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A Long Time Ago: How I Found Star Wars

By Kat
Staff Writer

June 24, 2009

One day in 1999, as I was walking into the grocery store, I stopped and gazed up at a promotional display for Star Wars Episode I. A larger-than-life cardboard version of Qui-Gon Jinn loomed over me. I shook my head. What's up with this Jedi guy with long hair anyway? He's everywhere!

In 1999, Star Wars merchandise and promotional material truly was everywhere. Products like R2-D2 pizza boxes, Anakin Skywalker Pepsi cans, and Jar Jar Binks toothpaste littered shelves, invaded aisles, and dominated displays in the United States and around the world. Months after the film's release, Star Wars continued to dominate my world--dominate all of our worlds--and I didn't understand why. What's going on here? I wondered. I had never seen such a massive marketing frenzy in my life. One day in Fall 1999, months after the film's release, I found myself walking into a movie theater hoping to finally find out what all the hype was about.
Star Wars Toothpaste
Star Wars-themed toothpaste

Years earlier, I'd watched the Original Star Wars movies on television. Some cable channel was having a Star Wars marathon, so I tuned in. I didn't think much of the films. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either. I was either indifferent or totally oblivious to them. Or both. The films were just something else to watch on television. They provided me with an easy way to pass the time and nothing more.

Fast forward to 1997. Special Edition hit theaters and Star Wars was back in the spotlight. I wanted to see the films in the theater, but somehow never got around to it.

As I sat in the movie theater watching the opening crawl to Star Wars Episode I, I didn't know how much I would love the movie. I didn't know that in the years that followed I would read hundreds of Star Wars books and comic books, buy dozens of Star Wars actions figures, and launch two Star Wars fan sites.* I didn't know I was about to become a fan. But one thing that I did know was this: once and for all, I was about to give Star Wars a chance and try to find out exactly why millions of people cared so much about a galaxy far, far away.

*The two Star Wars fan sites are and

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