Star Wars Story: A thousand generations
A thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight. I’ve waited 4 years for The Rise of Skywalker. Ever since The Force Awakens hit the theaters in 2015, all roads led to this moment, this story. And I have noticed something very wrong this year – there is clear split between Star Wars fans and Star Wars fans. Not, that it wasn’t a thing before, but this it’s different now, more intense than usual. I guess, all fandoms are more active when a new movie, TV series or whatever has its premiere. Well to be honest, all of this actually sounded much better in my head, haha – but I hope you will get the point. No one’s ever really gone…
Before I post the actual review of The Rise of Skywalker (I know that there are still some of you who read my blog and haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t want to spoil anything), let’s talk about said breakdown. Let me be clear – I understand both sides of this war, but not taking any part of it. I am right in the middle, as an enthusiast. You know, I don’t even know if I am allowed to call myself a Star Wars fan… Do you want to find out? So, here is how it looks like:
are Star Wars fans, that were raised on the Original Trilogy,
growing up to be Jedi like young Luke Skywalker or the best pilot in the Galaxy
like Han Solo or… like in my case (though I watched OT
a bit later on, it was still my dream) brave and rebellious like Princess Leia. Back in the day, trilogy like that was something extraordinary! The visual effects were really great – admit it Even though compared to what we are capable to achieve today, visuals clean up well. Plus, the story itself was so engaging, till this day it keeps me on the edge of my seat. This fanbase is composed of people who read all the books, know everything about canon and non-canon characters, played every game and easily could name this animal Obi-Wan Kenobi used in Episode III. Even so, prequel trilogy was doomed from the start. Let’s be real – Episodes I-III are not great, but it’s not like they are terrible either. After all, they brought us “Hello there!”, right? But this particular fanbase is strongly against it. Sadly, even Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn’t save the day. Love story between Anakin and Padmé is wrong, at so many levels. There is absolutely nothing good about it. I’m can’t really decide if Anakin’s erratic behavior was good or bad thing, I just… Maybe it should be done another way. Except the music theme composed by John Williams, Across the stars is one of the most recognizable themes from SW universe and its simply beautiful. But there are plenty of good things about prequel trilogy – like charming Obi-Wan; bizarre Jar-Jar Binks, the ultimate source of all conspiracy theories (go ahead and Google it, you’ll thank me later. Here is my favorite one so far, which, as it turns out, might be true); Order 66 and how it all began, Jango Fett and the Clones… You, yes you, could name at least three other things, right? The point is, prequels are not terrible. It’s really pointless to compare them to Original Trilogy. Same universe, sure. Beginning of the story, of course. But still, if we keep on saying that it’s not the same as the OT… What will change?
This fanbase was in a slightly better mood after Rogue One. In my opinion, this is absolutely the best Star Wars movie, a great prelude to New Hope. It shows exactly how terrible war is and how much people are willing to sacrifice to get what they want. Music, plot and visuals are extraordinary. Was this a little light at the end of the tunnel? I wish. Rogue One premiered in 2016.Year before we got to see The Force Awakens on big screen which was copy-paste version of New Hope. Just in modern times, which supposed to be a good thing, since prequels were “nothing like the Original Trilogy!”. Well… TFA was everything like OT. I’m wondering if J.J. Adams did it on purpose to avoid fan’s criticism or was it his way of paying respects? Or maybe he just listened to the fans and gave them what they wanted. Were the fans happy?
And then, Solo was announced. Breaking news! Alden Ehrenreich will play young Han Solo. Fanbase is furious. He looks nothing like Harrison Ford when he played Han!!! That’s a valid point. He is not Harrison Ford. No one is, but Harrison. Would you rather see CGI on some guy’s face? Like they did to Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel to make him look like he’s 30? But the fanbase was not happy, even though Donald Glover joined the cast as Lando Calrissian (does he look like Billy Dee Williams? No. But did he kill it as Lando? Heck yes!). Another great story from Star Wars universe, but not entirely approved by this fanbase. The Last Jedi was… Hmm, what it was? For me it was a aesthetic. Rian Johnson makes his movies in a particular way, paying extra attention to colors (Battle of Crait), jaw dropping moments (Godspeed, Holdo!) or funny lines (“Poe, let’s not make a scene”, “No, let’s”). Suddenly, The Force Awakens wasn’t half bad. You know, I think it’s super hard to be a creator in Star Wars universe. It’s a legendary world, a legacy that lasts 43 years now. It’s hard to be artist in this universe. I can tell you that from experience. From time to time, I like to write a story. And most times I’m really happy about them, it’s a different type of writing, more creative one. Story telling is amazing art, but there is one problem with it, old as this world – not everyone will like it. Heck, most people will hate it, and will find hundred different things that don’t add up. In their opinion. Which is fine. Look, I don’t expect everyone to love my stories and authors all around the world don’t expect that either. All we want, all Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams wants is to respect our vision. I can bet that writing and directing a SW movie is a childhood dream for both. And to be honest? No lies? 98% of this fandom has the same dream. The only difference is that they worked hard to get to the point, where someone from Lucasfilm asked them to make the movies. Before you pour out a bucket of hate on them and on “new” Star Wars, I want you to ask yourself what did you do to make your dream come true?
