A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

As far as Star Wars goes, I nailed my colours firmly to the mast by declaring my faith as Jedi in the national census of 2011.

There were 176,632 of us nationwide and 344 of us in West Dorset that year, including seven in my own village. I don’t know who they are, which is odd as I ought to be able to feel their presence.

The Charity Commission subsequently rule that Jediism ‘lacked the necessary spiritual or non-secular element’ it was looking for in a religion.

It said there was insufficient evidence that ‘moral improvement’ was central to the beliefs and practices of Jediism and did not have the ‘cogency, cohesion, or seriousness’ to truly be a belief system.

The lack of fun and imagination of public bodies never ceases to amaze me.

You see, much to the disgust yet amusement of my intellectual friends, the first Star Wars film – A New Hope – is my favourite movie of all time. There is something about its simplicity, its escapism and the fact that it’s a right rollicking adventure story, with good triumphing over evil, that fills me with deep joy.

Call me shallow, but the film captured my heart.

When Carrie Fisher died at the end of a particularly tragic 2016, I wept for hours. Losing her and George Michael in the space of a few days over the Christmas holiday was too much to bear for a pop culture child like me.

At our village fete this year, I did the DJ set dressed as a poor imitation of Princess Leia. My brother actually believed I had headphones built into the buns on the wig I purchased on impulse from the wonderful Instant Redress in Bridport.

John Williams’ score is one of the most wonderfully evocative pieces of modern classical music I’ve ever heard. Each time I listen to it (which is fairly often) I can picture myself in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and hurtling through space at full light speed, bound for new lands in the fight against injustice. Or having a beer in the wonderfully edgy Mos Eisley Cantina on Tattooine.

And this is why I’ve booked tickets to see the film in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in November, with the London Symphony Orchestra taking me to places I can only dream about.

I was never that keen on the Star Wars follow-ups, though, particularly the prequel trilogy. But for me, Star Wars got back into its stride with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, even though Daisy Ridley reminds me too much of a young Keira Knightley, complete with annoying mouth.

I can’t wait to see the XI movie next year, but unless I can time travel, I’ll just have to. (I had hoped to pick up a few tips at a meeting advertised in West Dorset but I manage to turn up late every time).

In the meantime, there is always Solo, which appears to be the first Star Wars film to flop at the box office. Despite positive reviews from the critics, its 10 day opening gross performed massively under expectation.

According to the NME, perhaps people don’t care enough about Han Solo, the arrogant scallywag and reluctant warrior for justice who was played in the earlier films by Harrison Ford. There are lots of other reasons apparently. But it’s no good I’m going to just have to go and make up my own mind.

I’m off to book seats for the 5.15pm showing this week at the wonderful Plaza Cinema in Dorchester. Any excuse to sink myself into the Star Wars story once again.

In the meantime, here’s the trailer.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.