In less than 24 hours, the final entry in the Star Wars Skywalker Saga hits UK cinemas. The Rise of Skywalker opens at midnight, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve been a fan of the Star Wars films since as far back as I can remember. I was born in 1981, a year after The Empire Strikes Back (1980) made its debut, and I grew up watching the original trilogy, the Ewok movies, and the Droids/Ewok cartoons.

How much did I like Star Wars as a kid? Well, here’s a little flashback to the ’80s. I’m the little Chewbacca at the front, being all Star Wars-y on Christmas Day.

In the mid ’90s I bought the remastered editions of the Star Wars trilogy on VHS and in ’97 I went to the cinema to watch the Special Editions. Two years later, when The Phantom Menace opened in theatres, I watched the movie four times across summer ’99.

I watched Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith twice, in 2002 and 2005 respectively, and in 2008 I even went to the cinema to watch The Clone Wars movie. And yeah, that movie was pretty bad.

With the arrival of the Disney-era of Star Wars movies, I started attending midnight screenings for each new release. Seeing a Star Wars film during the early hours of the morning, surrounded by like-minded people, was a magical experience (and also involved a lot of popcorn).

The only exception to the midnight screenings was in 2018, when I attended a 4am screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Yep, 4am. And I even went straight to work after the screening and did a full shift until 6pm.

For The Rise of Skywalker I’m back to a midnight performance, but this time it is being proceeded by a screening of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Hey, if this is the end of the road for the Skywalker movies then I’m seeing the Saga out in style with a triple bill!

The Star Wars films have been a huge part of my life and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to share them with friends and family throughout the years. Star Wars is something which brings different generations together and means so much to so many people, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

On Thursday morning, I’ll publish my thoughts on the new movie. But until then, may the Force be with us all.


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