Star Wars was an integral part of my childhood. I was too young to see the films when they first came out (I wasn’t even born when A New Hope was first released), but my love of sci-fi from an early age pulled me towards them. Unfortunately, in my formative years it proved near impossible to get to see any of the original trilogy from start to finish, for one reason or another. Instead, I had to wait for the “Special Edition” re-release to the cinemas. Even if it wasn’t the true Original Trilogy, it was still a special moment for me. After that, school finally got in the way and the only real contact I had with Star Wars was at my friends’ house. His mother’s boyfriend was fanaticalabout Star Wars – he had so much merchandise you couldn’t see the walls. I used to sneak a read of his comics if he was at work.

When I first learned the prequels were being made, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl. It may have been a disappointment to most but The Phantom Menace marked a turning point for me and so will always be special. 1999 was the year I left school behind for the Jedi Academy University and started to really grow up.

Although on reflection Episode 1 is not the greatest, at them time I loved it and immersed myself in every scrap of information about the “new” universe. I was fascinated by this glimpse into what that Galaxy, Far, Far Away was like before the Empire and the Rebellion. I guess it was always the back stories that interested me. Not the What, but the Why.

Episode II was released just as I was leaving uni and starting work. I remember finishing a radio show (I helped out on a show on local radio for a summer) late at night (about 10pm-ish, I think) on the night before it was officially released and heading down to the cinema in the hope there were still tickets for the midnight showing left. I was in luck.

Despite Anakin Skywalker being played by a moody plank of wood, Attack of the Clones blew me away. An army of Jedi. The start of the clone wars (and the first glimpse of the future Imperial Army). Jango freakin’ Fett. You can pick holes in the acting/directing/plot/effects all you want, but Ep2 is just a damn fun movie to watch.

Which leads us to the present day. Episode III. “The Saga comes full-cirlce”. The fall of Anakin and the rise of Vader. The fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. The end of the old Jedi Order. The end of an era – the final part of a series that has captivated people for 28 years. When the end credits roll, there will be mixed emotions. Joy at finally seeing the final piece in the puzzle, the missing chapter that completes the story. Sadness that it is the end.

There won’t be any more Star Wars after this. There is talk of a TV series, but it could never do justice to the mythology George Lucas has created. Star Wars belongs on the big screen. You can’t fit it into 30 minute TV episodes. It’s too vast, too detailed and too complex. It would be condensing War and Peace into a single page comic strip.

Part of me hopes that this is the end. This year I will be getting married. I find it fitting that the final Star Wars film is released this year, the year I will be starting a new phase in my life, with my new family. It’s like some big karma thing telling me it’s time to move on. After all, Star Wars was an integral part of my childhood – and I grew up a long time ago.