I saw Star Wars for the first time in Denver at The Cooper/Cameo. I was eight or nine. My friend's mom had heard it was good and offered to take my friends and I to a matinee. I had never seen a move at the Cooper. None of us knew anything about the movie. All we had to go on was a small Star Wars logo in the movie listings. I imagined it was going very boring -- the stick ships in 2001 Space Odyssey but lobbing lasers at each other. I would have preferred to spend that time building my own properly cool Lego space ships and imagining my own star wars. But everyone was going so went along expecting the worst. As far as I was concerned adults had no imagination. There was a huge line wrapping around the theater. We waited for a while before we discovered that it was the line for people who already had tickets. The boredom came on quickly. We waited, and waited, and waited to get in. What a waste of an afternoon I thought.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
I have lost count of how many times I have seen Star Wars since then. A time came when bragging about that number was no longer cool. There's a missing scene in the very beginning of the movie that I remember vividly, but have never seen since that first time in the theatre. It nags me every time I watch it.
Sarah and I rented the DVD last night and I described the scene to her. No one has ever acknowledged seeing the scene in all the times I've brought it up. It's been surreal all these years knowing with a child's sense of certainty that I saw it with my own eyes, but never having anyone else verify that it ever existed. Maybe I just imagined it. On the one hand it would be a satisfying measure of the vividness of my own imagination. But on the other hand I know I actually saw it.
I vaguely remember dialog between Luke and Biggs on Tatooine about the Academy and the Rebellion. Was Biggs trying to recruit Luke? Too dusty a memory. Some time later we see Luke looking up at the stars through his binoculars in the afternoon sun. This part I remember vividly. In the view through the binoculars there's a couple small dots with with narrow red and green lines zapping back and fourth between them. He's watching the Star Destroyer overtake Princess Lea's Corellian Corvette.
We hadn't quite had enough when the movie was done, so we watched it again listening to George Lucas' commentary. At long last I have some external confirmation. I transcribe the evidence here in Lucas' own words so I can finally, with all the childish righteousness I can muster, say to everyone and no one in particular "I told you I saw it! I told you!"
The story starts with Princess Lea & Darth Vader and sets up the premise of the move which is their stolen plans to a death star. But once we get past that little piece of exposition we follow the two most insignificant characters, which are the droids. ... I really wanted to have the film be led by the droids. And when some friends of mine read the screenplay they were adamant that I not do that. ... But I loved the idea. And even though I shot those sequences which were about Luke and setting up Luke at the very beginning of the movie and that sort of thing, I never liked it and I never wanted them in the movie so I basically kept it the way I originally wrote it.
The first cut of the film had the inter-cuts of Luke on the planet with what was going on in space. But it just wasn't the movie I wanted to make. I mean I wanted to make it about this kind of odd couple and tell the story from their point of view. ... At the time it was a very bold idea ... to have the first half hour be mainly about robots."
While digging for other evidence I found a picture of Luke and Biggs on Tatooine