The Joys of Modern Life: 23; `Star Wars'

AMERICANS ARE such lucky bastards. I've spent most of my adult life envying their huge cups of coffee, low-priced electrical equipment and 24-hour showbiz news cable channels, but I have never envied them more than I did on 17 November. Because that day, anyone in America who could take the day off work, be in line by 10.45am and pay $7 for entry to an Arab-bashing Denzel Washington film called The Siege, got to be among the first in the world to find out whether Ewan McGregor really knows what to do with a lightsabre.

The rest of us had to work much harder to see the new Star Wars trailer - waiting hours for it to download, watching it on a piddling screen, not being able to hear a word of Yoda's wisdom. But it was worth it. This is no simple movie trailer. After three years of secrecy, improbable casting rumours (at one point it was almost looking as if Brookside's Sinbad would be playing Obi-Wan Kenobi), leaked plots and silly, obviously made-up character names (even if Qui-Gon-Jinn turned out to be true), this felt like the first peek of flesh in the longest striptease of all time. So far, the verdict has been unanimous - va-va-voom!

I'd like to say that waiting for the new Star Wars film to appear makes me feel like a little boy again, but it's much better than that. The only way I made it to the pictures in those days was by tagging along with my big sister, which meant that I saw a ton of disco-flavoured musicals, but very little sci-fi. So, I improvised. Before seeing Star Wars, I'd familiarised myself with the plot by arranging the official trading cards scene-by-scene along the garage floor. The Death Star shoot-out didn't exactly leave me breathless, but I got the gist.

Like most kids, I loved Star Wars' shameless strip-mining of every space cliche in the book - robot sidekicks, hairy aliens, heavy-breathing villains - but it wasn't until years later that I came to appreciate its finer points. The sexy-but-incestuous sparks between Leia and Luke; the notion that an old geezer with an Oxbridge accent could take down an evil empire with what amounts to an elongated lava lamp; the scene showing an Imperial Stormtrooper banging his head on the ceiling; the fact that although he was making the coolest film of all time, George Lucas was the kind of man who made Steven Spielberg look like a hepcat.

More than anything, I love Star Wars for proving a fundamental truth about popular culture: adults know nothing. The studio almost ditched it, Harrison Ford thought he was above it ("You can type this shit, George," he told Lucas, "but you can't say it"), and it is to the detriment of this country's film industry that Lucas's sullen British crew openly referred to ape-like Chewbacca as "the dog".

It was left to the scruffy little idiots of my generation to see the magic in Star Wars. Which is why I get so angry when Ewan McGregor - a scruffy little idiot if ever there was one - starts complaining about how tedious it was to play Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan, you need reminding of something: you're such a lucky bastard.

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before