Today marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope hitting theaters, a pop cultural event so seismic that we're still experiencing the aftershocks today. All over the world, people are celebrating the franchise - flooding social media with memes, planning Star Wars viewing parties, churning out think pieces on what the whole thing means all these years later.
With that in mind, we thought we'd do something different: we'd like to hear about your earliest Star Wars memories. Everyone - and I do mean everyone - has a story about the first time they encountered those characters in a galaxy far, far away, and today seems like the best opportunity to share those stories with one another.
Here's mine: a year or two after Return Of The Jedi came out, my family took a trip to Disney World, to visit the newly-opened Epcot Center. I remember precious little about that trip, but I do recall badgering my parents into buying me a Gamorrean Guard action figure from a kiosk somewhere on Epcot property. I hadn't seen Return Of The Jedi at that point, but something about the Gamorrean Guard must've fascinated me (the tusks? That snout? The pronounced gut? His jaunty little helmet?) because I cherished that action figure for many years; for a while there, the Gamorrean Guard even "slept" in a shoebox in my bedroom. A few years after that, when I actually saw Return Of The Jedi for the first time, I was thrilled to see the Guard grunt his way onscreen, using a giant axe to forcefully prod Luke into the Rancor's lair.
Of course I've seen all the Star Wars movies at this point, and of course I've collected countless new Star Wars memories over the years (watching The Battle For Endor endlessly on VHS as a kid, arguing about The Phantom Menace in a Cinemark parking lot on opening night, tending bar the night The Force Awakens hit the Alamo Drafthouse), but the memory of a very, very young me stumbling across a Gamorrean Guard action figure at Disney World will always be my first and most fondest.
Alright. I've told ya mine. Let's hear yours. Hit the comments below and tell us all about the first time you encountered Star Wars: were you immediately sucked in? Did you see the movies out of order? Have you refrained from seeing any of the Star Wars movies for your entire life, and wish to publicly confess? Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars to the best of your ability in the space provided below.
Embarrassing photos are encouraged.