Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Two generations prepare for the force to awaken


With over 30 action figures, numerous book series detailing the expanded universe, four light sabers, and several model ships, senior Jordan Franks has exponentially grown his “Star Wars” collection.
Franks’ collection began in 1999, the year the first “Star Wars” prequel “The Phantom Menace” premiered. At the time, Franks was four years old.
Franks is now 21 years old and has already purchased his tickets to see the midnight premiere of the next “Star Wars” film, “The Force Awakens,” which is being released on Thursday.
Growing up, he said his older cousin and him would watch the three older films during family holiday parties around the same time the prequel films were premiering.
“When I was really little, I can just barely remember going to see the episode one in theaters, and it was awesome,” said Franks. “I saw every other prequel in theaters from then on.
Emulating his older cousin who collected action figures and even had a turtle named Yoda, he began to collect each of the film’s subsequent toys, Franks said.
“It’s quite a commitment, I think, to find the time and the money to collect things like that,” said Franks.
Looking ahead to the “Force Awakens” premiere, Franks said he has enjoyed how the trailers have not shown too much of the film since many trailers today show the entire plot of the film.
“I shouldn’t say the countdown’s already begun, since we have been counting down since it was announced,” said Franks.
He said he is excited to see new characters take the stage while also weaving some of the original favorites.
“Based on the trailer, it looks pretty great,” said Franks. “They’ve done a good job of combining the old story of the original films with the newer technology.”
Eric Rowell, assistant director of admissions and diversity outreach, criticized the prequels due to a heavy reliance on technology and characters that were not as compelling as well as the first film having a confusing title.
“It just seemed as if (director George Lucas) really wanted to sell the technology of today, and didn’t sell a great story,” said Rowell. “You got some great (actors), but the characters themselves they portrayed just left you very ho-hum throughout all three of the movies.”
Rowell said he became a fan of the “Star Wars” franchise at six years old when “A New Hope” premiered in 1977.
“It captivated America and the world,” said Rowell. “Though at that time, the only thing that mattered was America to me, since I didn’t know what the world was.”
Rowell has not watched any of the “Force Awakens” trailers so there will be no spoilers and, as of Dec. 11, plans on purchasing his ticket for a show on Saturday.
Rowell hosted a “The Force of Star Wars Gala” at the Figgie Art Museum in Davenport on Nov. 14 in preparation for the latest film, which had 70-90 attendees. The gala featured recreated memorabilia and artwork, original concept artwork as well as an actual Star Wars arcade game.
Rowell said brothers Chris and Steve Bornhoeft recreated artwork to specifications, including the new droid known as BB-8 in the latest film.
“It was spectacular to look at a life-sized Darth Vader and Chewbacca,” said Rowell.
Franks, who assisted Rowell with the gala, said the event very well with a collection of memorabilia that pales in comparison to his own.

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Two generations prepare for the force to awaken