I think it’s easy for Star Wars fans to agree that 2015 was an incredible year for the galaxy far, far away – further, I think fans would probably all agree that the release of The Force Awakens was the quintessential Star Wars event of the year; however, ask five fans what their top five experiences of 2015 were, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out you got five different answers…so, keeping in mind that this is solely my opinion and not a hard and fast, written in stone list, here are my five best Star Wars experiences of the past year…if you have a different list (or just want to tell me I’m right, as usual), please let me know in the comments:
1) The Force Awakens
Duh. I thought about leaving this out since it’s blindingly obvious, but it’s also just too important (and too good) to not include. So, yeah, Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the announcement that there would, in fact, be another Star Wars trilogy is probably on my 5 of the best moments of my life list (okay, maybe not top 5, but definitely 10…I take my fandom seriously, dammit), and The Force Awakens is both the culmination and commencement of that announcement: it ended what was expected to be an eternal drought of Star Wars films, and began not only a new trilogy, but an era of Star Wars cinema that includes non-episodic films as well…not to mention it was a really, really good movie that took my beloved story in a direction I am fully on board with and incredibly excited to dig deeper into with not only Episodes VIII & IX, but all the other forms of media that are being utilized to create this “next-gen” Star Wars experience…so, let’s all drop what we’re doing and go see TFA again, huh? Who’s with me?
2) Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
I chose Siege of Lothal and not Rebels in general first and foremost because Rebels started in 2014 and carries on, so the series as a whole isn’t exclusive to 2015, but also because, in my opinion, Siege of Lothal is the absolute pinnacle of the series so far – I enjoy the series as a whole, and look forward to its return (on my birthday, so thanks for the present, Disney), but I think the second season, overall, isn’t quite as good as the first season (yet), so that’s why I singled out The Siege of Lothal…that and because it’s really just that good. If someone that wasn’t much into cartoons wanted to give Rebels a try, I’d immediately tell them to watch Siege of Lothal, and if that doesn’t make them want to know more about the characters and they’d been through up until that point and beyond, then I’d say Rebels isn’t for them.
3) Marvel Star Wars Comics
Is it a bit of a cop-out to list all the comics and not pick a specific series or issue since that’s what you did with Rebels? Not at all! Honestly, the running series have had their ups and downs, and I wasn’t overly fond of the Leia or Chewbacca minis, but I still think the return to Marvel and the work the artists and writers are doing is fantastic. I always look forward to any new book being available and read them straightaway unless something about stupid life gets in the way (jobs, right?). I will say that the Darth Vader series started out and remains my favorite to this point, with the Star Wars series and Kanan series nipping at its heels. Oh, and the Lando mini…wow…I think it may have been in part because I had little if any expectations going in, but that series blew me away. And, like I wrote about when the #6s came out, I love how they weave the narrative through the Darth Vader and Star Wars series, especially in the recent Vader Down story line…man, I kind of feel like reading some comics right now, actually…be right back!
I consider Aftermath to be the first new canon novel because it’s the first novel that takes place in the up-to-that-point unexplored time after Return of the Jedi – yes, I know there were technically new canon novels released well before Aftermath (I’ve read them all, don’t worry), but they were all stories that took place within a time frame where we knew what the over-arching story was…we didn’t really know what went on in the galaxy after RotJ when Aftermath came out (and, for that matter, we still don’t know a whole lot about the 30 years between RotJ & TFA). It was exciting and refreshing to meet some new potential heroes and adversaries, and to flesh out the idea that things didn’t suddenly become all sunshine and rainbows just because the Emperor was killed and the second Death Star destroyed…plus, I mean, Mister Bones…that’s really all I needed to say in this section to justify putting Aftermath on the list, honestly…
5) Servants of the Empire
Wait, wait, hold on, this series started in 2014, but you’re putting it on the list for 2015? Didn’t you basically say that’s why you didn’t just say Rebels for #2? Shhh, shut up, it’s fine…the reason the whole series gets the nod is because the majority was released in 2015 and it wouldn’t make sense to leave out just one book of the series…plus, this is my party and I’ll change the rules if I want to…anyway, yes, this is a “young adult” or whatever series that’s sort of a spin-off from Rebels and shouldn’t be that interesting, right? Wrong! This series is incredibly well-written and has a great story that stands firm on its own, even if you don’t watch Rebels. And, honestly, the last book in the series gave the biggest “Journey to the Force Awakens” hint, and it wasn’t even labeled as such. If you skipped this series, didn’t know about it, wrote it off, or insert another random excuse not to read it here, then you owe it to yourself to pick it up…I guarantee you won’t regret it.
So, there you have it! That’s my top five for the year…I think I’ll give an honorable mention to Star Wars Celebration as it was a very exciting weekend, but I wasn’t there so it didn’t have quite as much of an impact and thus didn’t work its way into my top five…I should also mention Before the Awakening, Star Wars The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary (which is amazing), and the novelization of The Force Awakens (which I’m currently reading), but I guess I sort of roll all TFA stuff up into #1…anyway, yeah, I’m happy with that list, what do you think? What did I leave out that makes me a horrible Star Wars fan? What did I include that makes me a certifiable genius? These are the questions that haunt me on sleepless nights…not really, I sleep like a rock, but I am interested to hear what other people pick for their 5 best Star Wars experiences of 2015…so, give it some thought and let me know, and, while you’re pondering what they are, may the Force be with you…