Today is a very special day in the geek world. And if you're not in the geek world you might still be awed by this. Today is the thirtieth anniversary of one of my all-time favorite movies: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (dun dun DUN!)
It's a very public fact that I am a Star Wars geek. I don't claim to be the biggest one in the whole world or anything, but it is the first fandom in which I became actively involved and still the one that I have identified with for the majority of my life. Anyone who has been to my apartment has met Luke, the life-size cutout of Luke Skywalker that my friends gave me for Christmas almost six years ago (I still credit him as the reason I was able to save the majority of my things in that flash flood last year). Then there is my Star Wars EU collection. Not huge, but decent sized when you consider that I bought all of these while in high school in addition to reading everything the library had. And, of course, you can't forget my Rebel Alliance tattoo. It brands me forever as a Star Wars geek (and Wedge Antilles fan).
I can still remember the first time I saw Empire (actually, I remember the first time I saw each of the films). It was the last of the three films that my parents showed me and my sister. They did that thing that people who aren't giant fans sometimes do (and the same thing they did with Indiana Jones now that I think about it), they showed us Return of the Jedi first. I know! So when I finally saw Empire, I already knew that Vader was Luke's father, Leia was the "other" hope, and Han survives that terrifying carbonite. But it was still my favorite of all three movies. This might be connected a bit to the fact that my mom didn't like the film, but only a little. Mostly my love of Empire comes from two major areas.
First, Boba Fett.
Who doesn't love the bounty-hunter in the Mandalorian armor? I'm one of those people who got really upset when they watched Attack of the Clones and they made Boba a clone of Jango. It just felt like a cop out (and still does). But it makes sense. It was a way for them to bring back the most bad-ass character to be created in the Star Wars universe. You might say "But he died because he fell into the Sarlaac." And you would be so wrong. Well, as long as you subscribe to the EU as credible accounts beyond the films, which I do. In the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy (which I own of course), Boba escapes and goes on to have more epic adventures. He also turns up pre-Episode IV in the Han Solo Trilogy (my all time favorite Star Wars storyline, also on my book shelf) in a pretty awesome way, but I'll leave that for another time. Now I haven't read the new books that are causing all of the current EU controversy, but they are on my list. If only because it is all about Mandalor and that is totally my cup of tea.
The other reason I fell in love with Empire is a little more abstract. If you're like me, you spent hours every day pretending you lived in the Star Wars universe and were off on adventures. Me, I wanted to be a smuggler. I used to imagine Han Solo landing in the back yard and taking me off on adventures. I'd get an edgy hair cut, tattoos, and be an expert with a blaster (short skirt with a tie-down strap for my holster? You'd bet I'd be pretty amazing). This all ties back to Empire how? Because at the end of the film it is not a happy ending. At the end of Empire there are still things to do, still people to rescue, and a pretty big battle yet to be fought. Succinctly, I love Empire because at the end it's still not over. There are still adventures yet to be experienced. At the end of Episodes IV and VI, you could reasonably expect the story to be over. That always made me sad because it meant there was no room for me to swoop in and help save the day. With Empire that is still a possibility.
So how am I celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest films ever? I'm wearing my Boba Fett tshirt of course!