So, I just made the assumption that Episode IV (it's secondary title being "A New Hope"), was actually the first movie that was made and that the series of Star Wars movies would be made in a non-linear fashion. Noticing that the release dates of the 3 movies (1977, 1980, 1983), I was slightly disappointed when Episode VII didn't come in 1986, 1989, 1992, etc.
Those "lean years" built up a lot of anticipation in me for the next Star Wars movie. I scoured newspapers, magazines, bought countless comic books to satisfy my appetite for any information on upcoming Star Wars movies. I sat bored watching those horrible Ewoks live-action made for TV movies. I recall a Mad Magazine feature called "The Star Wars Log" giving some humorous speculation about future episodes in the 12-part "Star Wars Saga -- Part I" (to be completed in 2014, lol):
STAR WARS LOG from Mad Magazine circa 1981 (reprinted in 1988)
With each passing year, and with no new Star Wars in sight, I yearned more and more. I even remember dreaming about watching Episode VII in the movie theater then waking up in a cold sweat, disappointed that it wasn't real. If you must know, in my dream version of ep. 7, the Rebel Alliance destroys the last holdout in the Empire--20th century planet Earth (yeah, I know it contradicts "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..." but most dreams basically have the logic of a David Lynch film). I was actually one of the pilots in a Rebel squadron and I heartily destroyed my home planet. At the end of this ep. 7, Han and Luke infiltrate a prison colony to obtain information on a new threat and they get captured and it ends in a cliffhanger. The freaky part is that a couple of years later, I dreamed up Episode VIII (and I remember the subtitle: "Where Free Men Have Lived and Died!") where Han and Luke break out of said prison colony.
So you see, I really liked Star Wars (to the point where I was having a series of recurring dreams about future episodes!!)
Imagine how it was like for me when I found out through my college's computer terminal (connected to the then-young Internet) in 1994 when I found out that Episodes I, II and III were in the works. I even went to see "Star Wars: The Special Edition" on opening night (I hated the changes, so I refused to see the other two SEs, but I incorrectly assumed that these were just "special" and that the OOT would still be considered "official" ). When I downloaded the first bootleg trailer for "The Phantom Menace", I was elated. Finally, after 16 long, excruciating years, we were getting a new, official, Star Wars adventure.
When May 1999 rolled around, I read the first reviews that were coming out. Most of them were mixed, but I just assumed that it might be rust on George Lucas' part and that the new movie was still Star Wars. If it was halfway as good as the original trilogy, I would be satisfied.
I've only watched "The Phantom Menace" once in the theater. I. Could. Not. Believe. That. I. Waited. Sixteen. F*cken. Years. For. This. Piece. Of. SH*T.
There was no stage of fanboy denialism on my part. I knew what I saw was a big turkey rolling right before my eyes. What we were witnessing was George Lucas suffering from severe artistic and creative senility.
Anyway, just like Comic Book Guy, I vented my hatred for TPM on the internet and I was subsequently flamed to death by fanboy apologists. I remember their talking points very well:
"There was no way that the new Star Wars movie could live up to everyone's expectations"
"Give it a chance. The first movie was not supposed to be as good, it introduced the context of the story, etc."
"The lightsaber duel is the best of the entire series!!!"
"The pod race was absolutely awesome"
"There were many subtle nuances that were more sophisticated than the original trilogy."
"The movie is actually good if you can ignore what Jar Jar is doing."
"The Phantom Menace is the highest grossing movie in the franchise. Can millions of fans be wrong?"
Ugh. I got the impression that the fanboy apologists were actually paid hacks planted by Lucasfilm on the internet. Maybe they were paid, but I think in retrospect, it was just a simple case of denial on their part. I even resorted to not-so-subtle trolling to get my point across:
My response to fanboys complaining about the delayed Phantom Menace DVD release
Phantom Menace is better than Lord of the Rings movie
Did Han Solo really shoot Greedo first in ANH?
My "review" of the 2004 DVD set
"The easiest way to destroy a cause is by becoming it's most excessive advocate" -- Nietzsche (quoted from memory).
As for "Attack of the Clones", I hated it even more than TPM, but I actually liked "Revenge of the Sith".
So... how was it like for you guys when you waited for a new Star Wars movie during '84-'98?