I'd never looked forward to a film with greater anticipation.
From first word of George Lucas' planned return to the GFFA in 1997 (more like 1994, but 1997 was when I remember finding out) to the release of this final chapter (or so we thought!) of the saga in 2005, occasional official news, wild internet rumors, exciting media features, explosive trailer releases, incessant promotional and advertising content and endless speculative and reactive chatter among friends about this much-loved, much-derided tryptic of films, all slathered by my own unwavering excitement and interest from start to finish, followed me from age 11 to 19. From 5th grade to my freshman year at college. The prequels were attached to my life for the entirety of my adolescence. And this peculiar story of Anakin Skywalker uncannily reflected and even mirrored some aspects of my formative teenage years in ways that'll stay with me forever. That is why I am here to deliver this thread in semi-traditional fashion. The prequels are a part of me. In all of their narratively dense, brashly political, visually loaded, enchantingly scored, deviously subversive, dually high and low brow, universally mythical and grandly cinematic glory.
Around '03, AOTC had settled in my mind as my favorite of the films in the saga (still unseated). So I was full-on hard for the idea of that one final, new Star Wars film. Especially one expected to deliver on some of the most dramatic and macabre events of the saga we'd been imagining since the prequels were first announced.
The run-up to ROTS marked my first foray into the world of online message boards. I can't recall exactly how it happened but in the spring of 2003, around the time that the official site's Hyperspace subscription program was gearing up to give fans an inside look at the production of the film, I found myself at where else but...
. The Jedi Council Forums' 3SA forum, to be exact. And I was obsessed. When I had first arrived, there were threads filled with accumulated information based on leaks and gathered quotes from past interviews with cast and crew. But after those were quickly consumed in no time, I checked and scoured the 3SA forum every day after school for new bits of information about Episode III. And I drunk up heartily what I could for two whole years.
And, my friends, there was a glut to keep up interest and excitement for all that time: Insider magazine pics, fucktons of pirated Hyperspace content (no credit card at the time), spy reports and leaks (their release of which DP has and continues to so exhaustively and hilariously shed light on
), that fucking "Back in Black" behind-the-scenes promo video, bootlegged trailers from Peru, the glorious soundtrack leak and whatever the fuck caused a record 1,034 people to show up at
one April 21st! Was it the soundtrack leak? I forget.
For me, and I must make that distinction to be respectful of fans who didn't take to the prequels in the same way I did, it was a ride like no other. I was slurped up, violently masticated and fully digested by this latter half of the franchise. And as that May 19th date neared, it all reached an astounding fever pitch. I must've watched the variety of theatrical trailers, TV ads and official site making-of videos hundreds of times. I listened to those few tracks of the leaked score I allowed myself to listen to in a state of sheer bliss. And I tried to read everything I possibly could about this last and final episode. I was primed.
I don't recall the exact date. I believe the film was released a few days before the official May 19th date. At any rate, I attended the midnight screening with my oldest brother. There were some people I knew from my high school days in the theater. I had just completed my freshman year of college. One of them was a girl who I'd had an eye for but never really talked to back then. So I gathered up some rare courage. Me, who had an admittedly poor and embarrassing history in opposite sex relations, and coolly started up a conversation about her ROTS teaser poster t-shirt. We spoke for a good 20-25 minutes about a wide variety of topics before the screening began. I later learned through subsequent private messaging via "The Facebook" that she'd greatly enjoyed our conversation and my company that evening (we continued to exchange messages throughout the year but we ultimately fell out of touch). My brother probably saw me at my game and "forgot" to save me a seat next to him. So I ended up sitting alone almost uncomfortably close to the screen in one of the handicap seats. Then, the film started....
So, that's what I've got to say on this 10th anniversary of the release of ROTS.