New ?Star Wars,? new fanatic

Those who know me well know I have a tendency to obsess over things I like. Over the years, I?ve had ongoing obsessions with things like ?Full House? and the British royal family. Currently, I?m hardcore obsessing over a movie series I never really thought I would be interested in: ?Star Wars.?

Prior to August, my ?Star Wars? knowledge and interest was pretty limited. I figured I would watch it eventually, if only because I wanted to understand pop culture references to the series. I knew that someone was Luke?s father and thanks to my general psychology class last year, I knew Anakin Skywalker?s fate.

At the beginning of this school year, two of my friends found out my roommate and I hadn?t watched the six ?Star Wars? movies. They immediately decided to change that, and so began my current state of obsession.

Roughly every Friday night we would pop in an episode of ?Star Wars? and be taken back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

While I came into watching the movies with an open mind, I was definitely not expecting to love them as much as I do.

I love the story. I love the characters. I love the themes. I love the setting. I love ?Star Wars.?

Even though the prequel trilogy gets a bad rap and isn?t quite as exciting as the original trilogy, I was hooked from the beginning.

Prior to August, when I thought of ?Star Wars,? I thought of science fiction and space. Now I think of love, family, good, evil and redemption. The overall story of ?Star Wars? is truly compelling.

A lot of new ?Star Wars? fans are likely joining the fandom with the recent release of the seventh episode in the series. If you didn?t know ?The Force Awakens? is in theaters, then you probably haven?t watched television or entered a department store in the last three months, because ?Star Wars? is everywhere right now.

I wish I could say I am one of the fans who was committed before this new wave of popularity, but that doesn?t stop me from being a dedicated, new fan. Therefore, I was jumping-out-of-my-skin anxious to see ?The Force Awakens? as soon as Dec. 18 rolled around.

And, to many other fans and me, the new movie definitely lived up to the hype and expectations we set for it.

Without giving anything away, I?ll just say it was funny, poignant, sad at times, exciting, action-packed and overall entertaining. I loved revisiting the old characters and meeting the new characters (and becoming a fan of several new actors and actresses).

My favorite part about ?The Force Awakens? was the heart and nostalgia of the movie. Many ?Star Wars? fans my age and younger have never experienced the feelings that come with watching a ?Star Wars? movie in theaters.

When the blue words ?A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? appeared on the theater screen followed by the theme music and the iconic opening crawl, I felt shivers all along my spine and my heart skipped a beat. I?m not exaggerating.

With ?The Force Awakens? and the films that are yet to come, a new fan base gets to experience the thrill of ?Star Wars.? We don?t know what characters are related or where the story is going to go from here. We get to be just as surprised at things that happen in this new trilogy as the original audience was when (spoiler alert) they found out Darth Vader was Luke?s father and Leia was Luke?s twin.

I?m terrible at waiting. I want to know right now who Rey?s parents are or whether Kylo Ren will be redeemed. But that?s part of the thrill of being a ?Star Wars? fan. So until May 26, 2017, arrives, I?ll be reading fan theories and online forums like the ?Star Wars? nerd I am.

Bailey Kaufman is a student at Tabor College this fall. She can be reached at baileykaufman@tabor.edu.