Ask the people around you about their first memories of Star Wars. Many will tell you about how they saw A New Hope (known simply as Star Wars back then) in theaters in 1977—that’s the classic memory. But quickly, the conversation often turns to how they were so taken with the universe presented in the film that as soon as they had the action figures, they played with them for hours and hours, re-creating scenes from the movie or making up their own stories. Toys contribute hugely to the story, popularity, and influence of Star Wars, and a new short from director J.C. Reifenberg and producer James Arnold Taylor (you know, Obi-Wan Kenobi on Star Wars: The Clone Wars) titled Summer ’78 is all about how playing with Star Wars toys inspires one young boy.
Watch the charming as hell short and then jump past the poster for spoilers.
The boy in the video is J.J. Abrams (played by Hunter Leon). Awww! I can’t tell you how many times the story tugged at my heart. The wonder of making your own tales from whatever you have on hand and mashing together different franchises—not that we knew the word franchises when we were kids—is something most of us can relate to. The magic of continuing the Star Wars story in your own yard? There’s nothing like it, and it’s a joy to be reminded how that felt. Summer ’78 makes me want to take all my action figures off the shelf and outside.
The fact that the boy is Abrams is just icing on the cake. You probably noticed the nod to Star Trek, but the short is packed with other easter eggs. For example, the “secret hatch” Han, Luke, and Leia go down is a reference to Lost and the Super 8 camera is a nod to the film of the same name. What other easter eggs do you spot? Share them with the class in the credits.
Want to wax nostalgic with your own Star Wars memories? Do it up in the comments.
POSTER: Chris Dee