Not so Solo: Families of Our Star Wars Fandom

Anna explores how Star Wars contributes to priceless family memories.

One of my favorite things about Star Wars is the way it can bring families together.  Sure, we may squabble over our feelings about certain aspects of Star Wars, however it is a tie that binds.  For me, Star Wars is forever intwined with my father, and, then, with my brother.  One of my first memories is the trash compactor scene in A New Hope.  I was maybe 3, I asked my dad what I was watching. He then explained everything – well, what we knew then – Star Wars to me.  When Return of the Jedi came out, I was 6.  Mom was pregnant with my brother and the family saw the movie three times in the theater.  Dad would come home from his early morning runs on Sundays, and we would jog together down to the corner store to get bagels and a pack of ROTJ collector cards.  If I was really good that week, I got two packs!  I have those cards to this day, and it was a real bonding activity with Dad. When the Prequel Trilogy came out, I waited almost three weeks to see it so my dad and I could see it together for the first time.  He picked me up from the airport and we went directly to the theater. My father has instilled the same love of Star Wars in my brother, Paul, though in a different way—they both read many of the novels from the post-ROTJ world. Plus, I found a lifelong hero in Princess Leia!

Return of the Jedi collector cards
Some of my card collection.

In 2017, I was turning 40, as was Star Wars, and I found out about Star Wars Celebration.  My dad had passed away in 2006, and my brother and I had grown closer, in part because of our shared enjoyment of Star Wars. When I decided that I wanted to go, I knew I had to go with Paul.  Mom thankfully supported this and helped defray some costs in the form of travel as birthday and Christmas gifts, something she continues to do. It has become our sibling trip, our time together: it’s just us. We regularly joke that if our dad were alive, we would be going as a family, and he would be getting VIP tickets because the crowds were not his thing, but he wouldn’t want to miss it. We know he will be with us in the Force when we go to Baatu for the first time as a family.  

Paul and I have made several friends through Star Wars Celebration. These friends have become our Star Wars family:  the people we slept next to on the floor in Orlando Convention Center, waiting to get into the live The Last Jedi panel, are now our line buddies for life; the people we waited in line with for HOURS to get into the store at SWCC; and, the folks that helped me complete my Women of Star Wars puzzle patch set. That is the family of Star Wars. We can’t wait to see all of these family members again at the next big reunion in 2022. 

Anna and her brother making silly faces at the panel for The Last Jedi.
Panel Time? Silly faces, of course!

Some of our Project Stardust sisters have had similarly fantastic familial experiences. 

Ashley said that she and her father also bonded over Star Wars books, reading the New Jedi Order series and Legacy of the Force series together. They have also attended every film opening since the Prequels together.  They recently watched and enjoyed The Mandalorian together.  

Rachel credits her mother, Audrey, as her biggest champion and geek supporter; her cousin, Cheryl, is responsible for her love of all things Star Wars.  Audrey cosplayed as Obi-Mom Kenobi on a mother daughter trip to Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019. As a pair, Rachel and her mother cosplayed Princess and General Leia. Rachel says “Star Wars has truly been shaped for me as a place where women are strong, family is what you make it, and the Force (love) is always there to guide you.”

Rachel dressed as
Rachel & her mother at Celebration.

Barbara says, “we are a Star Wars family with each one of us having our favorite aspects and characters.” She and her husband fell in love with A New Hope when it was released and have instilled that same love in their children.  The family, including two now-adult children, still gather from different parts of the nation to attend openings together.  They have all been to Baatu, though never as a whole unit, which they hope to rectify soon.  Barbara and her son share a love of Star Wars audiobooks, and she knows that if her son has a son, he will be named Revan. 

Stephenie shared “one of my earliest memories is asking if we can rent the movie with the teddy bears in it. I don’t know if Mom translated teddy bears to Ewoks because of something else I said or because she wanted an excuse to watch Star Wars. Either way, there is no denying that that moment led to our shared fandom. From painting Baby Yoda in a painting class together to her being my buddy for my first Star Wars Celebration – and now Galaxy’s Edge mother/daughter weekends – Star Wars is something that will always remind me of my Mom and our time together.”

May the force be with you, and your families, always.