When we were little, Bart and I loved Star Wars. I'm just old enough to have seen A New Hope in the theater, though definitely during a re-release (probably 1978 or 1979). Our dad is a fan of science fiction, so we saw all three of the originals almost as soon as they hit the theater.
When we got cable tv in the early eighties, any time Star Wars was on HBO, we watched it. We had, get this, an audio tape of A New Hope that we used to listen to all the time. We played Battleship, we listened to the tape. We played legos, we listened to the tape. We had that thing memorized and would say the lines along with the characters.
As adults, we were excited when Lucas Films decided to do Episodes I-III. We were disappointed when they sucked so badly. We were excited when they re-released the remastered with additional scenes episodes IV-VI. We were shocked and annoyed when Lucas sold the franchise to Disney, but excited when Disney announced the new episode would arrive in theaters in December 2015.
It was not long after that announcement that Bart was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. He died in April 2015.
He didn't get to see The Force Awakens.
There are a lot of things I hate about cancer, but one of the things that I hate the most is that Bart won't get to see episodes VII-IX. That probably seems like a strange thing to hate about cancer, but if you knew Bart (and some of you reading this do), you know how much he loved Star Wars.
Several years ago, he bought like 5000 pieces of Legos off of eBay (because he also loved Legos, and he really loved Lego Star Wars). Probably a good 200 of those pieces were Stormtroopers, several Darth Vaders, and a few other characters. I remember the Stormtroopers in particular because 1. he thought the Stormtroopers were the coolest anyway, and 2. I actually built a Lego Stormtrooper honor guard for his memorial service.
In case you doubt me:
When December 2015 came and The Force Awakens released, we were all pretty excited to see it. Jeff, Liam, and I saw it a few days after it was released, and then the three of us went to see it with my parents a few days after Christmas. While we enjoyed it, we were definitely somber as we left the theater. No one said it, but we were all thinking about the missing person in our midst.
When Carrie Fisher died last year, I cried. The Princess, the General, was gone. I knew then that I would probably cry during episode VIII. I told several people I would be taking plenty of tissues with me.
Last night, Jeff , Liam, and I went to see The Last Jedi. I was very excited and prepared with paper napkins from the lobby. I didn't know when the tears would start, but I knew they would at some point.
Excitement mixed with sorrow is a weird feeling. It took all of three seconds for tears to run down my face. Happy tears because here it finally is! Sad tears with the (overdramatic but legit) thought that "I'm watching this for my brother." More tears when the third sentence of the opening crawl began with "Only General Organa..."
I think I quit crying about two minutes into the film, but it wasn't the last time. There is a certain scene with Luke Skywalker that immediately made me wonder what Bart would have thought. If I had to guess, it would have involved a jaw drop and use of the word "fuck."
I miss not being able to talk to Bart about the new movies. I wish I could talk to him about Poe and Rey, Han Solo's death, the theories that Ben Solo and Rey were actually twins, how Carrie Fisher's death might affect the last film, the lack of Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens, what The Last Jedi might lead into for Episode IX, and so many other things.
There are so many things I miss because Bart is gone, but I miss him most acutely when a new Star Wars movie comes out.