It has been waay too long since our last My Star Wars Moment and I’m really happy to present to you a Moment by mes520! I always love our chats on Twitter and you guys should definitely go over there and follow. This Moment is a little bit different than the others, in the sense that it goes a bit deeper and touches on a lot of issues which I’m sure many Star Wars fans have experienced.
I was around the age of 6 when I first saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It was the Special Edition. My mom had borrowed her dad’s, my Grandfather’s, Star Wars Special Edition VHS tapes. In short I loved it. I loved the droids, I thought they were funny. I loved the western feel in the first half of the movie. The only thing I didn’t like is that we couldn’t finish the whole movie that night. We had school the next day and had to go to bed though I remember begging my parents to let us finish the movie.
Sometime later that week my parents watched Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I don’t recall being very interested in either one. I was more interested in playing in my room though I did go back in the living room just in for the iconic, and perhaps overrated, “I am your father” scene. I don’t recall being shocked. Of course I hadn’t sat and watched the entire movie. I believe my response was, “He’s lying.” Though when I watched Return of the Jedi for my second or third viewing, I do remember being shocked when I realized that Leia was Darth Vader’s daughter. I always thought that was a more interesting twist, probably because the movies barely acknowledged this revelation.
Soon after, The Phantom Menace was released. Though I don’t remember much about The Phantom Menace’s release in 1999 I remember seeing someone wearing a Queen Amidala shirt. I didn’t see the movie until Christmas 1999 when we got the VHS tape as a gift, which we still have. Despite how many people call The Phantom Menace a kid’s movie, I don’t recall enjoying the movie as a child. Even when I got into Star Wars as a teenager, it was probably my least favorite. I appreciate and enjoy the movie more now as an adult. I like the family feel. I like Qui-Gon Jinn, the rogue, yet model Jedi of the Prequel era. Also I appreciate the character more, because I like the actor, Liam Neeson, yet he’s played the same role for the last 8 years.
Now I probably did enjoy the character, Jar Jar as a child, though I don’t recall having much of an opinion then. I believe the character always reminded me more of the character, Goofy. They are both tall and clumsy. They talk a little funny, but they have hearts of gold. Now Jar Jar annoys me more as an adult, but he has a purpose. Also he has character growth. He goes from an outcast, an honorary General, Representative, and finally Senator. Also he matures more as the movies go along.
Three years later, Attack of the Clones came out. I remember seeing the previews on TV with all the Jedi going to battle. I really wanted to see the movie in theaters, but alas, I did not. I finally got to see movie when we got the DVD for Christmas that year. I loved it and so did my sister. That was when my fandom began to grow. I remember being fascinated by the Clones. “How did they get all those people to look alike?” In some ways, I still do find it fascinating. Nor do I get why people hate that the Clones “weren’t real”. It’s a fictional movie, not a documentary, so none of it is real.
I loved the Battle of Geonosis. I loved seeing all the Jedi. I’d also love to see the real life model of the Geonosis arena someday. Now I don’t remember this, but according to my sister we were surprised by the wedding of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. To this day it’s still one of my favorite film weddings.
Sometime after Attack of the Clones my younger sister and I finally figured out that Palpatine and Darth Sidious were one and the same. Yes, it sounds silly, but we were only kids. I sometimes think of that as my “I am your father” moment of Star Wars. I also loved watch Star Wars: Clone Wars from Genndy Tartakovsky on Cartoon Network. I remember searching the TV guide looking for episodes which wasn’t always easy, because they were so short. Leading perfectly into Revenge of the Sith: the last Star Wars movie…then. Oh, how little we knew at that time.
My Mom agreed to take me as part of my birthday since it came out the day before my birthday. Days before we went and when the reviews came out, I remember asking my mom about what the critics thought. She shrugged and said, “They said it was the best of the three.” I suppose that was one of the first times I heard that some didn’t like the Prequels. I didn’t understand how or why, isn’t it all Star Wars? Nor did I give it much thought. I was so excited to see Revenge of the Sith.
I remember the credits and space battle. The audience including myself laughing when Yoda took out the Red Guards. I remember being sad about Padmé dying. I suppose I should have expected it, but I was still sad. Overall, I loved it.
My obsession with Star Wars only grew. I watched the other five movies every day when I came home from Summer School that year. I remember getting more into Episode V: Empire Strikes Back. After a while, it began to annoy my family.
Finally school came around that year and my English teacher was a big Star Wars fan. She was also a really big fan of Hayden Christensen. I also had something of a crush on him. It was really nice to have someone to talk Star Wars with. My family was sick of Star Wars at that point and we didn’t have the internet yet. Though from what I’ve seen online the last few years, that was probably for the best.
Several of my classmates and peers were not Star Wars fans. Well, most of them had never actually seen Star Wars. Now a few I know had seen and liked Star Wars, but they weren’t out and proud with their fandom like I was at that time. I would wear a Star Wars t-shirt and bring my Star Wars books to read. Including the Dark Lord Trilogy: Labyrinth of Evil, Revenge of the Sith, and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. Also all the people that hadn’t seen Star Wars were the people I was in class with most the day. Figures, right? Instead they were into movies like the Saw franchise and American Pie.
Again, they had never seen Star Wars. They didn’t like or watch anything dealing with Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anything imaginative. They didn’t know or understand what Star Wars was. Why our teacher and I loved it so much or whatever the reason. So of course, like typical teenagers, what did they do? They made fun of us. People also liked to make fun of my hair. “It’s a wig, right?”
