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Sunday, December 13, 2015

By the time you read the next incarnation of this column, I’ll have watched a Star Wars movie.

A new Star Wars movie.

In the theater.

With my son.

I never thought I’d be able to type that.

As a longtime fan of George Lucas’ most famous creation, this will be a day long anticipated. I won’t say I don’t have some trepidation ... but I remain cautiously optimistic. For Sam, if not for myself.

We’re steeped in Star Wars, here. There’s a Millenium Falcon on our Christmas tree. (And a Death Star. And an X-Wing. And ... well, you get the picture.) The soundtracks are often heard in our home. (John Williams is a genius. If nothing else about the new movie is good, at least he did the music.) At any given moment, a pitched lightsaber battle may be taking place in the living room. (Pool noodle lightsabers: One of my better Pinterest finds.)

For half of the Halloweens we’ve celebrated with the boys, at least one costume has been Star Wars-related. Jim thought “The Imperial March” was a lullaby when he was a baby. We attend Star Wars Night at Coca-Cola Field every year. We have art, we have toys, we have clothing, we have kitchen supplies. (Really.)

Suffice to say that we’re two grown fans who are raising two young fans. This weekend ... it’s big. Really big.

My boys like the much-maligned prequels. They weren’t too keen on Jar Jar (although they didn’t hate him like most ... OK, all ... of the adults I know), but they loved the pod racing, the battle scenes, some of the characters. Of course, we’ve all watched the original trilogy countless times.

I don’t think Sam has quite grasped the fact yet that this is new. This is not one he’s seen a hundred times before. This is not one mom and dad watched a hundred times before he was even born. (Jim will get a chance to go a few weeks later, after we’ve vetted the movie and the chaos has calmed down.)

All new. Unfolding in front of his eyes. Maybe it makes me a geek (like the rest of this column didn’t!), but that very idea takes my breath away.

In its own way, Star Wars is modern myth. The hero’s journey, a story of good and evil, darkness and light. As human beings, we’ve told each other these stories for millennia down the line. This is the incarnation of that story for our time.

It’s led to conversations about fear and loss (“Why did Anakin go to the Dark Side, Mom?”), about friendship and honor. (“I think Han Solo came back because he knew he had to help.”) It’s been part of our lives. And for that, I’m grateful.

On Dec. 19, I will walk into a movie theater with my son. And we’ll watch a new Star Wars movie ... together.

And that’s priceless.

May the Force be with you, always.

+Jill Keppeler really, really hopes J.J. Abrams got it right. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at

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