Star Wars is great. It really is. It was a game changer for science fiction, and without it, it’s almost certain that the genre wouldn’t have developed the way it has in the years since. Further more, I grew up in a family full of nerds, so of course Star Wars was a big part of that (the Holy Nerd Trifecta being, of course, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings). In fact, I don’t really remember a time when my brother and I didn’t know what Star Wars was. It was always there; and not only did we watch the original movies, we also watched The Ewok Adventure and the holiday special (shudder), and my brother had one hell of an action figure collection. Most of our friends were similarly taken with Star Wars, and given that we were children of the ’80s, this shouldn’t really be a surprise. A New Hope (though we wouldn’t call it that for over a decade) was originally intended to be a children’s film, after all, which explains the simplicity of the plot. Imaginary Star Wars games were therefore a more or less permanent fixture in our playdates, and the more people we had to play them with, the better. One of my brother’s friends even had the Ewok treehouse playset, and believe you me, that thing was AWESOME.
So yeah, I like Star Wars. But Star Wars mega-fans? No offense, but man, you guys freak me out.
There are a lot of things I’ll do for Star Wars. I’ll laugh at related jokes (like this one); I’ll be familiar enough with the mythology to be able to speak somewhat intelligently about it and/or have solid opinions about it (Han shot first!); I’ll quote the scripts at appropriate moments; I’ll play an assortment of related video games; I’ll write about it on Crushable; and I’ll punch Jake Lloyd and/or Hayden Christensen in the face if presented with the opportunity. There are also, however, a lot of things I will NOT do for Star Wars. I will not fanatically try to convert the masses; I will not fight to the death anyone who disagrees with my opinions about the mythology; I will not join the Church of Jediism; I will not dress up; and I will not, for any reason, willingly lose sleep in favor of anything Star Wars-related.
Allow me elaborate on this last point:
The Phantom Menace came out when I was in eighth grade, and boy, were we all excited. It had been awesome enough when the original trilogy was re-released in cinemas, allowing those of us who had only ever seen it on itty bitty television screens to experience it in all its big-screen glory; but now, there were NEW movies! WHOA! What an event! But there’s excited, and there’s EXCITED, and I fell into the former category. I had some friends, though, who were definitely card-carrying members of the latter, and these were the guys who were the very first in line for the very first showing. And I do mean first; even at the tender ages of twelve and thirteen, they camped out in front of the cinema the night before it was released just to make extra sure that they didn’t miss anything. Naturally, my parents would not let my brother or me set up shop in front of the cinema all night (not even my dad, who is a bigger nerd than my brother and me put together); but more to the point, I didn’t feel the need to do so in the first place. Given how disappointing The Phantom Menace was, this was in retrospect a wiser decision than any of us had counted on it being. But even it had been the greatest cinema event of all time, I still probably wouldn’t have done it, because that, my friends, is a level of ridiculous that I just can’t justify. I will not stay up all night simply to secure tickets to a Star Wars movie. I won’t do it for Lord of the Rings either, and I’m a much bigger Tolkien fan than a Lucas fan (Frodo lives!). Heck, I won’t even do it for Shakespeare in the Park, and I REALLY love Shakespeare.
It’s possible that I’m just not passionate enough about anything to do these sorts of above-and-beyond activities; but I don’t really think that’s the case. I’m pretty darn passionate about most of my interests, because honestly, I don’t see the point of doing something if you’re not going to invest in it. Maybe it’s more that for me, the major overarching interest that drives all my other interests is the nature of storytelling, and for that, I don’t need to dress up. I don’t need to camp out in weird places. The stories speak for themselves, and they’re always there to come back to. They’re not going anywhere.
It did, after all, happen such a long time ago in a galaxy so very far, far away.