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Sharon’s son

Celebrating 'Star Wars'

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Matt Lindberg

Lindberg

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....”

Those words are iconic. Hearing or seeing them immediately makes me think of “Star Wars,” and how each film starts with scrolling text of those words in blue followed by “Star Wars” over a field of stars.

After a turbulent production, “Star Wars” (later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope) was released in a limited number of theaters in the United States on May 25, 1977, and quickly became a blockbuster hit.

I wasn’t alive when it was first released - so I’ve only heard about what it was like seeing it opening weekend from my parents and other relatives. I wasn’t introduced to the series until the mid-1990s, when my Dad rented the original film for me to watch when I was home and under the weather. I enjoyed it enough that we went to go see the sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” when it was soon rereleased in theaters.

There was something awesome about the rise of series hero Luke Skywalker, Han Solo had this amazing cool swagger to him, Darth Vader was the ultimate villain, and every little boy had some kind of crush on Princess Leia, right?

OK, so I liked “Star Wars,” but I wouldn’t say I loved it. I’ve gotten more into it recently with the subsequent films and TV shows, such as “The Clone Wars” and “The Mandalorian.” My affection for it has probably grown even more now thanks to my young son’s strong fandom.

Like my father before me, I introduced him to “Star Wars” one day when he was home sick and he became fascinated. He loved seeing an everyday teenager like Luke Skywalker become a hero, the ships, the action - all of the things. I relish when he comes to me with his theories on characters and plots, or counts down to new episodes of shows or releases of movies.

Equally as awesome, my young daughter was just recently introduced to “Star Wars” and loves the idea of female heroes like Leia and Rey.

Detractors will say “Star Wars” is boring or has too much science fiction for their taste, and I get it. But for me, “Star Wars” is about far more than space, ships, lightsabers and good vs. evil.

There’s a great story among the series if you really invest in it, but more importantly, it’s for people of all ages, sexes and backgrounds. Anyone can be a fan and feel represented.

I can have in-depth conversations with my kids about the series just as I would friends or older relatives. I love when I see families around town and catch a Mom and child both wearing “Star Wars” shirts or something like that.

It’s neat to think about how this one film that was released in May 1977 spawned numerous movies, shows, books, comics and video games, and got millions upon millions of fans.

Desiring to find ways to bring the community together and with the 45th anniversary of the first movie coming up at the end of the month, it seemed like a perfect time for Parkway Plaza to host its outdoor movie night.

Our first of several this summer is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, outside the Plaza, 4471 41st Ave. Attendees will be treated to a night under the stars watching the original “Star Wars” film while enjoying Sweet Harvest popcorn, courtesy of Charter Title and Escrow, kwELITE and VRLY Columbus.

I’m also encouraging people of all ages to come in costume or their favorite “Star Wars” shirt. Three lucky attendees who do so will be selected as a winner in our “Force Pride” costume and take home a prize.

My hope is people get to come out with their friends and family to experience the magic of “Star Wars” - whether it be the first or millionth time - just like those who did when it first opened in 1977.

May the force be with you.

Matt Lindberg is the marketing director of Parkway Plaza and VRLY Columbus. Reach him via email at mLindberg41@gmail.com.

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