Your Star Wars memories: Matt Wheeler

The magic never ends

The fifth in our incredible series of Star Wars memories, written by you as a testament to the incredible power of the saga to transcend age, genre and cynicism. If this inspires you to submit your own, check out the details here!

As soon as my young brain was developed enough to absorb and retain memory, it began to soak up the Star Wars culture that surrounded me. Born in 1981, I came into this world at a time when Empire was still playing in theaters. I was about two when Jedi was released. My earliest memories are foggy, but I recall small glimpses of it all; coveting ROTJ comic books from the drug store spinner rack, a C-3PO cake pan being used at every birthday party in the neighborhood, being terrified of the Kenner Rancor my uncle bought me for Christmas, and sleeping on a pillow case with the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other – always good guys side up.

Recalling the years that followed that, the memories start to become clearer. Going to bed at six o’clock so that I could wake up at eight to watch The Battle For Endor, telling my friends that I did have a Han Solo figure like they did, but I fed it to my Rancor, and wailing on the dog with my lightsaber (a cardboard wrapping paper tube).

By fourth grade, my friends and I officially moved on from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and fell back in love with a galaxy far, far away (and Leia). We’d draw Chewie and Greedo in the margins of our notebooks and get together after school to watch the movies that our parents had recorded off of our remote-less, bunny-eared televisions. I vividly remember the loud CLACK-CLACK-CLACK the dial made as I changed the channels on that old thing.

Some of us have remained in an intense state of fandom ever since, but it will never be quite the same as it was back then. Before internet spoilers and message board trolls. Before countless remasterings and special editions. Before prequels. Back then our world was small, and there was a magic that existed in our lives. Not just on Tatooine, Hoth and Endor, but in our summers, our winters and our tree forts.

Being an adult, I have a different kind of appreciation for the saga, but I don’t love it any less. You’ll have to forgive the unabashed nostalgia, but I genuinely miss those legendary days when we all saw the droids, scoundrels and Jedi as only a child could.  Unfortunately, it’s true what they say –  you can never go back. Instead, I’ll just have to dress my son’s bed in my oId Jedi sheets –  good guys up, bake him a Threepio cake for his next birthday, and watch the magic happen for a new generation.

I have a Kenner Rancor with a Han Solo inside of it that I think he’s just going to love.