The Star Wars Juggernaut

A book about the franchise’s never-ending gold mine and the crazy fans who support it
Illustration by Dan Stafford

In 1999, Chris Giunta moved from Maryland to San Francisco to be among the first in line to see The Phantom Menace. He’d read that Star Wars creator George Lucas liked to screen his films at the Coronet Theatre, so he pitched a tent outside more than a month in advance. Busloads of Asian tourists took Giunta’s picture. People in passing cars threw water balloons at him. On the night of the premiere, he donned Jedi robes and proposed to his girlfriend, Beth. (Shockingly, she said yes.)

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