A New Hope

As if we need another storm.

The weather forecasters are talking about the possibility of a Nor’easter sweeping through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast later this week.

It’s not expected to be as strong as Superstorm Sandy, but that’s little comfort to those who are struggling to return to the daily routine the rest of us take for granted.

As I don’t really want to dwell on the possibility that my chainsaw might have more work to do in the very near future, I’m focusing my attention on something else Sandy swept aside other than New Jersey. And, I do it at the risk of annoying my fellow West Virginians who – with all the snow Sandy dumped – must think they’ve somehow been living on the ice planet Hoth.

Sorry. I couldn’t help making that comparison, but it was for a good cause. Now, it’s easy to pivot to a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

All the coverage of Sandy relegated news last week that Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas is selling his studio, Lucasfilm, to Disney. The deal is worth more than 4 billion dollars in cash and stock. And, Disney seems committed to making more Star Wars films.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

On one hand, I should be excited. I’m part of the Star Wars generation, after all.

As a 13-year-old, I made my Mom take my younger brother and me to the original 1977 movie. We waited in a long line that snaked down the street just to get into Charleston’s Capitol Theater. And, when we finally found seats and John Williams’ now familiar score blasted through the darkened theater, I was mesmerized. Not even my brother’s overdose on popcorn and candy could budge me from my seat.

Near the end of the movie, he whispered to me that he felt sick. I told him to go find Mom, who had taken a seat in the back of the theater. I was not about to miss the demise of the Death Star.

Since then, I’ve eagerly awaited each new film in the iconic series. But I was disappointed with the second trilogy and I’m not alone. Lucas seemed to have overlooked the fact that his audience had grown up.

Word of the Lucasfilm sale was made public the day after Sandy seemed stalled for hours over our house. My wife did the sensible thing. She rounded up our kids, our big, excitable dog, Rodney and, after a few minutes of panic while locating our fat, ornery cat, Skitty, she made them all go downstairs to wait out the storm.

I did the insensible thing. I stayed upstairs – bravely telling my wife that someone needed to keep an eye on the tree out front in case the storm broke it in two.

Actually, though, one of the Star Wars movies was on TV. It was “Attack of the Clones,” the second film in the prequel trilogy in which Anakin Skywalker goes from precocious kid to mouth breathing Darth Vader. I watched it until the power went out, remembered to check on the tree and then joined the rest of the family for a few hours sleep.

Even though I have issues with the movies that make up the second trilogy, I will clearly weather a superstorm to watch them. Maybe it’s because I’m hoping to see something I’d missed that would renew my faith in Lucas’ ability to channel the Force. However, it’s more likely that I merely feel a fan’s obligation.

But now, where Lucas failed, Disney has a shot at attracting a new generation of nerds to the ranks of those of us who grew up with the original Star Wars universe.

May the Force be with you, Mickey Mouse.

You’re my only hope.


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