The Force Awakens inches ever closer with each passing day, and we the fans attack each piece of news like a ravenous wampa. It’s surreal to see how much the hype and build-up for The Force Awakens is similar to the build-up to The Phantom Menace 16 years ago.
Right now we are all anxiously awaiting a new trailer for The Force Awakens. Of course, in 1999 we didn’t have YouTube and internet video was still in it’s infancy. I remember the agonizing wait as the trailers downloaded via Quicktime. It took nearly 2 hours to download the 2 and a half minutes of Star Wars goodness over my dial-up connection and it was a video clip about the size of a postage stamp. It was a great way to analyze the shots frame by frame though as we played each few seconds as they became available.
Most everyone went to go see the trailers in the theaters. Didn’t matter what movie they were attached to, that was the film we were going to see. Countless Star Wars fans helped boost the box office numbers for such cinematic classics as Meet Joe Black, Wing Commander, and the Waterboy. Personally, I saw it as paying for the trailer and staying for the movie.
The Phantom Menace is a movie that has a lot of sentimental connections for me. I remember coming home from class on the day the first teaser for The Phantom Menace premiered on TV. My brother had recorded it while I was at school. As soon as I walked in the door my brother said before I could even sit down “You want to see it?” and hit play on the VCR.
As I write this I’m jumping back and forth between this post and twitter, as my fellow fans and I wait for the new trailer to go up during Monday Night Football. I am getting the same feelings and chills that I got from waiting for The Phantom Menace in 1999, except this time I can be much more comfortable on my couch as opposed to waiting for hours on an uncomfortable sidewalk.
One thing that has not changed is the sense of community. In 1999, we all gathered in line at our local theaters a week before the movie opened to get our tickets. Today, we are gathered together virtually, sharing our stories over twitter and facebook. Online or in person, it doesn’t matter, the connections are still there. We are all one big Star Wars family.