One of Adam Harris’ earliest memories is seeing Return of the Jedi with his father in late 1983.
“It instantly changed me,” he said. “I felt so connected to the characters in the story, and so safe in that universe. It felt like a belonged there.”
Twenty-five years later when his son was born, Adam wanted to pass on his love. Shortly after he was brought home from hospital, Adam put his bassinet in front of the TV and they watched Empire Strikes Back. His son is named Jack Anakin Skywalker.
“I let him discover it for myself,” said Adam. “And he made the right choice.”
Early in 2011, Adam’s wife, Angela, was in hospital again for the birth of their daughter Eloise, when Adam began to experience headaches. He didn’t seek treatment immediately, attributing it to stress. But when the headaches persisted, he went to have them investigated.
“He went to the hospital and pretty much didn’t come back,” said Angela.
Adam had a brain tumor the size of a marble in the back of his brain. Its size and position rendered it inoperable.
“It’s a hard thing,” he said. “You’re lying in hospital, you’ve just had your second child and you don’t think you’ll see them again.”
The diagnosis spurred Adam to do something he had always dreamed of; travel with his son to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, the world’s largest fan convention. The two visited Lucasfilm and met Mark Hammill.
“I never thought in a million years I’d ever get to meet Luke Skywalker,” said Adam.
Adam dreamed of making a documentary of their trip, called My Saga, about how Star Wars fandom united fathers and sons. Adam believes the trilogy spoke to him so much as a child because of a strained relationship he had with his own father.
Adam’s parents met and had him very young, and eventually divorced when he was still a young child.
“They did the best they could, but there are a lot of things that happened in those years that I can never let go on and forget,” he said. “As a father you can make the right or wrong decisions and there were a lot of wrong decisions.”
After his father left, Adam lived with his mother and brother, and found himself falling prey to his father’s worst characteristics.
“I became my father,” he said. “I was a very aggressive young man who took his anger out on people.”
Over the years, Adam has learned how to make peace with his past, and avoid the pitfalls of his own upbringing. Of particular importance to him is Luke’s scene with his dying father, Anakin.
“I think that’s what I want from my dad. I wanted to save him from the things he’d done wrong,” Adam said.
“I look at Jack, and he has saved me. Jack did what I couldn’t. I’m a very lucky man.”