I was 11 when the original Star Wars came out in the UK, in Christmas 1977 - probably the most startling thing is that this was seven months after the US premiere. I have to confess, I didn't pay much attention to it, not least because the town in which I grew up didn't actually have a cinema [population was about five thousand], and since we didn't have a car either. Indeed, I think it was probably the best part of a decade before I actually saw it [this being in the days before VCRs, DVD players, Netflix and streaming video]. I thus have to confess, I didn't exactly grow up with it.
That said, it's hard to ignore its cultural impact. It was one of the first true "blockbuster" science-fiction films aimed at a popular audience [let's face it, 2001 isn't exactly going to get kids wanting to grow up to be spacemen], and its universe set a tone that is still hugely influential even today [Guardians of the Galaxy being a recent film, clearly drawing inspiration from Lucas's universe. That's the case even though the six films made to date are, shall we say, uneven in quality. The second trilogy, in particular, did as much to damage the reputation of the original movies as enhance them, and the prospects of ever seeing the series again seemed slim.
The purchase of the franchise from LucasFilm by Disney changed that, with the corporation so sure it will be a success, that all three episodes have directors signed, even before the first has been released. Anticipation has built steadily from there, in part behind the presence of J.J. Abrams as director, who resurrected the Star Trek film franchise, and in part due to the biggest marketing push I've ever seen. There seems little doubt this will be the biggest opening weekend in cinema history. The question is, what "legs" will it have? Will the film have the repeat viewing capacity to pass James Cameron's Titanic and Avatar?
Anyway, discuss away. This will likely be pinned for the course of the weekend. Spoilers are permitted, with the use of spoiler tags [the big black box icon!]. Anything smelling remotely like a spoiler that is NOT in a spoiler tag - even if it's a "joke" - will be ruthlessly excised and offenders sentenced to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special repeatedly. You have been warned...