Editors' note: For the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we're exploring the many ways the sci-fi megafranchise has impacted our lives. Fans, of course, discover the saga at all ages. Here, some thoughts from one who got hooked early. (Disclosure: the author is the son of Jeremy Toeman, CNET's vice president of product and audience engagement.)
I was 8 years old when I first watched a Star Wars movie, in 2015. I knew most of my friends had watched "Star Wars: A New Hope" already, so I wanted to see it. My dad, my friend Wilder and I watched it on the huge screen in my house. I really liked "Episode IV," so I continued watching the Star Wars movies and became more and more of a fan.
I wear Star Wars shirts to school every day. I have also grown a real Padawan braid. It took me an entire year to grow it. I started in March 2016, and by the end of the summer you could see it, but it was still small. In December it was longer and more visible, and today it is down to my shoulder. It's very surprising that I do not know a single other person who has one.
To me, having a Padawan braid means I am a Jedi apprentice. I am just learning the ways of the Jedi. I am proud to be Padawan and am determined to master my light skills and connection to the Force.
I do not hold on to anger. Also, even in the hardest times, when I am getting ready to move across the country or someone is teasing me, I will continue to be proud. I just have to think how someone like Luke Skywalker, Jyn Erso, FN-2187 or Han Solo would handle a situation. They would probably focus on good things, or just say "I've got a bad feeling about this."
My close friends sometimes tease me about my Padawan braid, but they also admire how I know every fact about the Star Wars movies ever.
My favorite Star Wars movie of all time is "Episode VI, Return of the Jedi." I love the Ewoks, the lightsaber battle, the Ewok battle, the space battle. It makes me feel happy that there are (almost) no bad guys left. It is uplifting, and it has a very high Stormtrooper death toll. It is also sort of sad, though, because when Darth Vader dies, he turns all good and says he is sorry.
I hope I can rewatch a movie or two on the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, and if I can, this one will be on my list.
Star Wars at 40: CNET celebrates four decades of the Force.
Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.