I'm a fairly newbie to the Star Wars fandom. I got hassled a little bit by some of my geeky friends about having never seen them a few years ago. One friend nearly drove off the road in horror at this revelation and felt it her sacred duty to sit me through all of them. Fortunately I talked her out of it (there's no way I would've been able to take it all in like that) but I did struggle to get around to them. I watched A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back on May 4th that year by renting the DVDs but Return of the Jedi wasn't available for rent, and we had capped data at the time so streaming or downloading wasn't an option, and buying them was out of my budget. Any excuses went out the window when in 2013 an online friend in the UK got sick of my "excuses" and ordered me the original trilogy on blu-ray to be sent to my house. Naturally I watched as much as I could back to back before being kicked off the TV, and continued with RotJ the next day. I'll admit... I liked it but wasn't in a place where I'd call myself a full fan, till I watched them again more spaced out and with subtitles on. It's amazing what a difference that made! A lot of stuff had previously flown right over my head because I simply didn't hear it right or at all.
Then last year I decided I needed to watch the prequels. A lot of people especially purist fans told me not to - it's not worth it! They're terrible! But I didn't believe I could call myself a true fan till I'd seen ALL the movies at least once. So I arranged with one of my closest friends who's living in the UK to watch one prequel at a time which involved a lot of figuring out time zones and work shifts and sleeping patterns, but we got there. And honestly? I'm going to horrify a lot of purist fans but I loved the prequels. Yes they're a hot mess of plot - especially episode 1 - and Jar-jar is the absolute worst, and the midochlorians explanation is nonsense I deliberately block out of my mind, and PADME DESERVED BETTER! but I loved them. Padme is my absolute favourite Star Wars character, although she's got fierce competition in the latest movie. I do feel like she was wasted as a character and had potential for so much more. I also didn't feel that much chemistry between her and Anakin. Their relationship always felt a little off. I like to believe that Jar-jar rather than being a full-on sith lord like this theory that's been doing the rounds, is a sith infiltrator who performs a jedi mind trick on Padme to fall in love with Anakin in order to lead Anakin to the dark side (yes I know there's a lot of holes in my theory, but it makes me feel better about Padme and Anakin being a thing so let's run with it).
After watching those prequels and rewatching the original trilogy I was sold and so I eagerly ordered midnight premiere tickets to see The Force Awakens at my local cinema. I was excited by the trailers I'd seen but apprehensive having heard from Trekkie friends how JJ Abrams had 'ruined' Star Trek. But the week before premiere date, disaster struck and I got a cold which lasted about two weeks, so I had to give my ticket away and avoid all social media so I wouldn't get spoilers. I finally saw it on Christmas Eve and KLASD;FJASDL; is the best way I could describe my reaction. It was incredible to be seeing a Star Wars movie on the big screen and I spent most of the movie grinning like one of those scary carnival clowns. My face hurt for quite some time afterwards. Obviously I wasn't happy the entire movie but it was an intense feels trip. I'm trying to avoid spoilers but I will say that while a lot of people have complained that it's A New Hope version 2.0, I love it for that - for tying up the old with the new, for ushering a new generation of fans, and for the new characters to love. Rey being my favourite, but Poe and Finn are also awesome.
I'm now working through Knights of the Old Republic game on PC and watching The Clone Wars, and soon Rebels. I can't claim to understand or know every aspect of the Star Wars universe. In particular I'm really interested in the politics of the SW universe but there's still so much I don't understand, but I'm loving every minute of discovery.
This is a bit of a stream of consciousness post, and for that I apologise. It's very hard for me to put my feelings about Star Wars into coherent sentences to be honest! I'd love to hear your thoughts about it though. Please comment below :)