What I Got From The Star Wars Divorce

As of right now I consider myself slap bang in the middle of the whole Star Wars fallout.  Yes, you remember all those years back, in 1997 (has it really been 16 years since this happened?). The year when the Special Editions sparked that whole “who shot first” argument – the first of many to come over the next decade as the incoming new trilogy charted the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vadar. Basically, after the dust settled I had a bit of a nagging itch that was dying to be scratched which I finally took care of a couple of years back and so, as of now, I consider myself fairly neutral on the subject of Star Wars.

When I was a child I loved it, I had a whole range of toys.  One Christmas I came down stairs to find 25 Star Wars figures, two small buggies (one from Empire that I don’t remember the name of (mini snow mobile that carried two standing figures) and Luke’s Land Speeder from Hope.) I also had a mid-sized ship, the X-Wing and then a big ship, The Millennium Falcon!  Not to mention all the other stuff I was so privileged to receive.  That was a Christmas to remember.  I have two older brothers, one who just missed the Star Wars boat, but another who was very much where I was.  He got the exact same as I did that year – but 25 different figures, two different buggies, a different mid-size ship (TIE fighter) and a different big ship (The AT-AT). Throw into the mix over the next couple of years all of the Jedi related toys that we would get and that the brother would get the Ewok village, the rebel transporter and the sodding Slave I and you have two very spoiled yet Star Wars loving kids.

Now, I was aged 1 when Star Wars hit cinemas.  I know I was taken to see it, but have no memory of it. But at least when Star Wars veterans scream “YOU WEREN’T THERE MAN!” I can actually say I was and I was probably foaming at the mouth throughout the film for longer periods of time than them. But I do slightly recall, in 1980, seeing Star Wars again at a double bill with Empire whilst on a trip to Blackpool. And then Jedi I have stronger memories of seeing at the cinema: largely because of two kids in front of me that were breaking the rules of conduct and wouldn’t shut up, until I asked my father to tell them to put a cork in it. It seems every English critic has been getting revenge on me for this every time I go to a film screening. I’ve yet to even go to a press show for anything without some berk talking, kicking, eating, texting or note taking with a miners light attached to their forehead! – but that’s another rant.

Cut to 1997 and I’m all excited that not only is there an incoming new film, but that they are doing special editions of the original trilogy.  A couple of months later and I have very mixed emotions about the first film all of a sudden, and a strong opinion now about Empire being the best and very little to say about Jedi after witnessing that song and dance routine.

Two years later and I get that very same sucker punch that so many of the original fans got when Ep 1 came out.  I will NOT go on about it here. Suffice to say, I strongly dislike the three new films and I immediately divorced myself from Star Wars in every aspect that I could. I claimed that it was simply over and I didn’t want to dwell on the past.  I left any video or DVD editions with my father as they are his.  I have not watched any of the films since 2005 (minus a press screening for Ep 1 in 3D). I don’t miss them. I still have the memories of being a kid; but then I will always have the memories of what happened later in life as well. So, I figured to save endless geek arguments I’d just shut up on the subject and claim that I had divorced Star Wars from my life and had better things to talk about.

Now, I have various friends and colleagues who are pretty much still loving the franchise, despite what they think of the newer films (some don’t mind them, most despise them). Several of these fans rate Star Wars or Empire in their top 10s. For me, I think Empire ranks highest but that is barely in my top 30. This isn’t to spite the franchise, it’s simply that I deliberately sought out as many films as I could that appealed to me in order to accurately rate what is a favourite, and not simply a childhood favourite.  But again this is not to say that those that list Star Wars higher than me are wrong.  They do actively watch the film over and over as well as link it to what stuck with them at an early age.  I can hardly argue that, Raiders of the Lost Ark is that film for me.

So, as content as I had made myself with the subject – to the point where I laid the ghost to rest when we did out Star Wars retrospectives on this very site –(I did Eps I, II and VI). I laid claim that I was not angry at Star Wars any more, just simply not interested. The TV shows and anime that were bounding about did not interest me. The films were done.  Sure I laughed at the Robot Chicken adventures, but beyond that it was over.

The Blu-rays came out and I brushed it off as just yet another way to make the cash.  Don’t get me wrong – I have seen footage of the Empire Strikes Back Blu-ray and it looks stunning. But the only way they may trick me in is with a Blu-ray of the original releases, not yet another re-vamp (to which Lucas basterdised Jedi further with more “Noooooooooo!” action.)  Not interested.  Like I say, I have not watched the films since 2005 (not counting that 3D release which I had to go to a screening for to review it. That was no fun I assure you).

Then, George Lucas goes and sells Lucasfilm and they announce Star Wars VII-IX and potential spins off.  Star Wars is back and they will continue the story yet, also branch out. And it looks like this will be on-going from now to forevermore.  Maybe until “A long time ago” becomes “A week last Tuesday.”


I did. I sighed harder when JJ Abrams was announced as director. The one thing that perked me up though was the fact that Lawrence Kasdan had been approached to write one of them.  Now that is a good idea!  Get someone with actual original talent back in to work.  Well he did work on Empire and Raiders. So good for them. Maybe this time round it will work.  Surely karma will work in its favour – even with the “king of mime” directing it.  He will at least make a film that looks and feels like Star Wars.  Oh look, John Williams has signed on for the three films too. Great. Just make sure the lock is on the gate when Damon Lindelof expects to get in.

So, with this inevitability coming in 2015. I looked around and thought, am I ready to go back in once again? And it wasn’t long before I realised that despite not watching or owning the films I hadn’t completely removed myself from the Star Wars universe. Just looking around the homestead there are obvious clues that I do still consider myself a fan.

