Fair warning, this post contains spoilers about the Star Wars franchise in general.
I am not one of those people who grew up on Star Wars. I never really had much interest in the franchise, and was always more of a Star Trek person. I made it to my 30s without ever having seen the original trilogy. I’ve gleaned a lot from pop culture, memes etc, and a lot of major moments in the franchise have been spoiled for me with very little context of how they fit into the overall story arc.
Recently I finished watching the Mandalorian with my husband David and sister-in-law Laura. I loved the series, so they decided it was finally time that I watch the original trilogy. Since this seems to be a relatively rare perspective, I will document my Star Wars journey. This first post is context for where I was before I started on this quest.
How I Finally Became a Fan
My first exposure to Star Wars was one of the prequels, which everyone seems to agree are terrible. I did grow up with the N64 Pod Racing game, which I flippin loved. As well as Gungan Frontier. In college I read the entirety of a delightful comic called Darths and Droids (which as I am writing this I realize now has been updated to include the NEW Star Wars movies and I will have to go read those).
At the time of writing this post, I’ve seen the first of the newest trilogy. It failed to capture me. I’ve had very little interest in seeing the other two. I’ve also steered clear of Solo, because I haven’t heard great things.
I have, however, seen Rogue One and the first two seasons of the Mandalorian. Rogue One was the first Star Wars movie that really got through to me and made me understand why people love this world and this story. Mandalorian is obviously a labor of love. It’s a striking and wonderful homage to a fantasy world that so many people are enamored by. It’s that love that finally made me a fan.
After finishing the Mandalorian, I was trying to place where Mandalorian was in the overall timeline of the Star Wars universe. In so doing, I told my husband David and sister-in-law Laura everything I knew about the Star Wars movies I hadn’t seen. Below is a synopsis of the knowledge that I had.
So there’s this Empire, they’re bad. Because… they take over planets and everyone under their rule always seems so sad and getting killed all the time for no reason. And then there’s the Federation? I think? They’re good. And the rebels. I think the Rebels and the Federation are the same thing. There’s Jedi who are like space wizards with light sabers. I thought you could only use a light saber if you were a Jedi, but that doesn’t seem to be the case? The Jedi are allied with the Federation. Mostly. Unless they go to the Darth side. Then they are allied with the Empire.
Some Jedi go to a desert planet to find Anikin Skywalker who is strong with the force, and a smart little dude who makes a robot. I think the planet is Tatooine? Anikin is a slave or something to a blue anteater alien, so they can’t take him away. So they bet his freedom on a Pod race. They use jedi mind powers to cheat? Or they don’t? Or they tried but blue alien is immune? Something. Anyway, pod racers was a great N64 game. They take Anikin away but cant train him because of his anger or something? But they decide to do it anyway. Then, uh, Jarjar? Something? Gungans? I think they get eaten by a big fish? They go to do… politics. There’s something about Padme being Anikin’s sister but he doesn’t know that so there’s incest love and stuff. Darth maul … exists. He’s a bad Jedi. An example of what NOT to do. Clone wars happen? Took me a long time to realize that the wars were being fought by clones (at least I think that’s the case?). I always thought it was wars over the ethicalness of clones, or that clones was just a colorful derogatory euphemism, or they were clones of other wars. Anyway, there were a lot of storm troopers, but they can’t shoot for shit. That’s a running joke among fans I know that. And those rolly brown droids. And.. AT-ATs? The tall things with legs. The Jedi…wiiin? Maybe? Uh. Probably not actually. Wait, no, it’s the Federation? And the Jedi are allied with the Federation? Anikin grows up and turns into a dick, kills a bunch of kids. Falls in lava and becomes Darth Vader. Somewhere in there he has a son named Luke.
At this point the federation is run by Darth Vader. Vader is mean and kills his subordinates for doing their jobs. The Jedi have to go save Leia or something? They get trapped in a trashcan. But then they escape. And they’re rescued by space pirates, Han Solo and Chewbaka on the Millenium Falcon. Except somehow they didn’t know Leia was a princess? I feel like that was a reveal but I don’t know why they would go to save her if they didn’t already know that. But then she’s like I’m a princess so they go do politics. They go to the planet Endor or something? There’s fuzzy Ewoks. Yoda is hanging out there. He’s smart. Then because of the politics they have to blow up the death star, which is a planet destroying weapon. They join up with the rebels. They’re in the death star and Luke and Darth Vader duke it out. There’s the famous moment: ‘Luke I am your father, Noooooo’. Then they get out of the death star. They get in spaceships and Jedi dude does powers and hits the Death Star in it’s vulnerable bits. It explodes and everyone’s happy. At some point in there Leia is Jabba’s slave. Someone has to live inside a horse to not die of cold. There’s Babba Fett, but I don’t know who that is, except that he’s the Mandolorian Fett’s father. General Akbar is an alien character that exists, but I don’t know his significance. R2D2 and that golden droid do stuff, but who cares. Someone gets frozen in carbonite.
In the new trilogy, uh, there’s a Jedi chick. She…fights… people? And then emo darth dude? They …thwart him? He turns good maybe? Droids are round now. The end.