No, I’m not talking about the current state of American politics. I’m talking about Star Wars.
I am an…avid lover of Star Wars, this you know. So is my cousin. But when it comes to The Force Awakens we have vastly differing opinions. Mine is one of love and effervescence, his of skepticism and tentative acceptance. My love of the Star Wars Universe is not more fervent or deep or borderline obsessive than his and yet, get us talking about The Force Awakens and Disney canon novels and we seem to be at odds.
He is not alone in his opinion and neither am I. And yet, he and I sat in the same living room when word came down the pipes that there were going to be more Star Wars in our near and extended future. The excitement, the childlike joy in both our eyes was the same. That nerdy, little twinkle lives in both of us. So what gives?
I recently came across a new Twitter friend who was as equally dismayed about The Force Awakens as my cousin, but unlike my cousin, who is very excited about the upcoming Rogue One, this friend was not at all excited about it.
His Star Wars lives in a glass box. It’s incased in carbonite, in perfect hibernation, not to be touched or tainted by the outside world. Many fan people experience this when their favorite things get rebooted (i.e., Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, JEM, and most recently Ghostbusters.) Just like the mint condition toys that remain in their boxes with no scratches or scruff, so too should the movies remain. In some instances I agree and yet when it comes to Star Wars, I absolutely do not.
Star Wars is not the pristine tale of a perfect world. It doesn’t live high up on a shelf never to be touched by human hands. The Force is messy. The Jedi are flawed. The Dark Side is tempting. The stories of Star Wars are as scratched up as the humans who enjoy them.
Some poor sad soul out there might tell you that even the original trilogy is imperfect. Most fans will openly admit that the prequels are far from perfect. And there are some that call the new age of Star Wars an abomination, nothing more than a ploy by the House of Mouse to sell toys and keep us all tethered to consumerism.
One could argue that all art, once it becomes popular, wrestles with that very dilemma. Make money and “sell out” or retain “freedom” by appealing only to the cult collective. Star Wars manages to walk the line between mainstream and absolutely nerdvana. No small feat.
Perhaps some of the fanboys and fangirls who aren’t excited about new stories from the Star Wars Universe are afraid. They’re afraid that what they love will be tainted by Muggles who don’t have the deep abiding love of that galaxy far, far away and are only in it for the pop culture references.
To be honest, I do have to bite my tongue when some poor little Muggle girl, who knows nothing, starts misquoting my beloved Star Wars.
But it also opens the door for me to maybe make a new friend and to be a part of her story, even if it’s just to say “So, you like Star Wars, huh?”
Star Wars is and has always been about bringing people together. It’s a story of family and heroes and darkness and light. It’s all the best things put on a screen. And I count all Star Wars as my top favorite movies because they’re all connected for me. Sure, I have favorites. But the connecting story and the greater world of the Star Wars Universe is what I love. And if I get to see any part of that world, I find myself to be incandescently happy!!
After all, I am, at times, as poorly written as the love scenes in Episode II. I am, at times, as annoying as Jar-Jar Binks in Episode I. I, at times, obtain moments of triumph and victory like in the Throne Room in Episode IV. And I even, at times, experience heart break like with Han’s death in Episode VII.
We are human. And it’s easy for us to pick things apart. It’s easy to read into everything and see the bad and miss the good. I’m saying…be messy with me. You don’t have to love all Star Wars equally. But keep an open mind for what the future of the Star Wars Universe might hold for us. Allow it to play in the mud.
Don’t you think there were fans out there who were not eager for a sequel to Star Wars? People who thought it would suck? People who thought George was just out to capitalize on his success and make more money? Who cares if he was, we got The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi out of the deal. What would have happened if Star Wars had stayed in it’s glass box, high up on a shelf? Perish that thought!