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Geek, Cars, and Gadgets

Still Loving “Star Wars” 40 Years Later

It’s almost impossible to think that Star Wars turns 40 today. If the franchise were a person it would get a party with black balloons emblazoned with cheery slogans like “Over the Hill,” but Star Wars is as vital and alive today as it was back in 1977.

Adults who first saw it on the big screen on May 25, 1977 talk about how it was a whole new kind of movie. It was sci-fi that wasn’t cheesy. Sure, it was fun and the one-liners were great, but the special effects were incredible and it made you feel like you really were in a galaxy far, far away.

Kids saw it differently. I was one of those kids and for me it was the only sci-fi I knew. There was nothing before because this came out when I was seven and there isn’t much in the way of movies other than animated stuff that’s suitable for a kid that little.

To me, and legions of other kids, it was a world that was fascinating and scary and only barely out of reach. It felt as though, given a little time, the braniacs at NASA could build ships like the Millennium Falcon and X-Wings and droids like R2-D2 and C-3PO.

We wanted that world to be real.

Merchandising made that happen for us in a big way with everything from toys to action figures to bedding to curtains. Every kid I knew had a room full of Star Wars stuff and we all spent hours battling the forces of the Empire on our bedroom floors. You could imagine you were Princess Leia or maybe Luke Skywalker, saving the galaxy before lunch.

We all grow up and have to put those toys aside, but we didn’t quite follow those rules. We held onto those toys in battered cardboard boxes in the backs of closets and our parents’ attics.

And then it all came back.

We got the prequels, love them or hate them, and animated shows and a whole new crop of incredible merchandise. And our kids got this stuff, too. We could once again wage epic battles on the bedroom floor, but this time it was in our kids’ rooms.

There’s more to look forward to in the Star Wars universe than we ever could have imagined back in 1977. Star Wars might be turning 40 today, and the kids that first watched it in theaters now have kids of their own, but the franchise is as fresh and new and exciting as ever.

Happy 40th birthday, Star Wars. May the Force be with you.

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