Last night, at the stroke of midnight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens exploded onto cinema screens around the country to tell an all-new story about a galaxy far, far away. For the lucky fans in attendance, this experience will likely become one of their most beloved Star Wars memories; right up there with hearing "I am your father" for the first time. Here are our own beloved memories — spanning the movies, toys and games.
Photo: Flickr, Ivan
Star Wars is kind of a big deal. Like any cultural phenomena, it has had a profound impact on many people's lives and gifted them with memories they will likely take to the grave. With that in mind, here are the most enduring Star Wars memories from our childhoods.
Chris Jager, Lifehacker Editor
Photo: Flickr, Mosh Heruttaja
I was technically in the audience when the original Star Wars first hit theaters, albeit from the sub par vantage point of my mother's womb. Even though I couldn't see anything, I sincerely believe this experience imprinted itself on my DNA and made me a lifelong Star Wars fan. (While in utero, I also "saw" the slasher movie Halloween — but that's another story.)
Other than that, my most enduring memory is probably the time my schoolyard nemesis Robert Clarke hoodwinked me into swapping six mint-condition Star Wars figures for a tatty Darth Vader without its lightsaber or cape. He kept its appalling condition a secret until the moment we swapped, which happened to be in a playground full of our peers. He insisted I couldn't renege so I glumly went along with it. The bucktoothed bastard.
I did get my revenge though: a few week's later I tossed his entire collection into a metal drum filled with slime and insisted they wanted to play with the frogs. His mum wasn't amused.
Spandas Lui, Lifehacker Journalist
My most endearing memory of Star Wars has to be the "Lapti Nek" scene at Jabba the Hutt’s party (Return of the Jedi). A green alien slave girl dances to some terrible 80s funk music for Jabba the Hutt but ends up being dumped; literally. The slave girl lets out a blood curdling scream as she falls down a pit and is devoured by one of Jabba’s carnivorous pets. The fat worm then proceeds to pick up a squirming toad and devours it.
It was disgusting and fascinating at the same time. I can still remember when I watched that scene as a kid and loving every minute of it.
I was outraged when it was removed from the remastered edition of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Amanda Yeo, Early Morning Sub Editor
My most enduring Star Wars memory is sitting underneath my big sister’s big white loft bed, watching her make Star Wars Club membership cards with cardboard and glue. My fine motor skills were not yet up to the delicate scissor and texta work required. She estimates that she was around Year 2, which would put me around Year 1. There were three members in our club – my elder sister, my younger sister and me. We made Star Wars toys out of Fimo, played the Star Wars Episode I Adventures role playing game, and made swooping electric sounds when we sparred with sticks.
When Mum called a radio show to win the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition VHS box set for us, the host gave it to her because he could hear me and my siblings jumping around in the background (or at least that’s what she told me). I watched it so much that the swooping THX logo became as familiar to me as the national anthem or school song. I read Star Wars books and comics and tried to learn the Imperial March on the piano. When we saw The Phantom Menace in cinemas I ran to the front and danced during the credits. I was too young to know better.
Mark Serrels, Kotaku Editor
When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Star Wars. To the point where I would lie in the bathtub and try really, really hard to make bottles of shampoo move with the force.
Then one night I had the most spectacular, hyper-real dream. I was at home, in my living room, just having a normal day. Except all of a sudden I could use the force.
It was glorious, the feeling of moving objects around the room with my mind. It may have been the most glorious moment of my life...
And then I woke up.
I remember lying there in my bed trying over and over again to turn on my bedroom light with my mind. I strained and strained for almost 10 minutes, but nothing. I was absolutely distraught. The dream — it was one of those dreams — so real. Even when I woke up I thought for a split second that it was real. The come down was intense. Utterly depressing.
Every now and then, I still try and use the force in real life.
Alex Walker, Kotaku Journalist
The Star Wars prequels have been roundly panned, and George Lucas thoroughly shamed for such dire productions. Uncharacteristically, it also resulted in a tanking in the quality of Star Wars video games, which — with the exception of the Rebel Assault FMV on-rails shooter — were all thoroughly decent in their own right.
Some of them were even brilliant. Fortunately, the grime and scum that emanated from The Phantom Menace and the mediocre third-person action-adventure it spawned didn't cross over to Star Wars Episode One: Racer, which ended up becoming the best-selling sci-fi racing game of all time with 3.12 million sales.
That's astonishing considering the reverence with which F-Zero and Wipeout were held. It's even more remarkable given the sheer quality that Studio Liverpool managed to squeeze into Wipeout HD. But Pod Racer took the anti-gravity racing model from F-Zero and Wipeout and imbued that with all of the charm from the Star Wars franchise; it's no wonder it sold so well.
I still remember travelling to Tatooine, restarting constantly on that bloody Abyss level, scouring the junkyard for cheap parts and thinking throughout: "If only Episode One was this much fun." It wasn't, of course, and could never be. But then how could it be? Pod Racer is still one of the best arcade racers to not bear the Mario Kart title — and if you can get it running on a modern system today, it still plays bloody well.
Danny Allen, Allure Media Publisher
Most endearing memory: breaking my brother's '80s Luke Skywalker figurine and then seeing recently how much that'd be worth now. That's a painful memory. Just like The Phantom Menace.
Hayley Willians, Editorial Assistant
I was from that unfortunate generation that grew up with The Phantom Menace. We had all these toys – one of them was a jedi communicator which played little soundbites from Episode 1 when you put tags over a sensor or something like that. It had R2 noises and lightsaber sounds and probably even Jar Jar, but what I remember most was Obi Wan’s “You will be a Jedi, I promise,” and “Master! Destroyers!” I can still remember the exact tone and timing of every single one of those soundbites, we played with it that often. The nostalgia of that toy almost makes Phantom Menace watchable. Almost.
Campbell Simpson, Gizmodo Editor
Boba Fett meeting Darth Vader, when he's telling him "no disintegrations". That scene is one of the best in the entire trilogy, because it makes you instantly respect Boba Fett.
Up until then, Vader is the single most badass character in the movie, and the interaction where he's talking to the bounty hunters is mostly him talking down to everyone. He makes special mention of Fett though, and Fett's like "yeah whatever punk".
The Fett mythology is awesome — he has awesome armour and weapons, he's the last remaining member of an entire warrior race, he outwits the smartest smuggler in the galaxy. Then Episode 1/2/3 had to go and ruin that with clones bullshit.
It's either that, or the sound of Fett's ship's blasters.
Rae Johnston, Gizmodo Journalist
I have a couple of memories that really stick. One was my first date — it was in 1997, when the original trilogy was remastered and re-released in cinemas. As well as my rather vocal confusion at the unnecessary CGI, I remember that my date went to the bathroom no less than six times during a single film. I’m thinking I may not have been the best company that evening.
A fonder memory is when my son was old enough (about three), I sat him down and showed him the original trilogy. To my great relief, he adored it. For Christmas that year Yoda (not Santa) gifted him his first lightsaber, I made him a robe and he began actual martial arts training. He would tell anyone who listened that he was a Youngling and was going to be a Jedi master when he grew up. Now a Padawan, he’s still a huge fan, joining me at the premiere of The Force Awakens. I count all of this as a parenting win on my behalf.
Now it's your turn! What's your most enduring Star Wars memory? It doesn't have to be from the original trilogy, or even from the movies at all — we want to hear your memories from the games, toys, comics, TV shows and everything in between. If it involves droids, lightsabers, Sith lords or Jawas, we want to hear about it! Have at it in the comments.