Is This the One With Ewoks?: Watching the Original Star Wars Trilogy with Stephanie
Following the news of Disney purchasing LucasFilm, and by extension, Star Wars, I wanted to revisit the original trilogy. Better still, Stephanie also expressed interest, as she had not watched the series since her youth.
I am a big Star Wars fan, and Stephanie is a big Star Trek fan, specifically The Next Generation (she owns the entire series on DVD). While I enjoy Star Trek as well, Star Wars was my first geek love.
I was able to track down the out-of-print DVD set which included the original theatrical versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi—that’s right, no extra CGI crap. The transfer isn’t the best, as I have heard it is just a straight dump of the LaserDisc copy, but it is better than my VHS copies. Plus, each of the films is in widescreen (which after years of watching fullscreen VHS copies is like watching a totally different film¹).
The best part? The set only cost me $30 at a local used media store. This set fetches $100 to $200+ online.
We originally planned to watch the Star Wars trilogy as a marathon, but that just didn’t happen. So, over the course of a few weeks, we watched the films when we could, and I took notes of Stephanie’s observations (and my own).
Stephanie said she was looking forward to re-watching Star Wars and actually paying attention.
“You didn’t the first time?” I said.
“I was only into the furry things and special effects,” she said, which also more or less described our relationship.
Stephanie proceeded to read the opening prologue crawl aloud, using her best dramatic voice. Much to my enjoyment, she kept this tradition going for the next two films.
Then: “Is this the one with Jawas?”
“What about Ewoks?”
“That’s Return of the Jedi.”
“Which one is that? The next one?” she asked.
“No, the third.”
She rolled her eyes, “You mean I have to get through two whole movies before the Ewoks?”
After Darth Vader made his iconic first appearance on the rebel ship, Stephanie: “Why would Vader even go on the ship? Isn’t he too high up for that?”
“You think Darth Vader is too high up in command to bother going aboard a captured ship?” I asked.
“Well, why would he? He’s the boss right? Why risk it?”
“He’s the villain. You have to introduce him,” I explained. “His entrance here is very important. His black uniform contrasts with the white surroundings and the white stormtroopers on either side, and this–”
While C-3PO and R2-D2 were lost in the desert on Tatooine, and bickering, Stephanie chuckled and said, “Aw, that’s like you and me when we get lost. Guess which one you are.”
“…C-3PO?” I said with a groan. She nodded.
On the subject of the Jawa sandcrawler, Stephanie: “So wait, they just drive around the planet, looking for broken robots?”
“They have a lot of robots. Is the desert just filled with broken robots?”
“Well, maybe the sandcrawler is a spaceship too and they go to other planets?” I suggested.
After Jek Porkins went down, I said, “So long, Jek Porkins.”
Stephanie grabbed my arm, “WHAT?! The fat guy was named Porkins?!”
The Empire Strikes Back
As the rebels expressed concern for ‘Commander’ Skywalker failing to return, Stephanie: “How is Luke leading anything? He’s not a leader. He’s just a good shot.”
Her assessment of the Imperial walkers: “What are those?”
I recalled the entry from my Star Wars guidebook: “All Terrain Armored Transports.”
“OK. Those are cool.”
Later, as Imperial troops attacked the rebel base: “Is this the one with Ewoks?”
“No, that’s the next one. This one has Yoda.”
“Ugh. What’s this one have besides Yoda? The sand pit thing?”
“Nope. That’s Return of the Jedi too.”
And as Luke left for the Dagobah system: “Wait, the Dagobah system? Is there more than one planet?”
“How would Luke know which planet to go to?” she asked.
“I think the system is just named after the planet, Dagobah.”
“Yeah, but how would he know it was the right planet?”
“Because Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost said so.”
She responded with her best ‘That’s Not Good Enough’ stare.
When Chewie helps Han Solo rest after being tortured, Stephanie: “I bet Wookiee hugs are great. Can you imagine if we had a pet Wookiee? And what if it wanted to sleep in the bed, like Nigel?” she asked.
“…At the very least, we would need a bigger bed,” I said.
Return of the Jedi
Me: “Guess what?”
Me: “This is the one with Ewoks.”
Stephanie: ::several minutes of squeeing and clapping::
Then:“Wait, go back, I missed the crawl.”
Upon seeing a few Star Destroyers, Stephanie: “What is that, anyway?”
Me: “A Star Destroyer.”
Stephanie: “Can it really do that?”
Stephanie: “Can it destroy a star?”
Me: “I think it is just a name. A throwback to naval stuff.”
Stephanie: ::a sigh:: “You don’t have a lot of answers, and I have a lot of Star Wars questions.”
As Luke visits Yoda for the last time, Stephanie asked, “What is Yoda, anyway?”
“…He’s…he’s…just, Yoda,” I said. “That’s like asking ‘what are Bert and Ernie’?”
She shook her head at that answer, “Bert and Ernie are people.”
When Wicket appeared on-screen, Stephanie proceeded to laugh and squee for five minutes straight. Maybe six.
When the fish headed Admiral Ackbar came on-screen, Stephanie: “What is that?”
“A Mon Calamari,” I said.
“…What? Calamari? Are you serious? Who thought that was OK?”
I shrugged, “It was the ’80s.”
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¹ Specifically, Empire Strikes Back’s framing of shots and the Jabba’s Palace scene in Return of the Jedi.