Star Wars: Sequel and Prequel

May 23rd, 2005 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Watched Arsenal in the cup final and then went to see Star Wars at the cinema.

It could be a description of last Saturday. I watched Arsenal play Manchester United in the FA Cup final, a match which Arsenal should have lost, and in the evening Michael and I went to Bray to see Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith.

It’s also the description of a Saturday in 1978. Arsenal played in the FA Cup Final on a Saturday afternoon and in the evening my dad took me to see Star Wars at the Odeon cinema in Yeovil. At the age of 17, I should have been going to the cinema by myself, but we lived miles from anywhere and I needed a lift and, anyway, my dad was younger than I am now.

That first Star wars film was just Star Wars to yokels like myself. Only later did I discover that it was Star Wars IV and that there were two to follow and three prequels (I think the plan was for nine, initially). Where would I have learned such things? If you lived in the depths of the English West Country, there weren’t many sources of information. I used to think I was in touch with things because I listened to Radio 1.

I remember going to university in 1 in London in 1979 and being laughed at when I admitted I listened to Radio 1, sophisticated people listened to London stations I had never heard of. I tried to be in touch for a while, reading ‘Time Out’ magazine and such stuff, but eventually I realized I would always be a yokel and that all the iceboxes in the world couldn’t make me ‘cool’.

Star Wars III , by definition, had to have Star Wars IV as its sequel. When Star Wars IV has been around for more than a quarter of a century, and most people interested have seen it a dozen times, the makers of Star Wars III are pretty restricted in their endings.

When the film ended last Saturday, I was filled with a deep sadness. Of course, this was where I knew it would end, where the film I saw in 1978 began, but I realized that it was Cup Final day and I was twenty-seven years older and the years had gone in a twinkling of an eye.

We walked down the street in silence, Michael pondering the intricacies of the plot and I in a deep melancholy.

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