1981 (aged 5): My first outing to the cinema with my big sister. We watched a re-run of Empire. Images I remember: Luke’s sandy Bespin outfit, an ice planet, Vader’s big head against the stars (which I thought was disembodied).
1982 (aged 6): Playtime at Matthew’s house. I brought my two figures: 2-1B and Bespin Luke. He had more, including an AT-AT. Having a Star Wars figure in my hand and playing with it on Matthew’s living room carpet brings me a new experience of happiness.
1982, Christmas (aged 6): AT-AT. My joy is full.
1983 (aged 7): Return of the Jedi at the cinema.
1984-1986 (aged 8-10): My Star Wars collection continues to grow. Most days after school are spent with the neighbour boys setting up our figures. We enjoy Star Wars cosplay (not that we called it that). I am very proud of my Han Solo blaster and worship Harrison Ford. Parties are Star Wars parties (when they are not Indiana Jones parties). A New Hope on videotape is watched at least a hundred times. As we have the only VCR in the neighbourhood, I am very popular.
1987 (aged 11): I play with my figures for the last time.
1989 (aged 13): I rent Jedi and cry at the end, realising that Star Wars is over.
. . .
1994 (aged 18): Start playing the Star Wars RPG. I create a character whose name I will not utter here (too sacred). The joy of pure geekery overfloweth. (N.B. I also have a girlfriend at this time.) There are even rumours of new films.
1996 (aged 20): On my mission I see a Time magazine article about the Star Wars Special Editions. The X-wing/swamp scene makes an appearance in Zone Conference. John Williams is constantly playing in our apartments. Elder Olsen and I act out the Vader/Luke scene from Empire in ward FHE. As the great secular myth of our time, Star Wars is a constant peg on which to hang many of our beliefs.
1997 (aged 21): The day after I get back I watch A New Hope: SE at the cinema. Great timing!
1999 (aged 23): I spend six hours downloading the P****** M***** trailer on dial-up.
. . .
I will stop there as you know what is coming next. The truth is, the awfulness of the prequels did not dawn on me straight away, so dazzled was I by the fact of new Star Wars. It was probably during Attack of the Clones — when arthritic Yoda became a ninja while fighting D**** — that my heart finally sank as the horror of it all smashed through the cognitive dissonance.
For those of us who have lost our faith in Lucas, how are we to prepare for the Fourth Coming of Star Wars?  I feel an impulse to convene a Canonical Council, to decide which iterations of Star Wars to include, and which to reject as heresy. And so, Star Wars friends, please help me out. Having thus established the best of Star Wars, we can then watch the forthcoming Rebels show, and then the Abrams movies with hearts and minds prepared to discern good from evil, truth from error.
I would start with the Tales of the Jedi comics from Dark Horse, which provide a sense of the age and scope of the Old Republic. What other pre-Prequel EU stories should be included?
It is hard to know what to do about the Clone Wars. I actually liked the (2008-) animated series but it ultimately fails because no-one cares. (The 2003 Cartoon Network series is better in this respect, simply offering short stories from the conflict.) Do we just keep the Clone Wars a mystery and utterly ignore the rise of Palpatine? Anything with J**** L***** or H*****C********** in it is obviously to be condemned.
Having arrived at the rebellion, our next dilemma is what to do about the Special Editions (Han shot first!). I like the digital clean-up but otherwise cannot bear Lucas’s lame additions. The originals on Blu-ray, please, Disney! Between Empire and Jedi, the possibilities of the EU can be enjoyed by reading Shadows of the Empire.
And then we wait to see what JJ can do.
You are a latter-day Council of Jamnia: What stays and what goes?
1. As anyone or anything only found in the prequels is obviously non-canonical, I will not name them here. H*****C**********’s appearance as a Force ghost at the end of the latest edition of Jedi really is an abomination of desolation.
2. First: The Original Trilogy; Second: The Expanded Universe; Third: The “Prequels” and Prequel spinoffs; Fourth: Disney.