If you’re not at least a little leery of the upcoming Star Wars film once again corrupting your enjoyment of the mythical galaxy far far away, you’re either too young or not a devoted enough fan to have been truly devastated by the hot pile of loose shit that was Attack of the Clones. That’s fine: in fact, you’re lucky.
Myself, I’ve been up nights thinking. More specifically, working myself into a puddled web of complex anxieties all stemming from hypothetical situations I’ve imagined, none of which have yet come to pass. (There’s your warning label about the rest of this post. Abort mission? Y/N). And I’ve decided to decide (yep) that it doesn’t matter if the new film is awful.
In fact, I’ve been able to convince myself that I kind of want it to be awful, the same way you tell yourself you don’t WANT to be asked on a date by that person you like who may or may not like you back.
I mean: the Star Wars fandom more than any other has defined my life. I’m not evil enough to want it to be bad more than I want it to be good. I 98% want it to be good. But I’m also able to admit there is a tiny 2% part of me that wants it to be bad. And yes, if you know me, you know this desire is mainly rooted in my own psychological issues surrounding disappointment and rejection. But—there is another. Reason, that is.
Here’s why: because I don’t want to listen to a bunch of morons say “OMG I THINK ITS BETTAR THAN TEH ORIGINALZ!”
Even if you’re five years old. Even if you’ve never seen the originals (which fuck you get off my website). I don’t give a shit. I don’t want to listen to that shit. It’s like comparing your birthday party to Beyoncé’s and saying hers was better. Well yeah, hers probably had like a champagne fountain and fire breathing and a light up dance floor and a budget of a trillion dollars. Hers is better than yours by today’s standards. But you made yours in the basement. Yours was a passion project. Yours was a droid made out of a spray painted trash can; hers is that BB-8 thing. It’s apples and oranges and people are going to start comparing them and just. No.
I watched the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time when I was seven or eight, and my life goals changed immediately. Before that I’d planned to become a dolphin trainer and dig up mummies in Egypt on the side: now, all I wanted was to be a Jedi. Today I am a Han Solo fan and would prefer the life of a smuggler to an ascetic, but as a kid, Luke resonated with me the most as a hero, especially in A New Hope. As a young girl growing up in the flat, homogeneous American Midwest, I understood his hunger for the Tattooine horizon, to see what lay across it, to race on his speeder until he crossed it into something greater. And he was chosen, or maybe rather destined, to find it, to do this thing, because the Force was with him. Maybe, I told myself, the Force could be with me too.
Of course, I knew I wasn’t a Jedi. I didn’t know yet about anything like midi-chlorians (because they’re stupid) or what code made someone a Jedi (thanks KOTOR), but I knew damn well I couldn’t Force Push anything. Believe me, I tried. As an adult, I see echoes, though, of our longings for, our belief in, something like the Force, in every self-help book and every Bible/Quran/Torah. THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS we tell each other. MANIFEST YOUR OWN SUCCESS. PRAY AND YOU WILL BE HEARD. The ideological gap between these tenets and the notion of the Force is small. (I mean, there’s a reason you can tell the US Military your religion is Jedi.) The Force even allegedly has a will of its own. The Force helps those who help themselves. The Force contains good and evil and neutrality and all those things are within its plan. All these feels, all this inspiration and delight and belief in myself and my own worth, came from a movie which is legend in Hollywood for its sparse beginnings. Those feels live strong within me and the rest of Star Wars’ fans, and they’re the reason Disney dropped a bundle to pick up their new cash cow, which they hooked up to a milking machine (aka TARGET STORES) immediately.
I’m preemptively resentful of the new Star Wars film. It’s like the stepchild sibling your parents spoil after you move out of the house. You don’t want that sibling to be better. You want it to fucking fail because it’s had everything handed to it. Even when that stepchild does something awesome and cures cancer, in your head you’re still like goddamn you.
MARK HAMILL GOT IN SHAPE FOR THE NEW STAR WARS AND I SIMULTANEOUSLY WANT AND DON’T WANT IT TO DESERVE IT.
I don’t want it to deserve it because I’m afraid of the shadow it will cast on those humble origins. I’m afraid it will achieve success without respecting where it comes from. I’m afraid it’s nothing but a glammed-up, carefully-manicured blockbuster devoid of any true grit or emotion, capitalizing on the success of its harder-working prequels to rake in the bucks while delivering something mediocre. Why am I afraid of this? Because of fucking past experience, Jar Jar. AND because I’ve SEEN Disney sequels and I’m STILL MAD about The Little Mermaid 2. Assholes.
Is this fear unfounded? Maybe, and I can admit that. I mean, there have been set pics of some Snuffaluffagus-level puppets. The trailers gave me the goosebumps. MARK HAMILL GOT IN SHAPE. All signs point to this being the time Dad DOES show up to your birthday party with a fucking pony. But the thing is; people got paid a lot of money to make that trailer give me the goosebumps. You think Mark Hamill lost that weight for a passion project? Think again; he lost it for cash.
Whether or not The Force Awakens is mediocre, let's be fair, it’s already managed to be better than Attack of the Clones and it hasn’t even come out yet. But. I fear my inner rancor waking up to rage when people are blown away by big-budget CG perfection lacking in any real depth or narrative quality (oh what it’s already awake for a reason I made up in my own head ok yes thANK YOU FOR THE NOTICE).
Now I know what you’re thinking. These things are not mutually exclusive. The Force Awakens can be great and IMPROVE our perception of the originals. It can be a big budget blockbuster moneymaking behemoth and still be an amazing movie. And based exclusively on Han’s presence and one epic line in the trailer, this is what I hope. This is what we all hope.
But if it’s not the case….the sly evil little demon inside me will get its snack. I’ll cry on my way home (I’ll probably cry on my way home regardless) and I’ll watch The Empire Strikes Back yet again and either way you know what?
The Force will still be with us. Keep calm (AHAHAHAHA YEAH) and live long and prosper or some shit like that. I DON'T EVEN CARE.