googlea875c0213e6e807d.html] Fandads: Hanging out with our Old Friend Luke

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hanging out with our Old Friend Luke

Disclaimer: The Fandads were provided with an advance copy of Star Wars: The Last Jedi along with promotional materials in exchange to host a Star Wars event. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

We all have those friends that we grew up with. You know the ones: the ones that were always there for us when times were bad, the friends that would cheer us up when we were having rough days and the ones that we had awesome adventures with. Our childhood friends really helped us become the person that we are today. The one thing about our childhood friends though is that as we grow up they change and sometimes we don't like the person that they have become.

Ok, I know that the last sentence sounds a bit ominous, but that will be explained later. With the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I was lucky enough to have our friends at Disney entertain the idea of having a group of fathers over to a special screening of the movie. When planning this event I immediately knew the fathers that I would invite and I had ideas for some of the games and activities that we could do. I mean if you are going to invite some dads and their children over to your house, why not invite the dads that you have shared many Star Wars screenings with. Here’s a little backstory.

I grew up with Star Wars and by that I mean I did not grow up in a world where Star Wars was already around me, but I grew up when the original trilogy was still being created. I saw Star Wars when I was five years old in 1980. It was re-released in anticipation of the upcoming sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back". I remember seeing the commercials on the television and walking into the darkened theater unprepared for what I was going to see. Once the 20th Century Fox Fanfare started, I sat still with wide eyes. Then those words hit the screen "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...". Then "boom" the Star Wars title came across the screen and my world was never the same again.

That one moment changed my life because I wanted to be in that world. I wanted to learn about the "Force" from Obi-Wan and use a lightsaber with Luke to fight off the Empire. I wanted to run with Han Solo down the corridors of the Death Star and take down some Stormtroopers. Star Wars helped me forget about the world I lived in and made me want to be in that galaxy far, far away.

As I got older, my love for Star Wars did not wane and I made some friends that shared the same passion for the Star Wars movies as I did. We would get together and watch the movies, buy the action figures, and when the Special Editions of the movies came out, we were there on opening night. I mean this was a huge thing for us!

Although we have all seen the movies with our families when we were younger, this time we were going to see the movies with our best friends. We would buy our tickets in advance and arrive to the theater hours before the screening and just wait in line and talk about the movies. This continued on when the prequels came out and then slowly life started creeping in.

My friends and I started working longer hours, getting married, having kids, and soon we were not hanging out as often as we used to. Thanks to the Internet we would still keep in touch and keep abreast at what was happening in each other’s lives, but days of not seeing each other would turn to weeks, then to eventually to months and in some cases years.

When I got the ok to do a Disney Star Wars screening, I reached out to them and also invited some new friends I have made that shared the same feeling of fatherhood as myself. I thought it would be great to have not only my friends over but to have them over with their children so we can all share in this special event together.

As the day got closer to the event, friends started canceling and were not able to make it anymore. Out of the ten dads that were invited with their children only two were able to make it. I understand that as we all get older, life gets in the way and things change and that brings me to our old friend Luke Skywalker.

Imagine your best friend from when you were younger in grammar school. You spent every day together and then one year their family decided to move out of town. Your world, as you see it, is going to end and you will never, at least you think, see that friend again. You spend the next few years reliving all those moments you had with your friend and just wish you two can hang out again.

Then one day, many years later, as you are running errands you see someone down the aisle that looks familiar. It's been years that you have seen your old friend, so you stop and do a double take to make sure who you saw is who you think you are seeing. This friend of yours doesn't look the same as when you saw them last time. Time has changed them. That young face you remember is not the same. There are wrinkles that were not there before. Their hair may have a few grays in them and they probably have grown a beard too.

Your eyes connect and a smile crosses your face. You walk toward your friend and you notice something as they approach you. You notice that their walk is a little different and when they talk they sound different too. You recognize this person as your old friend, but in a way, this person is not your old friend.

You exchange pleasantries, catch up, and talk about the good old days and you make plans to get together one day. Here's the thing, when you get together you notice little things about your friend that you did not notice before. You never knew that they could whistle without using their fingers or they can astral project themselves because you never asked them to do that before. Yes, that last sentence has to do with Luke, but as much as this movie alienated people, it also made me appreciate my friends even more.

Even though my friends were not able to attend our Star Wars event they are still my friends and I know that no matter what life throws at us, we will still be in each other's lives. Just like Luke. Although it has been many years that we have seen him in action, we know that he will always be there for us, just like the Force. Luke will be that constant in our lives that we can pass down and enjoy with our children like our parents enjoyed the original trilogy with us.

Now, when I introduce my old friend to my children, they might say to themselves, "This guy is as cool as my dad said he was." or "This guy is just alright." (That is the child that I will disown...kidding), but my children will see my old friend Luke in their own eyes. They will have their own experiences and who knows if they will love him the way I did and still do. That is what makes watching these new movies so much fun.

Let me tell you, watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi with our children was a pretty great experience. It was fun to see what our children thought was funny or the scenes that they found to be pretty cool. It was also fun to geek out with Gil about the hidden Easter Eggs in the movie. Do you know which character is Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Which character says "I got a bad feeling about this"? While the kids enjoyed watching the movie, they also enjoyed the activity sheets that we had printed for them in case they did not want to watch the movie.

I think since we received our copy of The Last Jedi we have watched it a few times and my daughter and I love watching the special features. The documentary "The Director and The Jedi" is fascinating! Anything that goes in-depth behind the scenes of the movie is always a favorite of mine because I love watching how it all came together and getting those little glimpses of what is to come. While I love the behind the scenes stuff like that my daughter loves watching the deleted scenes. Watching those scenes makes me wish that they would release a director's cut with all the missing scenes added.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed us that you do not have to be a Skywalker to possess the power of the Force, you just have to believe in yourself and those around you. I believe that my children and my friends' children will continue on with the tradition of watching Star Wars together as long as the rebellion continues to fight the First Order.

Remember friends Star Wars; The Last Jedi comes out on home release this coming Tuesday, March 27. What moments are you excited to relive in your home and what memories are you going to make with your children watching the movie? Fill out the rafflecopter below and you can win a Digital copy of the movie along with one of the goodie bags that we gave away at our event.

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