One last thing, since I touched hate theme here. Like I mentioned, I am trying to understand both sides of this war. I really am. But what I can’t stand is the venom that fanbase can spread out. Shaming Daisy Ridley for being not a good fit for Rey? People hating her new hair on some Award ceremony, hating it so bad, that she deleted her social media accounts? Or, maybe even better example with Kelly Marie Tran. It all started with her role of Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. Her storyline with Finn (originally it was supposed to be Finn+Poe, which, I think would please part of the fandom; but would be super predictable) – journey to find Master Codebreaker on Canto Bight was categorized as completely unnecessary, shallow, time-filling crap. Strong words, huh? But that’s the Internet. Funny thing is, the same people who harassed Kelly (because it’s not like she’s real person, she’s Rose Tico, right?) for being female lead, woman of color in Star Wars (which would imply that creators tried to be politically correct, right?), are the same people who roasted JJ Abrams for reducing Tran’s role in The Rise of Skywalker. Not to mention the hatred towards John Boyega for being black (yup) and moreover, black in Star Wars. Hey Lando, what’s good?
Look, I appreciate the passion and knowledge and positive drive for Star Wars, I really do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that the Original Trilogy is the best period of this franchise. Lots of people will agree and support this stand. There is nothing with having a mind of your own. I laugh when I hear the most serious question “Is this cannon?”. And I’m the last person to sets limits, but being a passionate does not give you the right to hate. You all grew up to be like Luke Skywalker? Would he really be proud of you?
On the other side of the barricade there are basically everyone else with small exceptions. Low expectations, limited knowledge but still acting as know-it-all. This kind of creed happens in every big fandom – Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Star Trek. Harmless bunch, but annoying to the most of people. Since their knowledge is rather narrow (because they either didn’t see all the movies, or saw them in wrong order or literally don’t care), their theories are weird. Especially to those who know a little something. This fanbase can be divided in two fractions – ultimate lovers and ultimate haters. The first one will say that they looooooooove Star Wars and everything about them. They will wear all the tees, drink coffee from “Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies” mug and will keep telling you that SW means so much to them. The ultimate haters will keep on hating without bothering to give it a watch. Like you know, typical parents who think that they children are watching stupid-ass movies, instead of something fine. Obi-Wan who? Girl, you need to grow up.
In general (Kenobi) we could describe this branch as “picnic” that only shows up once a year to “celebrate” the greatest movie in the history. Because everyone else is celebrating, it’s the right thing to remind them that they’re here too. With all the merchandise there is.
You know what, it’s not a bad thing, really. We can like what we like, and we can be curious about other things too. I guess the international problem with those kind of people is that they call themselves fans, putting a “true” label before that, without really paying attention to the culture. Some people “dedicated” their life to this passion, and it really means something. So, prior to calling out the “true fans”, why don’t we take a moment to actually think about it? Does everything really need a label these days? You know, I used to get angry in situation like this, for example with The Lion King. This is the most important and powerful movie in my life, so the first I heard about live-action remake, I was terrified. Mainly because it’s a remake and there is nothing as good as the animated 1994 version. But after this first wave, after the hit I took a big breath and thought about it. It’s a chance to tell this story again in a modern way, but with solid base from the classic story. It’s not like Jon Favreau will go and change everything about it. Hans Zimmer is on board and Donald Glover will voice adult Simba. James Earl Jones will come back as Mufasa. Hey, this can actually work. So, I decided I will give this a shot. And all other fears that “ThIs NoT tHe SaMe As aNimAtEd VeRsIoN” let go once I saw first poster and first teaser. I went to see it for the first time in Dolby Atmos a day before its official release and it took me three seconds to cry, you know? When I heard those crickets or whatever jungle voices. The same as in animated version. And sure, this movie has its flaws, its not perfect. But it also shows a bigger picture, explains and widens some storylines. At the same time, the promotional campaign started, shops were flooded with t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, wallets, posters and all that jazz, and guess what? I couldn’t be happier!!! You know how hard was to find nice Lion King merch? Only in the US or GB, which meant shipping costs. And suddenly, I could have it all. Tees, hoodies, mugs. Everything! You feel me? Sure, 80% of people bought a hoodie with Simba just because it looks cute and it’s trending now. Same thing happens with Star Wars (and Marvel. And DC).
