The 25th from March.
The 24th from March
Seems like a good time to dump this from the drafts….
You know, I think I was kinda lucky about when I saw Star Wars the first time.
First off, I was tiny. It was my first PG rated movie and my mother was worried about me going to see it. It’s a bit funny, considering I’d seen worse on tv since I’d always watched whatever my parents watched.** While Mom took my baby brother to a park, Pop and I saw the movie. I was little enough that he whispered the subtitles for Greedo to me. I gripped Pop’s hand tightly when Vader first appeared, but otherwise I was bothered at all. In fact I was thrilled. I came out of it bouncing and hyper, insisting we had to take the others to see it the next day. It was the greatest movie EVER, or so I felt at the time, and I wanted everyone to see it too. I was watching it at an impressionable age.
Secondly, this was the original release, so Star Wars mania was exploding. I’d gone in knowing nothing more than what I’d seen in tv ads (not even theatrical trailers), and I was the first of my friends to see it, but almost instantly Star Wars was everywhere. There is a gag from SNL I’d see many, many years later where Bill Murray plays a lounge singer everyone keeps requesting sing the Star Wars theme, and honestly that sort of sums up the enthusasim for the movie at the time. *** It was a pop culture moment that must have been annoying as hell if you hated the film, but great if you were a little girl determined to be Princess Leia when you grew up.
Thirdly, and most importantly, only Star Wars existed. One film. One film that no one knew yet would have a sequel. In fact, when I first saw it Marvel was just publishing the comic adaptation, there was a novelization….but no spin off media yet. Even the action figures hadn’t hit the shelves. And this meant the possibilities were endless!
See, I like that. I like imagining and figuring things out around the blank spaces left in fiction. For instance, “The Clone Wars” sounded epic and mysterious, and I was free to imagine anything I wanted, once I found out what clones were. Armies of clones fighting each other? Non- clones fighting clones? Fighting over the ablity to clone? A war where clones joining in saved the day? The fantasies of a kid just learning to tie her shoelaces was as valid as anyone else’s ideas.
Even once spin off media occured, it was still a bit limited and hardly felt as official as movies. Marvel comics were fun, but even as a kid I felt they were there own seperate universe. And the novel “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” that Mom read us on a car trip better be non-canon because little me sure was annoyed Leia couldn’t swim but desert dwelling Luke could just so she could be the weaker (AKA “the girl”) one in the scene. I could ignore anything I wanted as long as it wasn’t on screen, and I did.
But somewhere, post Jedi (look, I grew up not using episode titles or letter soup for the short version of the then trilogy. It was “Star Wars”, “Empire”, and “Jedi” to me) the blanks started getting some serious filling in. I was still into the whole “Making of” but I started skipping a ton of the spin off media, and certainly wasn’t interested in having every detail explained away.
Now it’s a fandom where a third stormtrooper to the left in a two second shot will “officially” have a name, a back story, and might just show up again later. Everything ties together in what to most seeks like an elaborate web, or maybe a net snaring their interest, but to me it’s more like a big boring old knot.
Once upon a time, or should I say a long, long time ago, Star Wars felt like a universe I could slip in through the gaps and go play, and now it’s like those gaps have been filled with cement.
I admit I prefer goofing around in headcanon to policing actual canon with my fandoms. Always have. It’s kind of the desire to explore over being told all the “rules”. Sure I can still imagine anything I want, but it’s less fun you when you know there is an official version out there. And who wants to mention a playful idea and get hit with “Well, actually…” lectures about how a novel in the 1990s or an interview with Lucas five years ago “proves” you are wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, I get most fans like to see everything, know everything, and connect everything. There is nothing wrong with those that want every detail sketched out, and devour in universe lore. It’s as old as geeky interests. Tolkein’s appendixes (that my father actually insisted I read to him when I read the books to my parents) is proof of that. Lots of Middle Earth fans have them practically memorized. Lots of Star Wars fans are wired that way too, it just isn’t me.
I just think I got lucky to be a little child during that little window when Star Wars films suited a kid like me. The pages were still mostly blank and I could draw whatever I wanted. And did.
Oh well, at least I still have Doctor Who where the spin off media doesn’t just contradict itself, the show itself contricts it’s itself too.
*** Funnily the day after seeing the movie I was humming the theme loudly as I played on the trampoline in my yard and the boys (I was the only girl in the neighborhood at the time) wanted to know what it was. “The best music from the best movie ever!” Weird how it stuck in my head so fast.
The 23rd from March.
Dang, rewatching the Star Wars prequels** I found myself composing and essay I’d call : “ Colonialisim, Slavery, and the True Dark Side of a Galaxy Far Far Away”. As if I had time to write anything.
It’s funny how just making “the other” into aliens or robots is supposed to make the more questionable aspects of traditional pulpy adventure fiction okay. It doesn’t. Not to me anyway.
BTW, the Sith are evil but the Jedi are self absorbed, self rightious assholes. Neither of them seem interested in doing anything about the injustices in their galaxy, like, oh I dunno, slavery. They don’t just have symbolic slavery with the poor sentient droids, but actual open selling people that no one debates are people as slaves. Sith are cackling monsters, but the Jedi shouldn’t be seen as heroes by default. Down with the lot of ‘em I say!
**Confession…I don’t like the prequels, which is actually why I watched ‘em. I was working on something where I didn’t want my concentration distracted by anything I might want to watch, but I wanted something on in the background.
TBH, my love/hate breakdown for the films is now six/five, which is disheartening to an orginal vintage fangirl. To think as a child I loved all things Star Wars, including the Star Wars Holiday Special! (Look, I was tiny and it was the 1970s. It wasn’t much worse than any of the variety show style specials being churned out back then . I adored Chewie having a family, including a little kid like me. Okay, a bit hairier, but still, Lumpy and I could be friends…) Once upon a time I was off to DC for the 20th anniversary exhibit at the Smithsonian, and now I don’t even mind too much I can’t watch stuff like The Mandelorian because I don’t have Disney+.
Oh, and for the record, I LIKE “The Force Awakens”, “The Last Jedi” and “Rogue One” a lot, but hate “Rise of Skywalker” and was bored silly by “Solo”. In case you were wondering what post original trilogy made up faves.