched heaven knows how many boy’s fantasies!

After Star Wars was released in 1977, I had to wait three more years for The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.  But hey, it was worth the wait because it had more sexy Han Solo, plus a charming Lando Calrissian, played by a devilishly charming Billy Dee Williams.  Empire also was my first encounter with the cliff hanger (poor Han trapped in carbonite) and I had to wait ANOTHER THREE YEARS to see Return of the Jedi  in 1983! (I will never forgive you for that,  George Lucas.  Also, Jar Jar Binks).  Of course, at that time I was fourteen, full of rampant teenage girl hormones, so of course  I had a serious lust for Han Solo.  EVERYONE had a lust for Han Solo, who is pretty much the ultimate bad boy: “Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid.”  (You can see more of  Han Solo’s awesome quotes here.)   Pretty sure I’m not spoiling anything by telling you Leia and Han fall for each other 😀  My heart still goes pitty-pat even now, watching that gorgeous romantic scene between him and Leia when he tells her “there aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.” ::sigh:::

So just in case your Star Wars trivia is lacking, here’s a list of my best:

  • George Lucas nearly didn’t get the funding to make the first movie, even after his success with American Graffiti.
  • He held onto the merchandising rights, instead of giving them to the studio (because the studio believed it’d flop anyway).  Huh.  Wish I’d kept that cinema promo booklet instead of cutting it up for a school project – would be worth hundreds today 😦
  • When they were filming Return of the Jedi, it was code named “Blue Harvest” so they didn’t have rabid fans invading the set on location. They even had Blue Harvest promo caps and t-shirts made.  And yes, that’s the title of the Family Guy parody.
  • The scenes on the desert planet Tatooine were actually filmed in Tunisia
  • The Return of the Jedi was originally called “Revenge of the Jedi”, and there were even promo stickers and letterhead made (which are now worth lots of money). But George Lucas thought ‘revenge’ did not accurately reflect the Jedi way, so he changed it
  • People actually list “Jedi” as their religion preference on census forms 😯

So now it’s your turn. Did you see Star Wars at the cinema? What’s your most memorable scene? Or have you not witnessed the glory yet? (in which case, what are you doing reading this blog??  Go and rent them!  You can also read all about the phenomena and more trivia on Wikipedia)

When Paula’s not obsessing about Star Wars (and building the most awesome Lego sets to go with it), she writes books.  Her latest, Bed of Lies,  is out in the States this month, also available on e-book.  Check her website for details.

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10 responses

  1. Star Wars-OMG! A friend insisted I go to this movie called “Star Wars”. Said I would love it. Well not a big Sci-Fi fans, yeah whatever. Fell in love with the movie. Took my two daughters eleven times. They loved. When the second one can out, I took them out of school to see the first showing (not at midnight, more like two in the afternoon). Saw that one more times than I can count. (Remember this was back when there was no cable, no VCRs, no DVDs.) I think the third one came out when they were out of high school. But we met and went to see the conclusion of the trilogy. Sad. Years later it came out on tape. Bought the set, watched it several times on cold, snowy afternoons. By this time I had grandchildren. We would have a Star Wars day, junk food, lying around. Instant fans. Then, behold the beginning of Star Wars. Took them to all three movies. So for me Star Wars has been a generation chain, adding links from child, to grandchild to who knows. I now have the whole six episodes on DVD and we still have Star Wars marathons.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

    • Ahh, I think I luv you, Jordyn! LOL

      February 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

  2. One (of many) of my favorite scenes:

    Han Solo: Look, Your Worshipfulness, let’s get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me.
    Princess Leia: It’s a wonder you’re still alive.
    [Pushing past Chewbacca]
    Princess Leia: Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?
    Han Solo: No reward is worth this.

    One of my all-time favorite movies. Han was the best alpha hero. EVER. And I loved Princess Leia’s Kickassitude! *sniff* Now I’m feeling all sentimental.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

  3. Love that scene, Aimee! All my friends wanted to be Princess Leia 🙂

    Another line I love:
    Leia: “I’d rather kiss a Wookie!”
    Han: “I can arrange that!”

    So many good lines…

    February 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

  4. Kylie Griffin

    I was 6yo when I saw Star Wars (at the Coffs Harbour drive-in) and I just fell in LOVE with everything about the series as it unfolded over the next several years. I wanted to be an X-Wing fighter pilot, a Jedi apprentice, then a smuggler like Han Solo, I used the Force at school and drove my friends nuts, I cut lengths of polypipe up to make the light sabre sound (and had my backside tanned by dad for ruining his irrigation piping), I collected/traded/bought every trading card I could (and still have that collection in my cupboard now).

    Most memorable scene – too many, but from Star Wars it would be Luke sitting outside his uncles house staring up at the stars and wishing he could be anywhere but there, not knowing how soon his wish would come true. In Empire it’d have to be the cliff hanger of an ending with Han Solo carted off in carbonite. And in Jedi, the scene right at the end in the Ewok village when all of Luke’s mentors/family appear as apparitions on the tree-walkway.

    George Lucas inspired my first piece of fan fiction at the tender age of 12 and began my passion for writing.

    I owe a lot to him and Star Wars – can’t think of a better addiction to have and I hope to pass this onto my new neice/nephew (who’s sure next week!) 🙂

    Great post, Paula, may the force be with you! 😀

    February 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm

  5. I agree, Kylie, Star Wars was one of the first ‘epic’ movies I saw and the wonderful storytelling in it inspired me so much. (BTW I still have a promotional poster of Luke and Leia about to swing away and escape Jabba’s Skiff on Tatooine 🙂 My 11yo is already obsessed with the movies, the Clone Wars, the books, the Lego… it’s pretty awesome LOL

    February 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  6. GREAT movie, GREAT characters, GREAT lines! I could watch the original three any time. The first three…well, let me just say that after much discussion we just don’t think we could take having Jar Jar Binks in 3D right in your face. A good reminder of what can create GREAT storytelling! Thanks, Paula! 🙂

    February 8, 2012 at 2:31 am

    • Hi Kitty! We just did a marathon and watched the original three over two nights 🙂 I reckon George should’ve left it at that, frankly, because I really couldn’t buy Anekin going from Jedi to Sith, despite the crap that had happened to him. He just wasn’t a strong enough character for me!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:14 am

  7. Natasha D

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I went to the movies to see star wars. I had the sound track on vinyl, the VCR’s as soon as they were released. My kids had no hope of avoiding it. Princess Leia and Han Solo bedspreads (DJ had no choice for his) Toys, posters, Lego etc. My husband used so say that he could put up with just about anything but if I ever called him Han at an inapropriate moment he would rethink our marriage. We had Star Wars marathons (hehehe I still do but now its with my grandies) The three originals are still the best and no one will ever out sass Princess Leia and Han Solo. When you think about it – they are the most remembered characters of Star Wars – it HAS to be the romance!!!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

    • Hi Natasha! I reckon some of the best movies (that aren’t marketed as romance) have a fabulous romance running through them – National Treasure, Star Wars, Wayne’s World (yeah, love that movie), Harry Potter… you just can’t get away from the pull of a great romance 🙂

      February 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

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