Binary Sunsets

I was intrigued by a tweet from Simon Pegg this week that mentioned the Despecialized edition of Star Wars that a fan calling himself Harmy had created. This edit of the film aims to restore Star Wars as closely as possible to the movie that originally hit cinema screens in 1977 devoid of the CGI tweaks and re-edits from the 1997 Special Edition and 2004 DVD remaster. 

I could write a lot about Star Wars and Lucas’ apparently never ending desire to keep tweaking (and re-releasing) his movies but what Harmy’s re-edit stirred most in me was a desire to see my favourite childhood movie as it had been when I was a kid.

Having recently had a child myself, I can’t help but wonder how Henry’s childhood years might pan out. What will be his favourite film? What will he enjoy doing? What will he be interested in? What will he want to be when he grows up? All questions that I can instantly answer for myself both as they are now and as they were when I was a boy.

Back to Star Wars and my favourite scene both then and now was the scene often referred to as Binary Sunset possibly on account of the John Williams score that accompanies it.

Luke has been told by his Uncle that he has to remain as a farmhand for yet another year, dashing his hopes of joining the academy and becoming a star pilot. Aunt Beru has made a cryptic comment about Luke’s parentage and suggested that Luke is just not destined to be a simple farmer. As the two suns of Tatooine set, Luke reflects on his predicament. He desires so much to move away from the farm and head for the stars (quite literally) but his heart is heavy, knowing that his dreams are looking like remaining unfulfilled.

The scene struck a chord with the 5 year old me as it still does with the 32 year old me. What is my destiny? When the sun sets, what am I looking towards?

In 1985, the answer was simple – my destiny was to become a Jedi Knight too (that or a NASA astronaut anyway) but in 2012 it’s much less clearly defined. Am I the person I wanted to become? Was my destiny to become a husband, a parent, a middle manager?

I wonder if, after Return of the Jedi, Luke sat down and thought “I’m Vader’s son, I’m Leia’s brother and I’m a Jedi Knight. That’s it, that’s my destiny fulfilled”. I kinda hope not and that actually, every time he looked out as the sun(s) set, he thought “right, what’s next?”

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