Ask a “Star Wars” fan about their excitement for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and you get a gamut of reactions.
Some are skeptical. Some are ecstatic. But most share one thing: Their love for the original “Star Wars” in 1977.
“I was raised on it,” said Wichitan Lon Teter. “ ‘Star Wars’ has been part of my life my entire life.”
Jason Isaacs said he “would dress up as Stormtroopers and Darth Vader on Halloween. I had all the little gadgets and ships. You can say I'm a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan.”
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Derek Richardson, who owns Hero Complex Games and Entertainment in Wichita, is such a big fan of “Star Wars” that he saved the “Star Wars” sheets he had on his bed as a child.
“I have been a fan since age 5,” he said proudly. “And it’s never gone away.”
Brian Johnson, a middle school teacher, says he is such a big fan of “Star Wars” that he uses it in his lessons to teach storytelling.
“It’s based in mythology and folklore,” he said. “And so I teach my students how to understand that and see that in different Hollywood movies and books.”
The new trilogy of films started in 2015 with “The Force Awakens,” which was a critical and commercial hit (thank goodness). It’s total domestic gross was more than $936 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s a lot of Jedi pocket change.
It was a welcome relief for fans.
“I really love ‘The Force Awakens,’ ” Teter said. “It was a great story and I’m really excited to see where the story goes from there.”
That film brought back some of the beloved people from the original trilogy, and fans are anxious to see them again, said Daniel Burns.
“‘Star Wars’ is about family and friends,” he said. “And we get to see all these recurring characters from the original trilogy, Luke, Leia, C-3PO, R2D2. That’s exciting.”
But some fans are skeptical, many feel that they were burned by the pre-quels trilogy that started with “The Phantom Menace” in 1999, which was pummeled by critics for weak storytelling. Some fans, such as Daniel Touchatt, think that mediocrity has spread to other franchises, as well.
“The quick buck seems to be the motivation behind many franchise movies these days,” Touchatt said. “We’d all prefer quality.”
He will still see “The Last Jedi,” though.
“I’d love it to blow me out of the water,” he said. “I am planning on it to leave me feeling, ‘eh, it was decent.’ ”
But most are eagerly awaiting “The Last Jedi” and the story it will tell. Blake Attebury says he is “super excited.”
“I'm looking forward to seeing Luke Skywalker’s return, definitely,” he said.
When asked about his favorite thing in the new trilogy, he replies “definitely Kylo Ren. He has this teenage angst that I think everyone has felt at one point in time. I also feel that his character is strangely polarizing of politics and the dangers of finding yourself infallible.”
Not much of the story of “Last Jedi” is known, but Johnson thinks it could have similarities to “The Empire Strikes Back,” the second film in the original trilogy.
“The second one’s always kind of the crisis-of-faith movie,” he said. “I mean you look at ‘Empire,’ that was one of the first movies that I remember that actually had a dark ending to it. Everybody got together at the end, except for Han Solo, but yet everybody was essentially licking their wounds at that point.”
Isaacs has his own theories, that the film could focus on Kylo Ren being a “fallen hero, so to speak. Or maybe Luke will redeem Rey out of the the dark side. Anything’s possible. I’m very intrigued to find out who the heck Snoke is.”
It’s fun to guess where it is all headed, but most fans are trying to avoid actual spoilers.
“I want to see it as it unfolds,” Richardson said, and he’s going in with no predilections.
“I don’t really have any wants or desires from it, other than just be good,” he said.
And really, that’s what all the fans want. Burns probably sums it up best:
“Nothing gets better than ‘Star Wars.’ ”
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
Showing at: Chisholm Trail 8 (Newton), Derby Plaza, Hutchinson Mall 8, Movie Machine, Warren East, Warren 21 at Warren East, Warren West, Warren Old Town.
Call theaters for showtimes.