TULSA, Okla. — When Josh Venable isn’t overseeing the operations at two local radios stations as program director and co-hosting one of the on-air morning shows, he devotes his life to Star Wars.
“It’s one of the most important things in my life. Star Wars is one of the most beloved things of all time,” said Venable.
His passion for the franchise began during childhood when his mother took him to see a screening of "A New Hope" at the age of two.
“My grandmother would make me Luke Skywalker costumes. When I was a kid I dressed up as Luke every year for Halloween,” said Venable.
Venable admits he has seen the Original Trilogy, over fifteen hundred times.
“I stopped counting as a kid,” said Venable.
Venable states that Obi-Wan Kenobi from "A New Hope" is his favorite Star Wars character.
"He is the one who propels the story. He is the perfect encapsulation of everything that you want to be. When you are a kid you wanted to be Luke Skywalker. When you’re in your 20s you wanted to be Han. When you got older you realize that Obi-Wan is the coolest out of all of them," said Venable.
Venable has also been a dedicated collector of Star Wars action figures and Trilogy cards for years.
“The only things I collect are Original Trilogy cards and mint figures from 1977-1985. I have a little over one hundred, minus seven or eight. I have all 'The Phantom Menace' Figures and all the 'Attack of the Clone figures',” said Venable.
Venable even visited Galaxy’s Edge in Florida this year.
"It was amazing. Seeing the amount of content that they have now, I think it’s stunning,” said Venable.
Venable’s favorite Star Wars film is "Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back". He had a unique experience screening Episode V for the first time. As he sat in the theater mesmerized by the iconic moment, when Darth Vader professes, “Luke, I am your father,” just like a perfect plot twist, the electricity shut off.
“That scene shattered a million things I thought about the world,” said Venable.
The electricity was eventually restored, and Venable was able to return to the adventures of the galaxies.
In 2012, George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney. Venable shared his thoughts on this new venture for Lucasfilm.
“I remember when it was first announced there were all kinds of Star Wars purists angry, shouting that the Mouse was going to mess everything up. I couldn’t disagree with that anymore strongly,” said Venable.
“[When I was] growing up there were only three [movies] to watch. 'Star Wars', 'Empire' and 'Jedi'. Now, you’re going to have kids that are going to have so much stuff available at their fingertips. It’s going to make the original three not as important. They are going to be one small part of this overall Universe. You now have possibilities that were really not there before,” Venable said.
Disney has also opened more doors for many dynamic female characters to play significant roles in recent Star Wars productions.
“For years, there was only one woman in the galaxy that anyone knew what her name was. I think Disney has been extremely smart and I applaud them wholeheartedly, for having so many strong female characters," said Venable.
Venable also added that he would love Disney to produce a Lando TV show.
"I thought [Donald Glover] was a great Lando in 'Solo',” said Venable.
"Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker" premieres on Dec. 19 and Venable has been planning on attending for months.
Venable doesn’t know what to expect for Episode IX.
“I’ve held back from watching the trailers much. I stay entirely away from message boards and IMDb trivia," said Venable.
Venable adds that he enjoys the thrill of the surprise, with every Star Wars movie he watches for the first time now.
We asked Venable why he believes Star Wars films have resonated with so many generations.
“They are love stories, they are adventure movies, they have a moral. That’s something that a lot of movies don’t really have anymore. These are stories about believing in yourself,” Venable said.
With a new Star Wars trilogy scheduled to be released in Dec. 2022, the future of Star Wars seems promising.
"[Disney has] really made it to where you can get the full Star Wars experience, you need to devote your life to Star Wars," said Venable.
Which is exactly what Venable has done.
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