Sure, Stephen Galante knows his blasters from his lightsabers, his droids from his power converters and his starhoppers from his star destroyers.

And, like the heroes and villains he cannot wait to see on the silver screen next month, this 23-year-old’s generation lives and dies by technology.

But as the “Star Wars” films have gone back in time to seemingly offer a glimpse of futuristic gadgets, Galante’s anticipation for the newest release in this science fiction, cinematic saga is built around a simple, old-school interest in a well-told tale, built around the timeless theme of good against evil.

The Beacon resident’s interest in “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” as it did with the six previous “Star Wars” films, lies in a farm boy turned intergalactic hero, who found himself in unlikely circumstances at a young age, with his life on the cusp of unfolding in ways that he had dreamed about for years.

“The story is what captivates me,” Galante said. “It pulls you in. You or I could be Luke Skywalker. ‘Star Wars’ has all the elements you need to guide you along through the story. That’s what makes it such an immersive world. You can feel a part of it and you’re invited into the story.”

Millions have considered themselves part of the “Star Wars” story since the first installment was released in 1977. Nearly 40 years later, interest in rebel alliance hero Luke Skywalker, Millennium Falcon pilot Han Solo, Jedi master Obi-Wan-Kenobi and Princess Leia is surging.

On Dec. 18, “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” will open in theaters.

Gregory Featherstone, 22, of the City of Poughkeepsie, has seen all six “Star Wars” movies and is looking forward to “Episode VII.”

“I’m absolutely excited,” he said. “It’s kind of something I grew up with.”

“Star Wars” and the five installments that followed continue to shape generations. Far beyond movie screens, “Star Wars” has left its colossal imprint on clothing, toys, video games and memorabilia, along with the millions of dollars spent on it all by moviegoers.

An early indication of the crush of excitement for “Episode VII” came in October, when records for ticket sales were smashed and movie ticket websites such as www.fandango.com, www.amctheatres.com and www.movietickets.com slowed to a crawl, when they worked at all.

Galante is one of the many who have already purchased a ticket to see “Episode VII.” He will likely don a “Star Wars” t-shirt and bring his lightsaber — a replica of a Jedi weapon from the films — when he heads to Regal Fishkill 10 cinema next month.

But as likely as he is to wait in line with and sit next to fellow fans who share their love of “Star Wars” by dressing in full costume, Galante during the film will maintain an internal focus as much an external one.

“For where I’m at in my life, I recently graduated college, I’m starting my journey, and I see Luke going out in the galaxy — he’s got to find his way, he gets the conflict on a much grander scale, with the dark and light side,”said Galante, who graduated in August with a degree in business administration from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. As he comes up to speed on the latest adventures in the “Star Wars” realm, he will be examining his own life as much as he pays rapt attention to everything that unfolds on the screen.

“I’ve had conflicts, too. Do I want to take this job, do I want to take that job? Luke’s posed with a choice. I’m posed with a choice, And we have to look back on our moral codes and use that moral code to guide us.”

Galante was 5 years old when his father took him to see the re-release of “Star Wars” in 1997.

“I remember my father telling me that the Death Star scene, when it would explode, it would be very loud,” Galante recalled. “I was very amped the whole way through to see what it was all about. It was very interesting.”

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Episode VII in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opens in theaters December 18, 2015.
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