I don’t seem to have any of the original toys left. If any have survived the past three decades they are likely gathering dust in a corner, broken or pinched by a sibling.

Close friends of mine certainly have the latest editions on disc and even the most recent lightsabres (NOTE:  I will buy one when they make them unbreakable – there is nothing more embarrassing than watching two grown men fight ever so carefully with two giant glow-sticks. Unless, of course, they are just doing an impression of Alec Guinness).

So after a long hard rummage through paperwork, time capsule tins, drawers loaded with junk and the more obvious places I compiled this look at the objects I own, that I have held onto over the years or obtained recently that are very much Star Wars.

To do this chronologically might be a nightmare, so if we look at the small items first and work upwards we will see what we have!


TICKETS! Tickets for each of the re-releases! I’m pretty sure I went to see Star Wars twice as special edition but only one ticket remains for each film. Empire was the one that looked the best.

Of course this is where all the trouble started! Re-watching the old classics remastered and fucked around with by the “maestro” himself.  Empire came off relatively unscathed. The other two I’m not going to talk about.


Here’s three tickets for the new trilogy (although eagle eyes will spot the top two are both for Episode 1.  I don’t recall going back for more, but clearly I didn’t believe what I saw first time and had to go back to be sure! You will also see I paid half the price second time round.  (A sucker for going back, just not an expensive sucker). Episode III I know I did see, but the ticket has been lost somewhere. Maybe it will turn up.


As I already mentioned, I reviewed the 3D re-release of Episode 1 and here is the undeniable proof of that. Why do I have two tickets?  Because my plus 1 decided at the last moment not to put themselves through the torture again.  Anthony Daniels introduced the screening with a speech that was littered with jokes I suspect he invented 15 years ago. This screening though, along with the above image, is proof that I have now seen Episode 1 three times at the cinema!!!! (The screening count is Ep IV four times; Ep I three times, Ep V & VI two times and Ep II & III once).


Aha a Boba Fett pin badge. Don’t think I ever wore it! Went straight into my tin of junk!


No self-respecting Lego or Star Wars fan is complete without a Lego Boba Fett! You may be getting a  hint of my favourite character now.


The Fett(ish) continues with this solid keychain. Too heavy and bulky to use, so in the collectors tin it went!


Ahh yes. I was quite the movie postcard collector (well, when you have the small room at home you hardly have wall space!)  This was to announce the three special editions.


Naturally, I went on to collect all six Drew Struzan designs (I also reviewed two Struzan books from Titan publishing which featured these designs).


Any big film fan will be aware that most of the big magazine publishers can’t help themselves from running a Star Wars special or supplement. Empire Magazine probably led this charge from stories to onset photos.  It all drove me mad like I hadn’t watched the special features or read any books, but naturally when they did this 30th Special Edition I could not resist making sure I got a Boba Fett cover for mine! (Wasn’t as hard to find as I thought). Apparently some poor sucker has a cover featuring JarJar.


I was also quite chuffed when, at an Empire Magazine movie con event, I received a goody bag including a box of postcards featuring all the covers.  Can’t wait for the 40 year specials where some poor sucker gets a cover featuring the new JJ of the series!


Fridge Magnets!  I can’t go anywhere without picking up a fridge magnet for my collection.  I seem to have obtained the small and large versions of the carbonite. (This is probably my most recent purchase from the 2013 London Film and Comic Con).


Speaking of comic con, this was my very first purchase. Yes, a mini Darth Vadar lightsaber.  It comes in a lovely little box which I still have and it only cost a tenner.  Mind you, this was back in like 2005 – so likely to be twice that much now!


I would sigh at the fact that I got sent this to review but, to be fair, it is probably the highlight of Episode 1. John Williams still had it!


Ooo a mini Death Star from the LEGO people… More on that later.


Purchased just before Episode 1 was released.  Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. It amazingly features an electronic R2D2 dice/number randomiser. It is focused on the original trilogy, but also came with a few teaser cards for Episode 1.


I went a bit model crazy for a while back in 2007 and bought this Slave 1 kit for about £35. I spent many an hour with a brush and paint pot putting it together.  That was after all the snipping, filling and gluing.  A real joy and didn’t look too shabby when finished!


You can see at the foot that I have the unopened miniature carbonite model that came with it. There was also a mini Boba Fett who proved too hard for my talents to paint as he was the height of the end of your pinky!


Books! I have had many Star Wars books in my time but this is what remains. Yes, LEGO related again!


Oh and this one. I probably held onto this as it was worth £100 when it came out, and I remember I got it at a bargain price when in Cambridge.


These are the two new arrivals for review!  Different publishers, but a similar subject. Should make interesting reading!


OK, I promised to return to LEGO and these are a mix of paid for and review copies.  We would be here all day if I posted pictures of each one, so here are the instruction manuals for sets that range from the £10 mark to £120.


Besides, I have to make room for this beauty!  Yes, the largest and most expensive Star Wars related anything I bought and still own.

And proof that I didn’t just take a shot of the box from the LEGO store!  Here are some various shots of it coming together.  It is dismantled for now, waiting to be one day be rebuilt again!  This may have cost £275 but it took 12 man hours to build and is no regret of mine. 024




















So there you have it.  Even someone who does not rank the films highly but had a childhood centred on the experience and who divorced it all still, apparently, has Star Wars coming out of the woodwork. Worth looking perhaps at your own collection to see what you own.  If you are still a big fan then perhaps you own all of the above and more: posters, comics, every figure ever released!  At least four shades of lightsaber? (When they make them unbreakable I will buy one! Not before!).

2015 will see me tread the waters once more. Until then – this is Red and Gold Leader, Standing by.


Steven Hurst

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