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I am opening up this space for my husband to write a guest post. While I know that there are many Star Wars fans that are women, I also have seen other wives posting that they have never seen Star Wars, nor understand why this is such a big deal to their husbands. As a disclaimer, I have only ever seen the original Star Wars (Episode IV), and that when Ezra asks Star Wars related questions, I say, “You’ll have to ask your dad.”
However, this was incredibly helpful to me as a geek-supportive spouse (GSS – this should be a thing, just sayin…) to understand why this is so important to him.
While this is a departure from the normal fare of this blog, I hope you enjoy this post. If you are not a Star Wars fan, by the end of this post, you will understand enough to relate to those who are.
I am not a Star Wars expert, just an old fan.
Without a doubt my most vivid movie memory is going to see Return of the Jedi in the theater on opening night with my older brother. When we arrived, we noticed that there were at least 100 people in line, and we doubted that we would get in at all. As we walked down the line, my brother saw two of his friends from school (they were maybe 30th in line). They kindly offered to let us cut in front of them with one stipulation: if we got in and they didn’t, they got our tickets. We immediately agreed. And got in. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the greatest movie experience of my life so far.
In just over five days (approximately 130 hours from now), I am going to Star Wars VII (hereafter called ‘SW7’) in the theater on pre-release night with tickets I bought online after Fandango’s website crashed from too many people trying to buy tickets. I have not seen any trailers or read any information on the internet about SW7, just to make sure that when I see it, it will be as pure and spoiler-free of an experience as possible. So, yes, I am very excited. It is accurate to say that this will be a one-time movie event that literally millions of people have been anticipating all year long.
SW7 IS a big deal.
To understand why SW7 matters, you first must understand why this particular sequel is so significant. For a moment, pretend we live in a universe where there was only three Star Wars movies (IV-VI, or Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, if you prefer). In such a world, this movie would be nothing more than a long overdue sequel, a shameless merchandising attempt to reboot something well-loved unless you were a die-hard fan.
But there were three other movies.
While there may be some inclination to say, “What’s the big deal about the three other movies?”, their existence literally changes everything about how SW7 will be received. And also, they are bad. Like really, really bad, which I will demonstrate in a moment.
But first, know that the original trilogy is so deeply loved by its fans that they have been hyping up the fictional universe for 30 years (going back to the release of Return of the Jedi).
And that is a conservative number, since you could argue it really started back in 1977 (release of Star Wars). Star Wars fans hold deeply personal passion for the characters and the moments that made the movies so great. I believe it is highly accurate to say that most people can spout of at least three quotes from the original trilogy.
‘The hype is strong with this one’ in deed. (The fact that most people will see what I did there proves my point). There are a lot of die-hard Star Wars fans, and the success of SW7 will matter to them like no movie before because of how personally invested they are.
And then there are those three other movies I told you about. The bad ones.
These are the movies that even non-Star Wars fans know about because the die-hard fans nerd-raged so epically about them when they were released. To call them colossal flops is an insult to colossal flops. I have personally never seen Episode III out of pure defiance and desire to make a statement on how bad the two movies that preceded it were. The prequel trilogy (Episode I-III) is so bad that is literally viewed as a stain on the Star Wars franchise by many. We were promised a three-movie origin story that would enrich and deepen our love for the original trilogy. What we got instead was a CGI heavy trilogy with bad acting, bad dialogue, a watered down and cheap explanation for the force, and of course this:
Star Wars fans were so deeply burned by Episodes I-III that they NEED SW7 to succeed. If it fails, I would not be surprised to see rioting at Disney World. This is not just another movie built on the hopes and dreams of fans. This is vengeance for the abomination that we were forced to partake in by those who maligned our dearly love fandom. To say “this time it’s personal” seems trite, but it is in fact a very real threat against those who would try to repeat the mistake.
If SW7 is not good, I will personally never spend even $1 on a product/service that has a Disney label on it again.
Fortunately, Disney is not stupid. Yes, they bought Star Wars from George Lucas so they could make money. But I do not believe they entered into this venture without knowing the risks at stake. Disney needs this to be good almost as much as the fans do because they are counting on future successes based on the product line. So it would be no exaggeration to say that sw7 is as big of a deal as the Titanic was when it sailed.
And its failure will go down in history just as hard. (I am being figurative here but you get the point.)
The last point I want to make (fittingly so) is that this is the literal end of Star Wars as we know it. No fan can reasonably expect the cast from the original trilogy to continue making movies. They are 30 years older than they were last time. And they are getting older. This film will serve to be the ending to the original trilogy that we all desperately wanted back in 1983 and were wrongfully denied in 1999. To not end the original trilogy, the literal reason Star Wars fandom is a thing, is to spit on the thing that makes it great. It would be like a cannibal feasting on their own flesh.
It would be bad (reiterating point #2 for necessary emphasis).
But all of this also means it is the start of something new. There could actually, seriously, somehow be a Star Wars tv drama series in the near future. They are already planning on making another two films (Episode 8 & 9). And that’s not even counting Rogue One or the rumored Boba Fett spin off. This really is the “beginning of a beautiful friendship” for a slew of new fans. Its success could potentially create exuberant celebration in the streets around the world.
People will remember where they were in their lives when they saw it for the first time.
I have taken a lot of time and words to try and express this single though: there has never before, in the history of film, been a movie whose success or failure was watched by so many because of its potential to impact them in real and permanent ways. This movie is not guaranteed to be the greatest movie of all time. It could be “decent”, or just “good”, but even that would make it the most successful venture in the film industry just because it continued the series they way it should have a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars VII matters. Even if it doesn’t matter to you.