Is there anything in the vast expansive world of entertainment bigger than Star Wars? What started as an ambitious but questionable concept has blossomed into arguably the most recognized property in any entertainment medium. It spans decades. It spans demographics. It reaches out into nearly every marketing direction (in a local grocery store I actually saw a big display of Star Wars oranges). No franchise is as passionately loved, as passionately debated, or as passionately supported by its fans as Star Wars.
All of that speaks to an incredibly rich and healthy franchise. But when I talk about Star Wars I’m almost always talking about it on a personal level. What I mean is Star Wars is something I genuinely love. It’s an affection that runs deeper than niche enthusiasm or rabid fanboyism. I’m thoroughly invested in this crazy universe that found its origin in the mind of George Lucas.
For me Star Wars wasn’t a spur of the moment discovery. I’m 44 years-old and I would call it the perfect age to be a fan. I was able to experience Star Wars as it was released in every phase of my life. The original trilogy came out when I was a kid. I had it all: action figures, pajamas, vehicles, lightsabers, lunch boxes, storybooks, comics, posters, trading cards. I was enamored with this amazing creation, its strange worlds, and its even stranger characters.
The controversial sequels came out while I was a young adult. Another phase of my life and more Star Wars. The prequels have their share of detractors and I don’t want to debate the value of them here. Suffice it to say I enjoyed them flaws and all. More importantly they showed just how beloved the franchise was. Star Wars was everywhere again. People talked about it. Purists debated it. Fans dissected it. It was a ringing reminder of the how Star Wars transcended the realm of entertainment.
And now Star Wars has returned and here I am in yet another phase of my life. I’m an early middle-ager and yet I’m as giddy as a child for J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars pictures. I have invested so much over the years. I have so much affection for these characters. And after so much time and with so much passion, I can’t stand the thought of these new movies being bad. I want to be talking about Star Wars again. I want to be excited about a new generation of heroes and villains. I want to be fed a new story that leave me anticipating what’s next.
What I’m saying is I need “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to be good. It’s important. I don’t want to see something that has been an integral part of each phase of my life to fail. I don’t want someone to turn it into something else. Star Wars is more than a movie for millions of us, and the thought of it being just another movie is too much. So J.J., now it’s up to you.