I hadn’t even been thought of 37 years ago today; not even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes. In fact, my parents had just recently met through friends of friends; in three months, my father would propose to my mother. But they would go see Star Wars eventually and were (in hindsight, with much chagrin) Luke & Leia for Halloween that year (I found photographic evidence of this when I was a kid in Indiana – I am still hunting down that picture).
I would be born at the very end of 1980, after Empire came out.
In 1983, when Jedi premiered, I would be two and my sister would be one. We would not have been interested even if we had been to see the third installment of the trilogy.
It would take me (personally) 31 more years to discover the universe that so many were enchanted with before I was even born. Of course, I was exposed to and enjoyed the original trilogy on VHS and saw the prequels when they came out – I was a passing fan because who in all the annals of nerddom was not, when it came to Star Wars? I was that child when young; I loved the Ewoks and the droids because they were cute and funny and I could relate. I always liked Star Wars. Passion came later.
It came in 2011. Engaged and teaching my first elementary class of my professional career, my husband-to-be asked if I wanted to play Star Wars: The Old Republic with him. I’d refused World of Warcraft on several occasions before because I didn’t care for the art style, but something in the cinematic previews of SWTOR caught my fancy. So we played, together. We played and played. And I asked to see the original trilogy again (pre-special edition). And then I asked to watch through all the prequels. Now we watch every Christmas; it’s our tradition.
And I started reading. I devoured the Old Republic books, limited as they were. I moved on to the post-trilogy EU and read and read and read and read – I’m still reading. I’m still playing.
In 2012, fiance and I got married. Han and Leia were our wedding cake toppers. Nick gifted his groomsmen with Star Wars themed cuff links. And in lieu of a garter, I sported a blue temporary tattoo of the Jedi Order symbol on my upper thigh.
In 2013, I made a costume based on my Jedi Consular from SWTOR and wore it to Costume Con were I met Dragon Dronet, the Darth Malgus.
In 2014, husband and I watched all of the Clone Wars series. I celebrated May the 4th with all the gusto I could at Starfest, where I got to hear the words of tie-in authors John Jackson Miller and Kevin J. Anderson. I shook hands with Billy Dee Williams. I stalk the internet daily for news of Episode VII.
I also got my first (and probably only) real tattoo – the Jedi Order symbol, of course – on my shoulder in 2014.
I am still new to a longstanding fandom. I imagine I must feel every day the way the children and teens and 20-somethings of the 70s & 80s felt when Star Wars was new. I bring my passion for Star Wars into my classroom. I bring my love for it into my home in subtle yet literal ways. I celebrate, because it is something to be celebrated.
I’m new, but welcomed into the community with open arms. I’m welcomed as a female presence in a genre still hungry for women’s influence. I’m welcomed as new blood.
So as late to this party as I am, I’ve still been welcomed, a welcome 37 years in the making – and still being made for this and future generations.
Welcome to a long time ago, a galaxy far, far away.