A long time ago, I was obsessed with Star Wars. It was something I carried from youth to adulthood: I collected the toys; I watched the movies repeatedly; I read the books and comics; I ran the West End Games RPG for friends and played all the videogames. My knowledge of the universe was, is, encyclopedic. Then The Phantom Menace came out and I got on with the rest of my life.
There have been moments when Star Wars creeps back into my thoughts – the Knights of the Old Republic games, the occasional comic book – but these days I am largely ambivalent. Most recently, news that Rian Johnson would be writing and directing two new movies had me excited for almost 24 hours before apathy settled back in. I just don’t care about lightsabers and blaster pistols anymore.
While I am a firm believer that Han shot first, I don’t subscribe to the belief that George Lucas is some despoiler of childhoods. There was plenty of bad Star Wars before the special editions and the prequels: The Star Wars Holiday Special, the musical number in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi and the made-for-TV ewok movies, among many others. There will no doubt be more now that Lucas has given the franchise up to Disney.
No, I don’t care about Star Wars any more because Star Wars has exhausted me. After years of devotion and disappointment, not to mention countless marketing schemes and cross promotions (Tiny Death Star? Really?), I am simply no longer interested. That bacta tank is empty. And that is perfectly OK. Have your Celebration, you won’t miss me there – I was never that kind of fan anyway.
That isn’t to say Star Wars is somehow ruined – I spent a lot of years squeezing great memories out of the franchise. Rather, it’s a big universe out there and I still have a lot I want to see. Did you know I only just read Frank Herbert’s Dune for the first time this year? And I’ve still got a lot of Phil Dick to work through. And maybe Asimov’s Foundation, which I never bothered to read before…
The funny thing about fan cultures, of which Star Wars’ is probably the mightiest, is that there are some folks out there who will take my stated ambivalence as an attack. I think about this a lot, because whatever the object of affection might be – Call of Duty, NCIS, Game of Thrones, KISS – a certain subset of fans will always exist who want, need even, for you to love the thing as much as they do. A negative comment, critically conceived or not, is a war drum.
I’ve no doubt my take down of Boba Fett in this issue is going to rankle some folks – the cult of the bounty hunter is strong. I can’t help but wonder, though, how professed love can spawn such anger. Is an indictment of personal taste the same as an indictment of personal worth? Does it really matter what I think of your favorite character?
Thankfully, the rest of this issue isn’t so dire. The Rookie of the Year gets engaged and our favorite Dungeon Crawler, Daisy, makes a friend. Meanwhile, Jordan Mammo gets down with P.N.03.
Love or hate, me or them, we want to hear what you think. Let us know by sending a letter to the editor at email@example.com.
Kearny, New Jersey
August 6, 2014