'And She Never Sets for Stun'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

That’s my favorite description of Princess Leia in this compilation showing how badass she is:

Along those lines, a reader describes how Alan’s note “resonated with me”:

I first saw the movie when it was re-released in 1979, for my sixth birthday. My parents can’t say where I learned about it—they were not the sci-fi movie types—but they do recall me asking to see it for my birthday. I can remember with crystal clarity seeing the words scroll on the screen, and being transfixed by the adventure that unfolded.

As an adult, I can look back and see my life bifurcating at that point: before Star Wars and after Star Wars. It sounds hyperbolic, but much of who I am and what I like can probably be traced back to that first viewing. Before Star Wars, I was a typical six-year-old girl who liked Strawberry Shortcake and puppies. After Star Wars, I wore my hair in side buns and wanted a blaster just like the one Han Solo carried. Every stick became a lightsaber I wielded like Luke, sure that if I just practiced and wished hard enough, I too could learn to use the Force.  

I am not a fan who has outfits and dresses up, with stockpiles of in the box toys. I have a few new toys now as an adult, but those are replacements, a way to recapture parts of my childhood in some small way. After seeing Star Wars, I begged my parents for an R2-D2 radio controlled toy and got it that Christmas. I played with it constantly, and I have fond memories of harassing my then toddler-aged brother with it. To this day, I feel anger that my mom sold R2 in a garage sale when I was away at college. I have now replaced it with the new BB-8 toy, and I harass my dog with it. It’s fun, and it brings back a lot of great memories ... but it's not the same.

I saw the prequels like everyone else, and I was excited for them. But I knew going in what the story was to some extent, where it was leading. With The Force Awakens, there is a great sense of not knowing, and that, more than anything else, is what excites me.

I will be at an early showing tonight, and already have plans to see it again this weekend. No matter how good or bad The Force Awakens is, I will enjoy it. Thirty-six years later, I get to sit in a darkened theater, watch the scroll of words on a black star field, and see an adventure unfold. Maybe I can capture a small spark of the feelings I had back then.

Thanks for reminding me of everything Star Wars means to me.