In the months and weeks leading up to the release of The Force Awakens, the excitement on social media (where I spend waaaaay too much time) was palpable. In fact, everywhere you looked in stores, on television, and around the water cooler, everyone was talking about Star Wars. Well, except for one place: my house.
You see, my beautiful wife, a child of the ’80s, had never seen Star Wars—not a single film. It was a tumultuous era in her home, and what I took for granted, like clutching my father’s arm as my young tomboy-self absorbed Return of the Jedi like a sponge, were things that she wasn’t able to experience. What she knows about the films she picked up from the endless marketing campaigns of our youth. When I asked her what she knew of Star Wars, she replied, “There’s that gold guy! What’s his name, 3 Scorpio?” Yes, 3 Scorpio.
In all fairness, I’m sure my wife is not the only person on the planet who hasn’t experienced Star Wars. There’s no shame in it. I’m just a person who loved Star Wars and has so much of their childhood wrapped up in these stories and characters. I spent Michigan winters playing with my Star Wars figures, pretending my snowy deck was the frozen wasteland of Hoth. Leia was my everything. My prized possession was a model of a 74-Z Speeder bike that I put together with my own glue-covered hands. Barbie rode the hell out of that speeder bike. Screw nights in shining armor; I was searching for my very own Han Solo. I finally found her, and I married her. The thing is, she has no idea that I’m her very own Princess Leia.
When I told my wife about my desire to see The Force Awakens on Christmas Eve, she simply shrugged and kept drinking her coffee (which is such a Han thing to do). Naturally, I took this to mean that I was about to lead her to the dark side—er, I mean the light side! Vadarsayswhat? Anyway, on the car ride to the theatre, I gave her a brief synopsis of the Jedi universe. Yoda (“the green dude?”), Jabba (“that frog monster”), Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Vader, siths, droids and the like. The only one who didn’t need an introduction was Chewbacca. “I like that guy,” she told me with a smile.
It was hard not to be excited at the movie, because the entire audience was pumped. Even my wife began to catch the spirit. The film had so much heart, and as I was getting drunk on nostalgia as Rey took control of the Millennium Falcon, I looked over to see my wife’s smiling face. I realized right then that this was her Star Wars. This was her introduction to a lifelong love affair. Rey was her Luke, a heroine to put your heart behind. My Han Solo was falling in love with the Force. From time to time, she’d tap me on the shoulder and whisper, “Who is that” when the audience cheered for a familiar face. “That’s Admiral Akbar. He’s like this badass giant squid,” I responded. She’d smile, and nod her head, the resolute acceptance of a convert.
In the car on the way back home, she was a flurry of excitement, asking questions and talking about her favorite characters. She’s a droid woman, I’ve learned. BB-8 is her new boo, but I don’t mind playing second fiddle to it for now. My wife and I now get to share a love of Star Wars together, which is a hell of a gift. We plan to watch Episodes IV, V and VI soon together, so she can experience the lore for herself. She knows now that it’s not a frog monster or a 3 Scorpio, but I love the innocence and glee with which she gets to absorb this wonderful tale. That’s what I wish for everyone.
Dana Piccoli is a pop culture critic and entertainment writer who lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. She’s the former Staff Editor of AfterEllen, and a current contributor to the site. She’s also written for Curve Magazine, Go Magazine, PopWrapped, and Gaygamer.net. She’s currently writing a lesbian romance novel she’s hoping you will read one day soon. You can follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.
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