On Being the Problem

I knew every planet, species and ship model on Wookieepedia. I’d read scores of books and comics. I had laserdisc and betamax copies of New Hope. I had played every Star Wars game available for me to play.

Yet I was not a good Star Wars fan.

I didn’t know what ‘elitist’ meant in my teens. I just had this unconscious compulsion to be more knowledgeable than the next fan. And the more media I consumed, the better a fan I was. It made sense to me at the time. And any so-called fan who hadn’t devoted all their spare time to knowing as much as possible about Star Wars wasn’t someone whom I’d be willing to waste my time.

In a world like that, it becomes very easy to believe you are the only demographic.

So when Star Wars made something that didn’t fit my palette, if it didn’t engage me specifically on all cylinders, that they had failed. The Prequels explained the Force biologically? Preposterous! Clone Wars has pacifist Mandalorians? How could they betray me like this!

Everything not aimed directly at me became a personal affront to rage against. And let me tell you, living like that is exhausting.

When I got married I saw my wife was a fan of Star Wars. She didn’t know all the planets or ships or species (though she has the number of the trash compactor committed to memory), but she enjoyed watching the movies, and she enjoyed different parts than I did. Her experience with Star Wars was unique, and beautiful, and eye-opening.

That was something I would never crush with my judgmental nonsense.

I will say this for the rest of my life: Star Wars is not about lore. It was never about space battles or droids or special effects– though it has all those things. Star Wars is about people. It’s about the total enthusiasm for our generation’s mythology, and the wonder and emotion it gives to us. That’s a beautiful thing.

Like Luke in the Last Jedi trailer, I only know one truth. If you want to look down your nose at fans for liking Star Wars in a different way than you, then you are the problem with Star Wars.

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