I just read Chuck Wendig’s first two posts on how he’d change the Sequel Trilogy of Star Wars and am thoroughly entertained. I’ve dabbled a bit in similar fan-fiction a while back when I had the ambition to rewrite the Prequel Trilogy with the small change of Anakin dying during the podrace. I didn’t get far and it’s not my best work, but I was a dumb college kid, so lay off.
As a long time fan of Star Wars, I loved this idea and have been inspired to make some commentary on Star Wars. I figure that Star Wars is the fandom that’s had the largest impact on my life and I wanted to take a minute and really dive deep into its effect on my and my thoughts on how the world has been reacting to it.
Disclaimer: I really liked the Sequel Trilogy. Heck, I really like the Prequel Trilogy. If you didn’t, that’s ok and I love that you’ve got your own opinion about it, but take your attitude and keep it in your pocket. My world is one of peace and fun. If you can’t peacefully discuss your fun, then GTFO. That goes for everything I talk about. Ever.
Star Wars is awesome. Dude, I’m not even joking. You’ve got a hero class that you can view as anything. Space Wizard, Holy Crusader Knight, Embodiment for Good. You’ve got other heroes that fit every need; Rogues, Soldiers, Pilots. You’ve got damned good villains. You’ve got OUTER SPACE! It’s just awesome.
I was around 13 years old when I learned about the existence of Star Wars through a Muppet Babies parody. When my mom realized that I definitely wasn’t getting the joke she went to Greg’s Butcher Block and rented the whole trilogy. Then she bought me the Thrawn Trilogy from Salvation Army’s bookshelf because she knew I was a heavy reader and would want more.
I was hooked.
How hooked? I read every single Expanded Universe (now referred to as Legends) title that I could get my hand on. I watched fan films over a dial-up internet connection, annoying my dad that he couldn’t get any calls until it was done loading. I grew a mullet for the Attack of the Clones premiere. I choreographed lightsaber duels with my friends and a mid-eighties VHS Camera. I acted out said-duels in front of a children’s summer camp while working there as a camp counselor.
Of course, I lamented when it was declared that the Expanded Universe no longer counted as Canon and the Sequel Trilogy wouldn’t follow it, but I was still excited to see what they did.
I experienced every emotion on the spectrum when I watched The Force Awakens.And The Last Jedi.And again with The Rise of Skywalker.
In my head, the individual movies and stories were never that, individual. They were just chapters in a large story. That was my biggest upset with the announcement regarding the Expanded Universe. I felt like they were saying “We’re rewriting the second half of the story you’ve already spent the time and energy on.” The rush of adrenaline that was my experience with The Force Awakens helped me get over that.So, I’ve never been huge on “Which movie was your favorite” styled questions because I like the whole book, not just one chapter. (Although Starfighters of Adumar is very likely my favorite EU title. I’m a hypocrite, and I’m ok with that.)
And even more so, I just don’t understand why everyone is upset over the movie. Even if I didn’t like the Sequel Trilogy (the last chapter of the story, if you will), in my head that’s just how it went. That world has been so real to me that “like” never had anything to do with any of the individual chapters. That’d be like me saying that I didn’t like that one month in college. Well, tough. It’s part of the story, and you really liked the rest of it, so move on.
That’s me though, and I understand people approach their fandoms with a certain level of “I’ve invested this much effort, and therefore it’s mine.” I deal with that kind of thing through writing fanfics and stories in my head that fix those kinds of things (see my Aliens: Legion post, or ask me sometimes about where I think Man of Steel 2 or a Quantum Leap reboot could go). Some people don’t have those outlets.
Now, please bear with me as I dive off of the deep end and speak to the heart of what I believe to be the fuel behind the Star Wars controversies, rage, and internet freakouts.
Required Rant That Sounds Like a Madhouse Conspiracy: All of this hate around the Sequel Trilogy is a stupid joke that’s gone way out of hand and that is spurred on by the media. Don’t believe me? Check out MediaWeb’s Facebook account. Or check out anything on Gizmodo that is tagged with Star Wars. In one day, MovieWeb will post six articles, all around fanning the different opinions with the most clickbait headlines I’ve ever read. Why do they do this? Because they’ve all learned that the thing that gets the most clicks is controversy in the comments section. If you aren’t making them argue, you’re irrelevant. (If you want to see this in action, then watch how Gizmodo, and Jezebel media treat Amazon and Jeff Bezos. Every link is an Amazon Affiliate link, they encourage you to buy Amazon products in Kinja Deal posts, and then they write articles, almost daily, talking about how no one should buy anything from Amazon. I understand that journalism needs to be paid for, but this kind of division between managing the company and being the public face of the company is only allowed to go on because it leads to fights in the comments and gets the blog more attention.)
This is where you should put on the tin foil hats: As social media crept onto the scene, stories started creeping up about how the world and the masses could be manipulated through it. Then we get the 2016 election, which was the first time that we have exclusive proof of people (Russian government) using social media to stoke specific reactions and attempt to get a result. People forget that a vocal group of the fans hated the prequels too. What was different? No social media yet.
Still not sure that this whole Star Wars hate is a money-making scheme put on by social media? Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill just quit Facebook because Facebook won’t stop politicians from lying on its platform.
And that news was at the top of my feed this morning, ahead of “Megxit,” “Australian Fires,” and anything with “Trump” in the headline.
How is that news? I’ve got friends that quit Facebook monthly. And did we already forget that Facebook admitted to keeping track of user data of people who don’t sign up for it? He quit it? Great, I’m proud of him, and I support just about everything that wonderful Jedi has ever endeavored to do (I’m looking at you Time Runner). But it isn’t really news, is it? Unless you know I’ll click the article and you’ll make money off the click.
Where I get back on track:I haven’t read any of the new Expanded Universe stuff, which I am definitely saying because I know I mentioned Chuck Wendig and haven’t had a chance to read any of his stuff at all regarding Star Wars that hasn’t been on his blog. I plan on it. I really loved the Mandalorian, and as much as I don’t like commercialism, I’m loving that Disney is making more and more Star Wars. I fear that someday this will change, and I’ll be annoyed with how much the market has been saturated, but that day isn’t today.
Also, my daughter is still at the age where lightsabers scare her… So, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.