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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

The first time I read those words on a movie screen was in the summer of 1977.

The concept of a summer blockbuster movie was new then, Jaws having paved the way just two years earlier.  The blockbuster of 1977 wouldn't be a horror film, though: science fiction. space opera, ruled the day.

I was 17 that summer, and my boyfriend --  an engineering student at a local college -- was an even bigger geek than I was.  Of course we saw Star Wars.  More than once, actually. Yes, we were very much repeat customers.

Yes, I saw it when it was just Star Wars, before it was rebranded as Episode IV: A New Hope.  I think the rebranding happened in 1981, when they re-released the first film after the success of  The Empire Strikes Back, which was labelled "Episode V".    George Lucas had a vision, but in 1977 who knew that the film would be so successful, that it would become part of the fabric of pop culture, that they'd make two sequels and three prequels, and revive the series 30 years later?

Last year saw the return of the Star Wars universe.  The Force Awakens introduced us to the next generation of heroes and villains, but also brought back the beloved characters from the original trilogy:  Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia.  Older, of course, but still part of the rebel alliance, still fighting the galactic empire.

And so I was looking forward to this year's movie, Rogue One.

Rogue One is set in the days immediately before the original movie, and involves the rebel alliance's efforts to steal the plans for the Death Star.

We bought our tickets in advance.  We'd see the movie on Tuesday, December 27. Of course we'd see it in IMAX 3D, the special effects would be spectacular.

And just hours before we saw the movie, we learned that Carrie Fisher had died.

Which made the ending of Rogue One a bit surreal....

Huge spoiler alert here.

Really huge.

Really, really huge.

As I said, the movie involves the rebels stealing the plans for the Death Star.  The plans that Leia later hides in R2D2 as she sends the droids to find Obi-wan Kenobi.

So there's a scene where Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) talks about "sending her to find the Jedi", and we all know who "she" is...

And the last scene in the movie ....Darth Vader is aboard a rebel ship, slashing the soldiers of the rebellion with his light saber...we see a figure, her back turned to the camera...she is dressed all in white, a hood over her of the soldiers hands her what the audience knows to be the stolen plans, and he asks her "what have they sent us?"

The camera moves to her face.  Through all the power of Industrial Light  & Magic, it is the face of Carrie Fisher as we knew her in 1977.

She utters a single word:  "Hope".

And the movie ends.

And the audience cried.


peppylady (Dora) said...

Can I guess you was born the same year as I, 1960.
Coffee is on

bookworm said...

Yes, you are right! I also saw the movie in the theater, back in 1977, in Wichita, Kansas, on a brutally hot summer day. We went there with a friend to escape the heat. No episode IV! I had forgotten. Alas, I haven't seen the last two movies, so your post was a tiny bit of a spoiler - but that's OK. And, I just came from a blog post where the writer was in the movies, with Rogue One just beginning, when her Apple phone displayed the news of Carrie Fisher's death. She quietly cried through a lot of the movie. I would have, too. Alana

songbird's crazy world said...

Dora, we are indeed the same age.

Alana, you are going to want to see the Force Awakens. Because you're going to want to see Episode VIII, Carrie had just finished filming for next year's movie when she got on the plane to come home.

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