Luke, Han, and Darth Vader were literally among the first names I ever knew. George Lucas was writing the first draft of Star Wars at the exact same time my parents were entering the pre-production phase on me -- spring of 1974. When my little growing brain was figuring out the names of things a few years later, Star Wars was everywhere -- my tiny little universe was Mommy, Daddy, Big Brother, Grandma, Grandpa, Luke Skywalker. I spent more of my childhood imagining how I would live in the Star Wars universe than I did imagining being an adult in ours. This is why I have no idea how to manage my life today, but I can guarantee every exhaust vent on this house has a fucking screen on it.
Toilets, too. Just to be safe.
When I was old enough to understand what a "movie" was -- that it was just a thing people made up and not an actual alternate universe I was viewing through a rectangular portal -- I was even more amazed. How can a human brain even conceive of something like Darth Vader, or The Force or ... any of it? Yeah, I knew pretty early I wanted to create things, too -- it seemed like a form of magic.
"Seemed" is in past tense for a reason -- these days I know that the roots of Star Wars go back to 1912, when Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a novel about a human having a swashbuckling space adventure called A Princess of Mars. It was the first mainstream hit that featured a now-familiar formula: spaceships, sword fighting, and magical fantasy shit like telepathy. A decade and a half later, this inspired a writer named Philip Francis Nowlan to create the swashbuckling space adventure Buck Rogers, which launched a wildly successful franchise that spanned radio, TV, film, novels, toys ... you name it. The bad guys were called "The Han" and the main villain was a flamboyant dictator in a cape named Killer Kane:
And under the cape, what appears to be a polo shirt.