In just two days, audiences can head to theaters to see the re-release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3-D. Regardless of how you feel about the much-maligned prequel, there’s no denying the Star Wars franchise made more than an impression on millions of moviegoers who experienced the magic of the first three films in theaters or on their TV screens. This week, EW‘s writers will be celebrating their complicated relationship with George Lucas’ beloved, yet contested, franchise with a series we call “How Star Wars changed my life.” And for those of you headed to the theaters this Friday… may the force be with you.
My first year of high school, my school’s homecoming theme was movies. When the freshman class voted to do Star Wars, I was in ecstasy. I immediately signed up for the float and cheer committees. (I was that kid.) I served as the Star Wars consultant as the float committee re-created Luke and R2-D2′s crash landing in the Dagobah system from The Empire Strikes Back. Even though our float was incredible — a chicken wire and papier-maché R2, dry ice for the fog, lots and lots of dirt, and even frozen fish sticks for Yoda’s dinner — the judges were biased toward the apathetic seniors and their lame Indiana Jones boulder made out of garbage and rubber bands. We did, however, win the cheer contest because its brilliance was undeniable: “Yoda, WHAT? Yoda, WHAT? Yo da losin’ team! We’re gonna get the Jabba done and take you to extremes!” READ FULL STORY