star wars was a huge part of my childhood. like most kids from that era, i spent countless afternoons making tie fighters and x-wings out of legos and zooming around the house with them. i was utterly fascinated and consumed with the star wars universe in a way that only a kid can be. when a young and supple imagination catches fire like that, it is almost like imprinting. judging from the cultural impact of Star Wars on my generation, i’d say i’m far from alone in my experience. as time passed, i came to feel that star wars was a phenomenon for my generation alone. i remember working at a charity fundraiser for children when i was an undergrad at ucla and being shocked at how the kids i met didn’t even know who luke skywalker was. they kept talking about teenage mutant ninja turtles. at the time, i had no idea what they were talking about…
then a strange thing happened- my generation grew up and started having kids, and star wars came back. george lucas cranked out the star wars prequel trilogy, and all of a sudden i’m surrounded by little nephews who zoom around the house with lego star wars spaceships. the only difference is that everything is better now. for starters, the lego spaceships look way cooler. nowadays lego actually markets a specific line of lego star wars kits! by the way- those super specialized lego pieces are cheating as far as i’m concerned- hardly any imagination needed.
i have to wonder about the gap though. what about all those people who grew up between my generation and my generation’s kids? is it a coincidence that star wars blew up again just as my generation started having children, or was it a push that was planned out? i have to wonder because every time i buy one of those star wars lego kits for a nephew i think i’m partially doing it because i know from personal experience how much fun he is going to have.
fortuitous timing or marketing genius?