One thing I didn’t know about Nitro Mayor Rusty Casto is that his favorite ‘Star Wars’ character is Darth Vader.
“Probably Vader. I like Vader. And then I like Luke. And then Yoda. They’re all pretty superb.”
Mayor Casto told me this on the phone Sunday afternoon. He called to talk to a reporter about his town’s “Star Wars” movie series running on six consecutive nights at the city pool. I happened to pick up the phone, so I chatted him up.
Me: “Darth Vader? Why do you like Vader?”
Mayor Casto: “He changes there at the end and saves his son’s life. When it’s all said and done he comes back to the good.”
OK, so he makes a good point there.
That could be why his favorite of the three original films is “Return of the Jedi.”
He speculated that George Lucas might not be finished with the film franchise.
“There’s also a seven, eight, nine that he’ll come out with one of these days. He says he’s not, but I think he will.”
I asked Mayor Casto how long he’s been a fan. He said he really wasn’t, not at first. The series grew on him.
“Well, I really didn’t start liking them until just before the second one, ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ I liked the first one, and I thought it was all right. But then it came out on repeat, on HBO, and that’s when I started liking it.”
“They’re actually mythology. It’s Joseph Campbell who studied human societies and whatnot. This is what’s common in human societies. I just like the way it plays out.”
Nitro is running a different “Star Wars” movie every night at 9 o’clock at the Municipal Pool. Sunday’s movie was “A New Hope,” the original film.
During its theatrical release, moviegoers are introduced to Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tattooine as he’s subject of a shakedown by the bounty hunter Greedo. Originally, Han shoots Greedo under the table. In subsequent edits by George Lucas, Greedo shoots first, misfires at point blank range and then is shot by Han. It’s a controversial switch to which purists cry, “Han shot first!”
I asked Mayor Casto what version would be playing in Nitro. Who would shoot first — Greedo or Han?
“I don’t know. I’ll have to watch and see which one it shows.”
A couple dozen people have been attending the films each night. There’s still “Empire” on Monday and “Jedi” on Tuesday if you’d like to go.
Next year, Nitro might try a different film series.
“I’d like to do this every year,” Casto said. “We’ll have to see what the kids want. I’ll just ask the kids. Some people say they’d like to see Harry Potter over the course of seven nights.”