Oh boy, where to start.
I first discovered Star Wars when I was eight or nine years old. My first viewing came via cable TV, and I was mesmerized. The starships. The characters. The lightsaber. It was beyond what my young mind could comprehend, and I loved it. Then the Special Editions and Prequels came to continue feeding my starry-eyed hunger for more. But, sadly, I also grew up and changed and so did the way I saw things.
We all know at least one fan that can find something wrong with everything they claim to love, particularly in our Star Wars family. I hate to tell you, I was becoming that person. Slowly but surely, over time I became your basic prequel-hater. Star Wars: The Clones Wars? Not a fan at all. Darth Maul is alive? Bull! And don’t get me started on The Force Unleashed (although, to be honest, my opinion of that hasn’t really changed). Basically, there was nothing George Lucas could do that I didn’t have a problem with. It was sad.
But then 2012 came, and Star Wars changed for ever. George Lucas sold Kids still, and all its properties, to the Walt Disney Company. This had a profound effect on me. I had thoughts like “But Lucasfilm is its own master”, and “What now?”, and even “What about George?”. You know how they say you don’t miss something until it’s gone? That’s what I was quickly realizing.
In addition to the earth shattering news that George Lucas was passing the torch, another big change had come to my fan life: I discovered podcasts. More specifically, I finally clicked on that link on my favorite website at the time, TheForce.net, and gave The Forcecast a listen. Suddenly, I heard the voices of fellow fans from across the globe share their experiences and opinions. From there, my horizons only continued to broaden.
As I found more and more shows I soon had to admit something: I was seriously narrow-minded in my fandom. I was cynical and pessimistic about what I loved to the point it seemed I disliked more than I liked. I was not okay with this. Over time that negativity abated and gave way to that old love I first had for the franchise and all it had to offer. While I still critique it, I do so from the point of a fan and out of admiration. Sure there’s stuff I don’t like, but that doesn’t detract from the whole. It only opens up an opportunity for conversation and friendships.
Some time later, and not quite a year ago, I took a huge step. Rather than remaining content to stay a spectator in the Star Wars fandom, I decided to become a participant. Following the inspiration of my “podcast heroes”, I started my own Star Wars podcast. Home One Hangout started out of my love for Star Wars, and my fascination with podcasting. And in less than a year we’ve created two additional shows, participated in Star Wars Celebration Orlando, was nominated in the Star Wars Podcast Awards, started this blog, and, best of all, made a ton of new friends.
Everyday these new friendships continue to save me as a fan and remind me of what Star Wars is about. It’s about friends. It’s about the experience. It’s about community. Star Wars podcasts truly showed me this, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I also hope that in some way the show I created can give back just a bit of what my fellow fans gave me. May the Force be with you all.