I’m sitting in my home-office wondering what year it is. It seems to be a regular occurrence, these days. In a few hours my buns will be wedged into a theater seat with a Cherry Coke and a jumbo bucket of buttered popcorn watching a film based on a story I grew up on. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been out for a number of hours now and I’ve avoided the minefield of spoilers that is social media so far. Last year I gave into the temptation of anticipation and checked internet reviews for The Force Awakens. No such mistake this year, thank the maker.
It feels like I’ve burrowed through the fabric of time and emerged somewhere a short time ago, in a caul de sac just around the way. Before the days of spoilers, the instant gratification that is the internet, and selfish armchair quarterbacks like myself complaining about anything and everything a new film tries to give us. Disney, through all of their perceived flaws from Star Wars fans, is sending me back to a more enjoyable time . They’re sending us all back; we just have to be willing to take the ride.
When I was a kid we had three movies: the original Trilogy. Then in 1995 LucasArts released Dark Forces. We played that game until the disc wore out. (do kids even know that games once came on discs?) We didn’t have Rebels cartoons, an entire world a video games, or prequels. If we wanted more Star Wars we had to get dedicated to the cause. We had to seek out expanded universe books and comics, comb through art books like the art of Star Wars, or do what my friends and I did: break out our Hasbro Power of the Force action figures and create stories of our own. Every Christmas from 1995 to 2000 my brother Steven and I would build our universe figure by figure, ship by ship, playset by playset. Many guns, lightsabers, and accessories were lost in the process but as a 30 year old man I’m amazed when I open the crate to play with my daughter. It’s like exhuming artifacts from an ancient pyramid or burial tomb. It’s a time capsule about the period of my life described above. And I’m sure it describes a period of some of your lives as well.
So I hope you understand why during this Christmas season as I anticipate going to see the latest Star Wars film, I’m in awe as my eleven-year-old self. We can bitch about directors’ visions, retconning of expanded universe details, annoying characters, and creative decisions but when it comes down to it if you were a 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s kid this is exactly what we dreamed of. While we spent hours creating our universes, we hoped someone else would do it on film. Just as we were inspired to create our own stories in our own bedrooms and backyards these new creative forces are realizing theirs. We made our stories for us, what we enjoy. We had that luxury. They have to make these stories for all of us and our sensibilities and idiosyncrasies. They’re also beholden to the studio, the legacy of Star Wars and Lucasfilm, and the responsibility to turn a profit.
It may sound melodramatic but the Christmas season becoming Star Wars season has made the holiday that much better for me. Maybe you don’t feel the same way and that’s fine, but the richness of my holiday season has been greatly enhanced by the realization of these boyhood dreams. So before we complain, before we shred every detail of the film (because we know the internet will) just remember that after waiting so long, after all these years, we finally get what we wanted for Christmas.
At the risk of sounding corny- Merry Christmas, happy holidays, May the Force be with you, and go enjoy Rogue One as your eleven-year-old self.
B Show Brian, Star Wars fan