Three generations of Star Wars fans “Share the Force” and memories of growing up in a galaxy far, far away

Since 1977, we’ve all shared one thing… the Force! Find your place in the Star Wars galaxy of memories.

In honor of Force Friday and the countdown to a whole new world of toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we wanted to celebrate and reminisce about our favorite moments of growing up with Star Wars together! We asked fans to tell us about the first or most memorable Star Wars figure they ever owned – or the ones that got away. Read a few of the fun and moving stories that were shared, and be sure to add your own in the comments below!

“My older brother had ALL of the figures from the original Star Wars and he let my other brother and I play with and destroy them. All those collectibles are in pieces, in the ground, and lost forever. #ForceFriday will #NeverForget 😛 Until then, here’s my son’s first Sideshow Collectibles figure… STAR WARS of course!”

–Lauren Hilton

“My husband had a HUGE collection of vintage Star Wars toys when I met him. He’s always been a big fan of Star Wars, with everything Empire Strikes Back as his favorite. Most of his collection was of loose figures, some carded. But, he sold his entire collection to buy my wedding ring! He sure does love me! 🙂 He is now getting back into collecting Star Wars by collecting 1:6 scale ESB figures!”

–Paige Law Arnold

“One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was to go to a local toy store chain where I lived. I was always told I could pick out one figure, and I would just stand there for an hour or so and try to figure out which of the awesome characters I was going to take home. My first figure was Chewbacca, not because he was my favorite but because he was one of the only “good guys” left on the display.

Once the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ came out everything changed. I remember getting the Battle Damaged X-Wing and the Imperial Attack Base along with almost all the figures from those years. I wanted to re-create the opening battle on Hoth. I would take apart a pillow and use the stuffing as the snow and would arrange a huge battle on top of my dresser. By then I just couldn’t get enough Star Wars, and we were always talking about it in school.

When ‘Return of the Jedi’ came out in 1983 I loved the new look Skywalker was sporting, and Leia in the Boushh Disguise was pretty awesome. I will say however that once the Ewoks came along my excitement for the Kenner line of Star Wars figures waned. My brother was a couple of years younger than me and they seemed to be more his style. Fuzzy little bears? REALLY?

Then came 1999 and the prequel trilogies. I remember the night the new toys came out, Toy R’ Us opened at midnight for a huge release. I was 24 at the time and felt pretty weird going out at midnight to buy toys. Once I got there I knew I wasn’t going to be considered weird any longer. I wasn’t even the oldest there. That was when I knew it was ok to be geeky and a Star Wars toy collector. I came home after spending a couple of hundred dollars and had the fever once again.

I’m 40 years old now and the biggest and best change to my collecting came when I was introduced to Sideshow Collectibles and their Star Wars line. That feeling I got when I picked out my first Kenner Star Wars figure came flooding back when I bought my first Sideshow piece. I’ve been a huge fan of the Clones from the prequels so it seemed to be a perfect choice when I got the Clone Trooper Commander. Thirty Seven years of Star Wars collecting on and off and it seems like I’m just getting started. We’ll see what Force Friday brings to the table.”

–Michael Hockenson

“Hammerhead was my most memorable Star Wars toy. My younger sister flushed him because ‘he looked like poop.’ Now my daughters play with their Rebels figures in my Falcon.”

–Phill Scott

“The first figure I ever had was an old Jar Jar binks (XD). I honestly have no clue where it came from before my older sister gave it to me, but I still have it on my “Nerd Shelf” along with a few other random Star Wars figures I’ve picked up since then. :)”

–Lego Cantina

“In 1978 my parents were going through a rough time. It was Christmas and they were separated. I remember being asleep in my bed and hearing noise coming from the living room. I snuck out to see my father with a bag of gifts. My mom was complaining about him buy my sister and I so much stuff. I remember him saying that it was “stuff from that space movie he likes so much.” Then he left and went to the apartment where he was living. I rushed back to bed only to not sleep a bit. I felt bad for him because my father loved Christmas. Hours later I got up and ran to the tree! My father got me an S-wing, a blue lightsaber, and at least one of each figure they had out then. They were my first Star Wars toys and I still have some of them today. My parents eventually divorced, but I remember that Christmas well!”

–Ben Grimm

“I had loads of the Palitoy/Kenner figures when I was a kid. But my most cherished memories of Star Wars toys are my parents giving me an X-wing on coming round in hospital after having my tonsils out, and playing out the Endor chase scene with my brothers with the “exploding” ROTJ speeder bikes. My favourites now are my MOC ESB Vader (which I’m hoping to have David Prowse sign in December) and the Legacy Collection Stormtrooper that was on my wedding cake.I literally haven’t had a birthday or Christmas since the special editions were release in ’97 where I haven’t received at least one Star Wars related present. And, I love it.”

–Graham Densham

“Growing up I watched several movies on a daily basis. Wizard of Oz and Jedi were on the same tape, since that was the age of recording everything you rented onto blank tapes. I adored those movies and still do. When George Lucas released his first wave of special editions in 1997 I couldn’t wait to see Return of the Jedi on the big screen. It was easy to convince my dad to take me so off we went and it was glorious. Finally, seeing a Star Wars movie the way it was meant to be seen, I was 100% hooked from that point on. I was always an action figure kid growing up, and my obsession with the Power of the Force line skyrocketed at this point. I still have most of those toys in storage and also have around 50 still mint in box. I’m waiting for my son, who could be born any day now, to hopefully catch the bug. I’ve hung my PoTF Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 in his nursery already. I’m a Jedi, like my father before me… and eventually my son will be too.”

–Sean Mosser

“I gave the almost complete set of vintage line figures to my boys to enjoy when they were old enough (yes, even the rare weapons and all!) and it was very much the right thing to do. They took good care of them and now we have some displayed and some packed away. Hoping there’s a 1/6 Landspeeder in the works sooner or later and that our family has the display space and funds to procure one.”

Jeremy Sniatecki

“My mother passed away in 2003. 20 years earlier, she and I went to see Return of the Jedi. I was so excited that I went into the theater by myself while she was buying popcorn. She spent the first 20 minutes of the movie with an usher and a flashlight looking for me. Seeing that movie with her was an amazing experience. Two weeks later she had to work at night. She said, “If you be good tonight, I’ll give you an early birthday present.” She pulled out the ROTJ Luke Skywalker figure. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I played with that figure til the sun came up. I obviously kept the original for years, but I keep a carded one because of the amazing memories of those days with my mother.”

–Jason Martin

“As a child (and to this day), my primary Star Wars obsession has always been with the weird background characters with no dialogue in the background. Sure, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were pretty cool, but what about that giant snail dude in the cantina, Hammerhead? Or Jabba the Hutt’s cackling pet monkey lizard, Salacious Crumb? Those guys were my JAM. Attached, as evidence of my C-Lister Alien Fandom, is a photo of myself, with Josh and Robert (of course), and our sisters as the iconic cast of Star Wars on Halloween. As you can see, we covered all the classics – Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Yoda, The Emperor, a Stormtrooper, and me – Max Rebo, the blue elephant keyboard player from Jabba’s Palace. Nobody knew who I was that Halloween, but *we* knew, and it was the greatest. That’s STAR WARS to me.”

–David Server