I was born in February of 1977—three months before the birth of Star Wars. I've never known a world without Jedi, protocol droids or Darth Vader. For 28 years, and now with the conclusion of the cinematic space saga, I've seen how a fictional galaxy far, far away has affected my view of the real one I'm living in right here and now.

My first life memory is of giant AT-AT walkers slowly thundering across the ice fields of Hoth—and seemingly out of the theatre screen, right at me. A toy Millennium Falcon nearly as big as I was and several 6-inch plastic Rebels were my best playmates for years longer than probably healthy. And on our way to Little League practices, my friends and I regularly reenacted dogfights versus TIE fighters in the back of my mom's station wagon.

The fascination didn't end there. Entire conversations my friends and I had using quotes from Jedi Master Yoda. In college, the only time I ever got in trouble was for loudly arguing with my roommate at 3 a.m. about whether or not the Rebels were briefed about Endor's indigenous life forms, the Ewoks (I say they weren't). And to this day, I often have actual dreams about Star Wars—of both being in and watching the films. (By the way, I've dreamt about seeing all three prequels before their actual releases and while the first two pre-release dreams were prophetically disappointing, my dream version of Revenge of the Sith was appropriately incredible.)

I know what you're thinking, so let's just get right to it: I'm a geek. I admit it. (But some important facts: No, I've never gone to the theater in costume or waited overnight in line for tickets. And yes, I have been on a date or two.) But I think these movies had such a powerful effect on me for ...

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