Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Force is strong with these excited 'Star Wars' fans (CCC feature)

Bret Sumner saw the original “Star Wars” film nine times in the theater between between 1977 and 1978.
Bret Sumner

“(It was) very impressionable for a 7-year-old at the time,” said Sumner, who is excited, but has “some trepidation” about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The seventh film in the “Star Wars” saga opens officially Friday, but there are special screenings tonight throughout the country, including in Norwalk and Sandusky.

“I hope it lives up to expectations, which may be too high,” said Sumner, who bought his tickets earlier for tonight’s showing near his Denver home.
Norwalk, Ohio resident Jerry Bickley also has been a fan since the first movie, now titled “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.”

Jerry Bickley
“I loved the spaceships most, particularly the X-Wing and the Millennium Falcon,” he said.

As a boy, Bickley used his imagination during the winter to recreate part of the universe set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

“I remember getting up in the middle of the night and taking my blanket, weighing the edges down with books and putting one end of it over the register, so when the furnace kicked on … the blanket would balloon up and make an awesome hangar for my ships and me to hang out in,” he said.

Like many fans, Bickley said he plans on seeing “The Force Awakens” — “but only after the initial onslaught of packed theater seats subsides.”

“I'm curious to see how all the characters from back then have progressed in the storyline,” he added. 

Michelle Turenne
Michelle Turenne, a fan since the first film, also plans on seeing the new movie, but not in the first week. The New York woman said she got “hooked because it is a great story and the cast was so believable.”

“We watched it so many times — on Betamax, for God's sake — and used to recite it, playing in the neighborhood. John's tree fort was the Millennium Falcon,” she said.

Shane Cartmill, of Columbus, remembers in the 1970s and 1980s whether he should believe his friends who told him that “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” were Episodes IV through VI in a nine-film series. (EDITOR'S NOTE: "Jedi" will be reviewed here at CCC once life slows down for me!)

“As I got older, and more info came to light, I realized it was true. Then I also realized that I may never actually know about the other six movies/chapters. So, it was the allure and intrigue of the unknown history and future that kept me as a fan long after I walked out of the theater in the mid-80s,” he said. 

Tony Schaffer takes a selfie with a Darth Vader mask.
Courtesy of Schaffer's Facebook page.
Tony Schaffer of Norwalk, is a dedicated “Star Wars” fan and self-professed nerd. He will be going to a showing tonight in Sandusky for “The Force Awakens.”

“I've been a fan for as long as I can remember. The allure of the Force, coupled with (the) sweet sci-fi technology was enough to hook me in for life. Episode 7 is exciting because the overall feel of the trailers and limited info we have on the film is similar to the original trilogy,” Schaffer said.

Turenne seemed to speak for millions of fans who say the original trilogy “is the story of my childhood — as Harry Potter is for that childhood age group.” 

“I'm excited about it; I hope and pray it lives up to the hype,” she said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This feature will be published in the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper (where Cary's Comics Craze blogger and webmaster Cary Ashby works full-time as a reporter). This story is part of a three-part "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" package in Friday's paper including a feature with non-spoiler interviews with fans who saw "The Force Awakens" in Norwalk tonight and a non-spoiler review. Check back on CCC for those. 


  1. "What's in there?"

    "Only what you take with you..."

    1. So obviously we're taking our own "Star Wars" baggage and what we expect into the new film. Great insight!