(Yes, it's me. Now, I wouldn't dare call myself one of the area's biggest Star Wars fans. We obviously have some hardcores in our midst. Still, I couldn't help doing this myself — in spite of that old journalistic adage about never making yourself part of the story. I mean, it's Star Wars. It was useless to resist.)
Hometown: Fairport (I've lived in Auburn for nine years now)
How did your Star Wars fandom begin? It actually began with the action figures. I remember playing with my cousins' Star Wars figures, specifically Stormtroopers, Rebel soldiers in their Hoth gear and a Bib Fortuna whose head could barely turn because of that snaking skin ponytail thing he has. This would have been the late '80s. So "Star Wars" held this curious fascination for me for awhile — until 1997, when I finally saw "A New Hope," albeit the Greedo-shoots-first edition, in theaters. After that, I couldn't get enough.
How many times have you've seen the movies? I've seen the original three movies probably 20 to 30 times each, and the prequels maybe three times each.
What's your proudest Star Wars possession? I'm really not much of a collector. I've probably gotten the most use out of its video games: I played hundreds of hours of "TIE Fighter" when I was a teenager, and loved "Rebel Assault II" because it had the first new live-action "Star Wars" footage filmed since "Return of the Jedi." (Granted, said footage was "Holiday Special" levels of cheese.) For that same reason I also loved "Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II," which I believe was also the first game to let you play as a Sith — lightning hands, Force chokes and all.
Who's your favorite Star Wars character? In the video game vein, I'm going to say Darth Nihilus ("Knights of the Old Republic II"). Past the saga's main players, visual design is often the major characterizing force in these movies. And Nihilus is the best-designed, I think. Plus that name! Although, now that Disney has made expanded universe stuff like "KOTOR II" non-canon, he may no longer exist.
Which is your favorite Star Wars movie? "The Empire Strikes Back." Thirty-five years later, it only seems even more daring to release a blockbuster that just hammers the good guys the way "Empire" did. Hoth is the saga's best battle, Luke vs. Vader its best lightsaber fight — it's superlative beginning to end.
The prequels: Yay or nay? And why? Nay. Aside from the lightsaber fights, whose choreography can't be denied, there are just too many marks against them: Cringey dialogue and acting, anachronistic technology, Midi-chlorians.
How do you feel about "The Force Awakens" and all the other new movies? I'm optimistic. Abrams is generally a smart storyteller, and I think there are enough lessons from the prequels for him to heed to make the new trilogy something special. I've got a bad feeling about Han Solo surviving this first movie, though...