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Dear Star Wars,
Wow. Just writing that salutation has given me goosebumps. Together we have had some good times, my old friend, but with the good come the bad and we have had some bad, bad times. Let’s go back to a galaxy far, far away…
One of my earliest childhood memories is being bundled into a car on a Tuesday night and taken to see Return of the Jedi. What a ride. I did fall asleep – I was four at the time – but I remember the Ewoks and amazing space ships vividly. I was hooked. I would go to the toyshop and buy ALL of the new toys when they were released: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Stormtroopers and Darth Vader (I always loved Darth, what’s not to love?!). All the toys stayed in their boxes. Mum says this is when my hoarding started… I call it collecting.
Growing up in the US as a teenager, I waited patiently for Christmas Day every year, not for the presents, but for you, Star Wars. You were on TV all day! I would open my presents, grab my favourites, plonk down in front of the 32cm TV and enjoy everything you were. In the ad breaks I would recite lines, fight my sister with imaginary lightsabers and re-enact epic space battles. Mum had the timing down: Christmas dinner was served just as Return of the Jedi was finishing. I still follow this routine to this day.
Then the dark times…the prequels. I was ready to be blown away, and was simply let down. Something wasn’t right. I watched it again and again and again and just couldn’t feel it. Sure it had space ships, the force and Jedi Knights but it wasn’t really you. Was the love affair over?
But then the originals were released on DVD and we got reacquainted. Over the next few years you remained a constant in my life. I could always stop, throw on the blu-ray (yes, I upgraded) and watch Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie outwit The Empire as often as I wanted.
These days I don’t simply love you, I get to be you. “Aren’t you a little bit short to be a Stormtrooper?” is something I hear regularly. But I ignore it. “Bad guys, doing good” is the motto of the 501st legion, the world’s premiere Star Wars costuming group. I volunteer as a Stormtrooper at events regularly.
And now I sit here, aged 36, waiting patiently to take my four-year-old nephew to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, hoping he gets to experience everything you have given to me. To us. To the world.
Thank you for everything. Just please let Rogue One be good. Please!
» Andy Price is a Stormtrooper who saw The Force Awakens 17 times in the cinema.
This article first appeared in Ed#525 of The Big Issue. For more spacey content, including an interview with a final applicant for the Mars One mission, buy a copy from your vendor today!