One of the memories that I treasure most from 1998 came when I was driving from LA to Palo Alto with my friend Pete. I had a copy of "The Beginning" with me, the script by George Lucas, and he had a CD player loaded up with the soundtracks for the first three films. I read the script aloud while he drove, and by the time we got to his family's house for Thanksgiving, we were both convinced that we were going to get an amazing gift in movie theaters in May of 1999.
History has proven the two of us to be a wee bit overenthusiastic. While I am not a rabid prequel-hater the way many people are (watching the films with my kids radically changed my opinions on them and their place in the overall saga), I think there is something magical about the original three that only becomes more clear with time and distance. It's not as simple as saying "practical effects!" over and over the way some fans seem to think it is, and if you want to really appreciate just how barely the original films worked, you just need to read the amazing behind-the-scenes books that J.W. Rinzler wrote about each of them. I just recently finished reading the Kindle versions of each, completely with audio and video clips a-plenty, and they are astonishing. More than anything, they reminded me of all the ways the "Star Wars" films originally inspired my love of the craft of filmmaking, and fantastic filmmaking in particular.