So a drawback of having more time on my hands is it’s been harder to put off household chores…
I’ve addressed this though by retreating to the ol’ galaxy far, far away and catching up with The Mandalorian – which turned out to be an incredibly moving trip!
(SPOILERS ahead for The Mandalorian and Star Wars movies!!)
The season finale just blew me away! First, Mando and Baby Grogu were reunited (thank the Force!), but then those dark trooper thingies marched back onto the ship and started banging down doors and things were looking really bad, but then – then – there was the metallic-butt-kickingly wonderful appearance of Return of the Jedi-era Luke Skywalker who rescued everybody which was so thrilling except that Mando and Grogu parted right afterwards which oh my gosh was just guttingly sad…
Weeks on, that emotion-packed journey is still with me. Like I’ll be fixing a snack in the kitchen when a floorboard will make the same little squeak that Grogu would – and it’s right back on the rollercoaster…
But in a good way!
What a sweet surprise it was that beyond getting happily hooked on these new Star Wars characters, I also got transported back to a time when I was crazy over the original ones (Luke most especially)! Being big on mementos, I figured I’d have some Star Wars souvenirs around to pepper this post with – but in a sweep of my apartment, I came up empty. (Yeah, yeah – completing my organizing chores might have helped here…) I mean, I didn’t find any Judy Blume books from back in the day either, but when I so clearly wear my heart on my bookshelves, I found the lack of Lucasfilm love disturbing.
So I fixed it by getting a Grogu figurine! (Didn’t want to – had to for the post.)
Huh. Looks like my thing for Star Trek is covered. I’ve never felt the need to choose between these two franchises (I’m a woman of many moods) – but maybe there’s more Star Trek stuff because those characters have been a constant throughout my entire life while Star Wars seems to live in a narrower space.
The first trilogy pretty neatly bookended my teenage years. In 1977, I was a wide-eyed kid of 13 – and my eyes got wider the day friends and I rode a bus across the bay to San Francisco and watched Star Wars from the fourth row of the Coronet Theatre! Since I’d been a little too young to see 2001: A Space Odyssey (or make any sense of what Dave was doing), watching that ship devour the screen at the start of A New Hope was the beginning of a theatrical thrill ride like I’d never been on before!
Three years later, my buddies and I were old enough to drive ourselves to see The Empire Strikes Back. Being at an age where nothing happened fast enough, we were appalled at the thought of waiting three more years – a thick percentage of our lifetimes – for a resolution to some major, major plot points! The film also gave us a sense that adulting in any universe might be more complex and confusing than previously thought – but we left this new baggage all packed up in favor of going for ice cream.
Another three years eventually rolled by. And on the eve of my 19th summer, I was finishing my first year at UC Berkeley surrounded by fellow students, all of us buried under piles of notes and books and anxiously studying for finals. We were also camped along the wall outside Oakland’s Piedmont Theater, having queued up hours before to catch Return of the Jedi on its opening night! Because you have to have your priorities.
And then, let’s see – life happened.
I graduated. I moved south. I had jobs. I loved people. I lost people. And in the midst of it, I caught the other six Star Wars movies – which I enjoyed even while learning to embrace feeling older and more fidget spun with each passing day.
Looking back on all nine installments, afraid I never got fully onboard with some of the Jedi philosophy. I wanted to call “shenanigans” over pronouncements about abandoning friends, mourning lost loved ones, and over other “certain point(s) of view”. So I mostly settled for non-Jedi takeaways: like maybe don’t go out onto big metal bridges; or if you announce you have a bad feeling about something, it’s not super helpful –
Or life can always hit you with another Death Star…
In fairness, I did appreciate the Jedi lessons about believing in yourself and trusting your feelings. And I very much respected Luke’s moral compass. I mean, the guy could have settled for becoming an absolute legend at the keg stand but, instead, he struggles his whole life to find and do what’s right – even as the target moves. (And I say “struggles” not “tries” because that’s a whole other Jedi can o’ worms – or space slugs or whatever…)
During some house cleaning I couldn’t manage to avoid, I finally did turn up a hint of Star Wars from my past! (But I’m keeping Grogu anyway.) It’s hidden in this fuzzy photo of a bulletin board that I filled up in the mid-90’s with things that mattered to me at the time:
Yup. There along with events of the day and evidence of my burgeoning passion for hockey is that image of Luke as he gazes out across the barren Tatooine landscape, aching for a bigger life. That was the anchor of those movies for me – the tough and trying journey of Mark Hamill’s Luke from an impatient boy to a stalwart hero.
I have no idea where that board or any item on it even is now – which seems kind of sad. But it’s something to recall that I made sure to take the Luke picture with me when I left my hometown to find my own way in the world – a choice the image may well have helped inspire me to make.
Anyway, what was I talking about..? Oh – The Mandalorian! Right right right.
That amazing rollercoaster.
There were lots of exciting moments in the season finale – but it was two of the quieter ones that got to me the most. One was when Din Djarin – a guy whose body and being have been encased in armor for almost all of two seasons – reveals his face for the Child. As I breathlessly said before, it was wrenching to see him let go of that beautiful connection only moments after making it – but hopefully, it’s not for good…
And speaking of faces!
What a sensational and touching reveal that the Jedi who answered Grogu’s call was Luke! Beneath that cloak was the face of a young and self-assured figure I never imagined I’d see again. And in that moment, I realized he’s a hero the kid in the fourth row never stopped admiring – or stopped needing.
I may have revisited the Star Wars realm to avoid dusting bookshelves – but like Bogie in Casablanca, I wound up getting Paris back.
Not a bad day’s work! Nope – not bad at all.