Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been hotly anticipated for well over a year now, but the Star Wars universe has had a long time to permeate fans’ lives. For some, it’s a way to connect with family and friends. Other see it as a perfect allegory for the human condition.
GeekWire talked to fans and families waiting to see the latest movie at two different theaters in Seattle last night for our Geek on the Street feature, asking them how Star Wars has changed their lives. First, here’s what people had to say at Regal Cinemas Meridian in downtown Seattle.
Ben Wade, Seattle, Film Producer
“My parents are evangelical Christians and they love Star Wars, and they use Star Wars as a frame to reference things they thought were true in a metaphysical world, which is interesting. But as a kid, it did really help me figure out a little bit about good and evil, what was in kind of my own brain and experience, and I think that’s pretty cool.
“As a kid, I did not gravitate toward the Bible at all, but I did gravitate toward Star Wars and so that was a way for me to connect with my parents in a very simplified kind of morality, where we could kind of coexist in a cool way. And that continues to this day. That’s a way that we can connect.”
Anna Gebarski, Seattle, Student
“I just love it a lot. My whole family is like very big Star Wars nerds. I’ve only ever seen the original trilogy, unremastered, because my cousins like to keep me pure. And I’m an aspiring costume designer, so that exhibit that was at the EMP, I think I went like three times and stayed for like eight hours.”
Andrew Dahl, Seattle
“I grew up watching it. I’ve played countless Star Wars games, watched the movies dozens of times, people I’ve met in person, it’s not just the Star Wars Universe itself, it’s the community around it.”
David Perrot, Seattle, Developer
“Star Wars was amazing. I grew up with Star Wars. I had VHS cassettes from when I was little, and I would always watch IV, V and VI. It was always like a family thing. We owned these copies. It got me more to believe the idea of space exploration and the heroic stories. It was just really enjoyable. Like, oh man, I don’t know how to describe it, because it’s so hard. I don’t think about my past a lot, but I always keep Star Wars in my heart. It’s always been like a childhood thing for me. The simple heroism, you have Luke as a good guy, you had all these characters like Han Solo changing from bad to good. It was a simple plot, and it was enjoyable, everyone was able to enjoy it.”
Aerin Night, Seattle, Android Software Developer
“Star Wars has changed my life by always reinforcing that there is two opposing sides. You’ve got the people working in a positive way and you have the people working in a negative way. And there’s no one person who is all dark and there is no one person who is all light. But it’s the choices that we make that define whether we’re the good guys or the bad guys, whether we’re light side or we’re dark side.”
Meanwhile, across town, the lines were long at Thornton Place Cinema near the Northgate Mall — but the theater actually wasn’t completely full for the early showing.
Those in line included Chris Diaz, a student at Shorewood High School; Chase Cote, also at Shorewood; and Quentin Lefebvre, 19, who attends Shoreline Community College.
“My dad always loved the Star Wars films — we always watched the movies in order,” said Chase, who was dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Explaining the appeal of the movies, he said, “It’s the feeling of adventure. It makes you feel like you have the ability to rise up against whatever you’re facing.”
Jeff Cavanaugh, Susan Bernauer, and Nick Gallagher of Seattle were first in line at Thornton Place. Why? “‘Cause you gotta get the good seat,” explained Cavanaugh, who is partners with Bernauer on a business called Barrett Street Upcyclers, which turns old computer parts into jewelry.
Cavanaugh had been to all six previous Star Wars movies on opening night or the first week, so he was also keeping a streak alive. Bernauer grew up in California’s Marin County, not far from Skywalker Ranch, but she says Jeff is the bigger Star Wars geek by far.
Gallagher, who met Cavanaugh and Bernauer in line, also spoke of his family ties to the movie: “My dad loved it when he was growing up, and it kinda grew on me.” He’s getting his master’s degree in education, and also serves beer at Safeco Field and Century Link Field.
Mark Brunke: “Star Wars was my favorite movie as a kid, so I’m very excited to see the premiere of the new movie.”
Carolyn Gross: “I saw it with my brother in 1977, and we bonded over it.”
Mark: “It’s fun to be with kids who are the same age that we were when we saw the first movie.”
Charlie’s opinion of Star Wars: “Awesomeness!”
Milo’s opinion: “It isn’t my favorite movie, but I respect the story.”
Elsewhere at the theater, Jennifer Conway of Seattle explained that the move had already had a positive impact on her family. “This movie has gotten us good behavior for the last three weeks — it’s almost as good as Christmas as an incentive.”
Megan and Nathan MacDonald, both 28 from Seattle, continued the family theme. “My dad was a huge Star Wars geek growing up, so I’m just continuing the tradition,” said Mark.
Megan said Mark insisted that she see the Star Wars movies. “He made me watch all six movies and the Clone Wars cartoons in one weekend.”
“After that,” Mark said. “I knew we were going to last.”