As the Star Wars teasers crop up, you'd expect devout fans like myself to be in a state of attuned revelry similar to that of a liberation shindig on Coruscant. Alas, I beat no such Stormtrooper bongo. I can pinpoint the moment that the darkside engulfed me. Permit me to take you on a retrospective journey, somewhat ironically, at my personal Star Wars saga.
I'm a geek. This is something to be proud of in this age, and we can probably thank George Lucas and his mastery in the permissible behaviours of fandom. George made it ok for you to give yourself over to fiction in an unworldly manner. Star Wars pervades the atmosphere of our existence; it binds up, it is one of those truly rare aspects of society where you are unable to escape its Jedi mind trick clutches. Star Wars has shaped who we are, and that goes doubly for my generation. Even now it's allowed for thirty-something men to discuss the Empire and Rebellion in terms of reality. The allegorical prose allows for the viewer to invest as much or as little of themselves as they care to give. Our first lascivious glances were at a Princess in a bikini fit for Hutts. Our moral compass was based on a climactic battle of an inner conflict.
I had many of the original toys; I took them out the packets as I believe that anyone that didn't is soulless -- and I will stand by such a statement. I played with those original Kenner toys until the transfers became a befitting tribute to a used universe. I yearned for a real lightsaber, and every year I asked for a pet Ewok for Christmas. I now have a gerbil called Wicket as adequate compensation.
I've stuck with George Lucas through his dribbling on his chin period with the questionable release of Caravan of Courage, and that other Ewok adventure that showed up the low budget costumes nicely. I believe I've invested so much money into buying the films that I have shares in the company. I have three sets of VHS, three sets of DVDs, and have been to three or four cinema releases. I've put LucasArts' kids through college I'm sure. To seal my credentials, I own a full shelving unit worth of books: I am Wookieepedia.
So why am I not jumping up and down and screaming 'utinni'? Because I feel it's time I saw other people, explored other franchises, and travel to other systems. George, it's not you, it's me. I feel that Star Wars is no longer mine; it's no longer that innocent cult that organically gripped a generation's consciousness. I wobbled around the Clone Wars cartoons, the branding made me stop and stare with less than gleeful eyes. I had made it through the Phantom Menace and Jar Jar Binks and maintained my adulation, but the new incarnation of Star Wars was a step too far. Every fan knows they are being taken for a ride, we allow ourselves to a greater degree, and we overlook the fact that our wallet is being pick pocketed like the handiest of Mos Eisely's rogues. As sure as we know Greedo did not shoot first, we know that eventually enough is enough. Like a rabid Corellian gambler who sets no limit, a line in the Tatooine sands has to be drawn if you wish to salvage your credits and the love you once felt. Akin to the Pit of Sarlacc, I now feel my wallet has been chewed and digested over a long period of time.
It's not being over dramatic to suggest that Star Wars gave me tingles, even until recently. It's inherently part of me. It has been a constant, a comfort, a blanket, and a counselor. Now, it feels like the jilted lover that I see getting rowdy at the cantina. As I said at the start of this outpouring, I can pinpoint the moment that I realised I'd grieved for my childhood universe. In fact, allow me to show you:
Yes, I bought it
This Jawa was found in The Disney Store. Nothing wrong with that I sense some of you say (yes, I do actually believe in The Force). I never did expect to see Star Wars merchandise in Disney, but moreover the next film installment is a far far away. What we have here is an overt conveyor belt of disposable fluff just to start making money off the licence. Yes, yes, as I've stated, I'm used to that, but I am not allowing Disney to cut a hole in my pocket the size of a Rancor; I'm putting up my deflector shields.
Yoda taught me to have faith: "do or do not, there is no try" - so as I try and rekindle the lost flames of joy that I had in the Universe, the Jedi Master himself is my conscience telling me not to bother in trying. My faith rests solely and tenuously on JJ Abrams to see if he can take this out of control Super Star Destroyer and pilot it towards the wistful twin suns of better days. I can't take being made to feel like a cash-banther any longer. It's with some degree of sincerity that I wish the force to be with Mr. Abrams as he embarks on his journey; he is the new, and my only hope.