Other than being annoying AF, this fanbase is harmless. But you know what? Even if they don’t spread hate as much as the first one, it does not mean that they are not as hurtful. You have no idea how painful it is to watch people who claim to be SW fans just because it’s popular and an oversize hoodie looks good on you. Wear whatever you like. Watch whatever you like, just please. Consider others, who are in this business longer before you call yourself a fan.
And there is me, in the middle of it all. I know, that there are more people like me – who simply are enthusiasts. In the beginning I questioned, if I even should call myself a true fan. Both fanbases have its own definitions and I’m pretty sure I don’t fall under any. Let’s break it down. I love Star Wars. My knowledge is quite extensive, but I don’t claim to know everything about it. My story with this franchise was a rocky road, remember? But I fell in love with it eventually. And it’s a mutual feeling, like Chris Martin sings: call it true, call it true love! (Okay, I’m sorry but this song is stuck in my head now) I absorb all the stories like sponge. Literally, I cannot wait for everything that Star Wars has to offer – new movies, stories, TV Shows (Kenobi, The Mandalorian season 2, final season of Clone Wars, series about Cassian Andor), games, books, board games. I am all in, full speed. Why? Because it makes me smile and happy. It keeps me engaged and it delivers tons of ideas for writing stories. I’m happy that I can take my dad to the movies for Star Wars because it’s our thing. I am genuinely delighted. But hey, don’t get this the wrong way – I also think that maybe they should have gone in different direction or introduced different characters or play this story another way. I’m not saying that “new” trilogy is perfect, because it’s not. But I sure as hell appreciate the fact that it exists and that it opened up shitload of new doors. Let’s be excited about that! No one’s ever really gone, do you get it? Even though we said goodbye to the saga, it doesn’t mean that we are bidding farewell to Star Wars.
There is so much to come, lot. There is a reason they keep doing those movies. There is a reason for Disney to create all those TV series. I believe that people responsible for them, like Jon Favreau or Dave Filoni or JJ or Rian, who love Star Wars. Who grew up watching those movies. They are creators and trust me – if you are trusted with legacy as great as Star Wars, you will do everything to be remembered and to leave your footprint there. And each of you would do the same.
I asked a friend of mine (thank you, Patryk! <3) to tell me what he would want to see. He’s a real deal fan – if you have a Star Wars question, he is your go-to person. Trust me! What’s on his (and mine) wish-list?
- Bounty Hunters, though it’s kind of what The Mandalorian is about. But there is so much more to explore here! Mysterious and dangerous profession, that comes with dark and twisted backstory. Hey, Disney! I can hook you up with some stories form my head.
- The Force, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a perfect story to delve into. How did it all started? How to use it, how to maintain balance?
- Darth Bane as “it’s clue of Star Wars”. Hopefully we will get a tv show about him. But I would love to see it. I dream of dark, thrilling and hopeless series, that will focus on the Dark Side.
There is so much to love about Star Wars, so much to respect, to root for and be happy about. Do we really want to waste time for hate? Let’s focus on celebrating the fact, that we have something to wait for and be excited about. And that goes to every fandom out there – life is complicated enough, lot. Focus on enjoying what you love. Let it make you happy. And if it no longer makes you this way… Move on, let it go, stick to what you think is better. It’s a free world.
„Here’s why you can’t exterminate us, aruetii. We’re not huddled in one place—we span the galaxy. We need no lords or leaders—so you can’t destroy our command. We can live without technology—so we can fight with our bare hands. We have no species or bloodline—so we can rebuild our ranks with others who want to join us. We’re more than just a people or an army, aruetii. We’re a culture. We’re an idea. And you can’t kill ideas—but we certainly can kill you.”
―Ranah Teh Naast