Sure, the extended trailer was a thrill ride - though my facial reaction would make my stoic German ancestors proud. And, yes, the Japanese trailer fulfilled the desire to have more insight into the actual storyline of the film. But it was the Duracell commercial that got to me. A commercial! For a battery! Yet, there they were - those two kiddos wielding lightsabers, taking-on the entire (literally!) First Order - bringing a slight precipitation to my eyes. What is it about this film, this saga, these characters, that tug the heartstrings of a middle-aged, working class man? How is it that a staged and scripted sixty-second bit featuring kids doing cosplay can instantly transport me to the backyard of my childhood home, where friends and I would take part in equally epic battles? Back then, Travis played the role of Luke Skywalker, and I donned my dad's suit vest for my role as the swashbuckling Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon. And whether it was wave-after-wave of Stormtroopers, or a daring confrontation with Darth Vader, we triumphed. Again. And again. And again. Those days were the centerpiece of my childhood - leaving an indelible mark on my heart and mind.
As Disney unfurls the Star Wars franchise in epic fashion, and the world holds its collective breath until December 18, I am reminded that the films, the books, and the toys will always be second to one's imagination. That, and the fact that apparently Stormtroopers still can't shoot accurately...