The trials of the Star Wars fan don't end with an understanding of the films and an action-figure collection. Growing up with Luke Skywalker took patience, belief, and faith. Between 1983 and the early '90s, the "Story by George Lucas" credit appeared a few times on other movies, but always as a false apparition, a test.
Since 1992, things have been different. Lucas began licensing Luke, Leia, and Boba Fett to sci-fi writers and comic-book companies. Keeping a close grip on what they could touch (mostly the post-Jedi universe), he eased America back into the Star Wars habit. For a year, almost every book released with Star Wars in the title was a best seller. Then came a new series of action figures, a remastered video release, the Special Edition, and, now, finally, next month, Episode I. The faithful will be rewarded. But to those behind the line, there must be more: a pilgrimage, a celebration, a fast of sorts--one month of their lives.
Additional reporting for this story was provided by Dallas Observer staff writer Zac Crain.