Now this is my first article, go easy on me...
*Some spoilers for those who have not seen it before*
Ten years ago today,(as I write this) the biggest hype of any movie in my life, and for any star wars movie, was released. Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.
Such great memories, I'll never forget my brother and I, being so hyped for this movie.. after so many long years...sixteen years,.. a new star wars movie.
Being a huge Star wars fan,. this..it's hard to describe the feeling.. but I know very well many,..many of you out there who read this (if), know the feeling very well. The mania was everywhere and it just got bigger as time ticked down.
When they announced the name,.. I thought the name.. The Phantom Menace was very mysterious, and that peeked my interest even more... Buzz grew along my brother and my group of friends. we'd discuss what it would be about and some of us figured it was how the empire came to be,.. but we were not sure as it was reported that young Anakin Skywalker would be in it, but as obi wan said in a new hope "Before the dark times,.. before the Empire" Was it before or did the Empire already exist? But the name made it sound like something not seen..so So we went ahead and figured that was what the title was to be about the upcoming Empire.. But we did not wish to spoil it for ourselves so we did out best to stay spoiler free.
Time continued to count down , the hype was growing.. they showed the preview trailer on access hollywood which my brother, a few friends and i recorded and watched over and over again (we did not have the internet at my house at the time..not until a year later).. I'll never forget the first scene of episode one I ever saw, the gungans riding there kadu as they head out of the fog.... this was it.. the music... chills went down my spine..
We watched on TV about "The Line" where hundreds of star wars fans lined up at the Grauman's chinese theater for like over a hundred days in advance. It was fun seeing all these passionate fans in mini camps, having fun with other fans. It was amazing and it shows the love fans have for star wars,.. the dedication, of these fans.
I remember everything from pepsi cans that had the images of star wars characters, pepsi bottles with character tops on the caps. Star Wars was out in full force thanks to lucasfilms 20 million dollar advertising campaign, yes my friends, brother and I did buy merchandise,..we were sucked up into the hype.
Midnight maddness at toysRus,.. I could not attend unfortunatly, but we watched it on the news as fans lined up and got to get inside to get first cracks at the new toys,.. it was fun to watch these people enjoy themselves, I remember talking to my friend Chris about going before but I think he had to work unfortunatly.
I remember going to kmart shortly after that night.. they had a neat setup,.a whole isle full of episode one toys of course Darth Maul was the hardest to find. they had a device on the end of the endcap that showed off the newest electronic device called the commtech reader, all the figures had commtech chips that had several lines from the movies to each figure, as well as some sound effects. you could scan the chip along the reader set up and hear the commtech reader read the digitized lines of each chip, my brother and I loved that. I had been collecting SW figs before but that day was the first time I started my episode one figure collection. I do have a commtech reader as well as alot of figures and a case holding about 30 something commtech chips.
Episode one was on magazines like Vanity Fair, Time, and TVguide as well. It was a great time to be a star wars fan.
Time ticked down even more... I did my best to remain spoiler free. one month before the movie,.. the soundtrack came out... I was at Kmart with my brother and i picked it up reading the track list.... one of the last listed was "Qui-gon's Funeral" wow...spoiled.. I was bummed but I was still ok about it, after all that time trying to remain spoiler free... but that news did not stop me from buying the soundtrack.
May 19th, 1999... the day arrived.. Chris comes over in the middle of the night after work,.. we hang out,.. another friend of ours named Tim decided he was gonna go too.. Tim also sold his car to chris that morning. We stayed up all night and around five thirty in the morning one of us just up and said.... "would if there is a huge line?" Needless to say, we scrambled into tim's, now Chris's car to head to the UA8, we stop by a gas station.. get us some Vanilla cappucinos to wake us up abit and go across the street from there to the theater. United Artist 8 was a good theater for it's time, before the days of Rave motion picture and such around here... unfortunatly, it closed down a few years later.. it could just not compete anymore to these newer more high tech theaters that opened around here.
Whats left of UA8
Rest In Peace
When we got there,...the parking lot was empty.. we sat in the car, in the parking lot, waiting,..excited.. it was finally here! We were so excited. I'll never forget the sun rising as we talk about star wars i that car. about eight AM,.. another car pulls up, with a group inside. Well that w as enough... we were going to be the fist in line.. so the four of us got out and went to sit under the box office, enjoying the somewhat cool morning air, then the other group came to join us sitting in line talking about star wars. As time ticked on more people came and the line started to grow... about fifteen minutes before show time,... the line had gotten massive and we were very glad not to be the poor folks who showed up five minutes before showtime. I got the first ticket of the first showing that morning,.. we went in,.. got great seats in the center of the theater and had a blast,.. we made jokes about some fans behind us to pass the time until the movie started. then.. the great cheer as the theater went dark and the movie started. I stared at the lucasfilm and fox fanfair logos like this was the greatest meaning of my life,.. starring taking it in.. it was finally time after years of waiting..
I had a blast.. loved the movie.. some people didn't like it... some loved it. I loved it,.. my friends and brother loved it,.. and still do. I honestly feel that some othe fans who hate this movie.. just built it up in their own mind so much that,..when it finally came out,... it did not live up to their expectation..
Starwars mania was even more wild after,.. we were caught up in it, that day afterwards my brother Matt, Chris, and I went looking to buy episode one toy lighsabers. we hit toysRus,.kmart,walmart noting all sold out everywhere. Stopped by Walgreens in hope to find anything.. we found Rubie's lightsabers from episode one. they looked nice,..the blades went all the way inside of the hilt unlike the more espensive electronic toy kightsabers, which was a plus, only negative was that it did not have any electronic sound effects, it only lit up like a flashlight, but they were good enough, we wanted to have lightsaber duels, which,..oh yes, we did. We went to Chris's house at that night and had several duels as well as hide and seek duels.. alot of fun... that same night Chris had this feeling of he needed a Darth Maul action figure,..eating away at him, so we went on a hunt to find one..... gee.. this was opening night, and a Darth Maul figure wer pretty damned hard to find as it was...
Well at the time the only place open was Wal-Mart, we get to the starwars isle,..none...buuuuuuuut we did find on the lower shelf of vehichles, only one left, darth Maul and his sith speeder. yoink! We were surprised to even find it :)
After the movie more promotions came up like the taco bell promotions. My brother and I went with my parents one weekend and we kept buying smaller food items so we could collect these pog like discs for a game for the resteraunt, you could peel off something on lid of the cup and get a pog like star wars disc that went with the playmat, it you collected all for each planet, you'd win a big cash prize i beleive... we collected all but the rare peice for each planet.. never did get any of them.
They had a kids meal for it was well I onlt got one back then it was a Tatooine globe thing that opend and a wind up moving Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul were havign their saber battle. My favorite thing Taco Bell had was you could buy a extra lage drink in a starwars cup with a cup topper with characters from the movie
my brother, Chris and I went there to get them..out of the colletion we only ever got was Anakin and Darth Maul.. course Darth Maul was mostly what chris was wanting out of the group so we did't go back for more much after that.
Chris put his Maul on the dashboard of his car and sued to say "All Hail Lord Maul". My brother took his and added a nice paint job to the horns making it look ten times better.
Had fun with lightsaber battle, collecting action figures, just being there..,..Star wars was back.. and in full force... I loved the ride, the hype for episode one was incredible and one of the most favorite times in my entire life. Sure call me a star wars nerd..I don't care :)
Good times. These memories will be with me the rest of my life.. I hope I didn't babble on and bore anyone who reads. i cannot believe it has been ten years already. What a blast..
Happy Tenth anniversary Star Wars Episode one.