Then there was my taste in music, I liked Rascal Flatts while they were fans of Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown…I wonder if they still are? It didn’t help that I was a very quiet and shy person. While I’m older and try to speak out for myself more, I’m still something of introvert, and I probably always will be. I was also called names, one of whom was “retarded”. To this day I’m still not completely sure why they did it the way they did. The reasons I previously listed.
Will Wheaton’s amazing speech from Comic Con 2013 applies here really well.
“When a person is cruel to you, it has nothing to do with you… it’s about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad. They don’t get positive attention from their parents,”
which is probably true in some of classmates’ cases. One girl, her parents decided to get a divorce on Christmas that year.
I think people also fear and sometimes mock what they don’t understand. I think it’s the same way with people that don’t like the Prequels and even that mock Prequel fans. Then there’s this peer pressure, if one person is doing it, others are going to follow and do it too. Eventually it can snowball, especially in the case of the Prequels and George Lucas.
I wish I had known all this then. It wasn’t easy and very hurtful. Also I was frustrated and angry about it. Looking back, I also draw parallels between myself and my classmates to Anakin Skywalker, Palpatine, and the Jedi Order.
I was Anakin Skywalker while my peers were Palpatine, because while I wanted the, and thought they were my friends, they never were. They were also like the Jedi Order, because like Anakin, I never fit in among them and was always an outcast. Like Anakin, I was also very frustrated and angry about the situation. “Why are they so mean to me? What did I ever do them? It’s not fair!”
Things were better in high school. I wasn’t around those same people all day long, but every now and then someone would make a comment or a jab. Thankfully, unlike Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith, I got a happy ending. I graduated from high school five years ago. Things have certainly improved, I don’t get made fun of for wearing a Star Wars t-shirt anymore. I even got a few “Hello’s” and “May the Fourth Be with You” back on May 4th this year.
Unfortunately, I’m not entirely out of the woods. While I am no longer bullied to my face, many Prequel fans like myself have been mocked and cyberbullied at one point or another online. One can only imagine what it’s been like for George Lucas all these years.
I knew some didn’t like the Prequels, but the extent of hate I’ve discover as I’ve joined the online communities over the last few years is far worse than anything I could have possibly imagined. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve met and chatted with lots of great people and that’s been nice. I don’t feel like I’m the only Star Wars fan in the world, but things aren’t quite where I’d like them to be.
But that’s not going to stop from enjoying what I love and I continue to stand up for myself and the Prequels online against haters. Perhaps that time in Middle and High School was God’s way of preparing me for the bullying against the Prequels and Prequel fans.
Like my time in school, hopefully this hate against the Prequels, Prequel fans, and George Lucas will one day end. I hope and suspect it will. There has been a small uprising lately and those like myself who grew up with the Prequels are getting older. I also hope that The Prequels Strike Back documentary will be the beginning of the end of the misconceptions and hatred towards the Star Wars Prequels. I also believe that people are going to be a lot nicer to the Prequels and Lucas by the time Disney is through with the Saga. I like Disney and all, I grew up and enjoy many of their films, but at the same time, I know them. They’re going to milk the franchise to death. I suspect there will be a reboot during my lifetime.
But that won’t be anytime soon, and for now I want to enjoy Star Wars and my fandom. Despite my concerns, I’m still looking forward to December 18, 2015, and plan to try to go opening night.
5 thoughts on “My Star Wars Moment #8: the Highs and Lows of Being a Star Wars Fan”
I’m a fan of all the movies but I understand why some ppl don’t like the prequels. The original trilogy was so well done and so well cast, especially for its time. And the special effects and everything we’re cutting edge at the time. The prequels overuse of CGI, poor dialogue at times and poor acting by some actors were a turn off for many, imo. I am still a fan of the prequels though and recently have grown to enjoy the prequel time period as much as the original.
When the Phantom Menace came out I was 17. And even though I wasn’t very overt about being a Star Wars nerd, I was determined to see it in the theaters. My friends who decided to come with me made fun of it of course. I was disappointed by the overuse of CGI and Jar Jar Binks. Anakin being so young was a little weird and his acting wasn’t the best.
I thought Attack of the Clones was much better, but I thought Hayden Christiansen’s acting wasn’t that great. The love scene between him and Padme on Naboo was cringe worthy imo. But ignoring that, I liked it and thought the rest of the movie was pretty good.
Revenge of the Sith is amazing. Hayden Christiansen grew into his role and was MUCH better. It’s my 2nd favorite SW behind Empire Strikes Back.
I’ve recently been watching The Clone Wars TV show and it is excellent! It has helped me appreciate the prequel era so much. I hope with time other people start to appreciate it as well. I liked your post. It’s always good to hear a fellow SW fans story. May the force be with you 🙂
If you ever want to share your own favourite SW Moment or memory, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
If someone does not like the Prequels for the reasons you list I find it quite difficult to take that very seriously and would usually assume they are parroting what they heard about the “common view on the prequels”. The criticisms on dialogue & acting in Star Wars films are as old as … the Star Wars franchise. Look up reviews of the originals that were written as they came out and you will find exactly that kind of criticism, almost in identical wording and usually also including “weak character development” and “excessive reliance on special effects” (which back then were all practical effects of course).
If people visiting your favorite italian restaurants keep complaining about the taste of tomatoes & olives & parmasan while every now and then appreciating some of the pasta-cheese or bbq sauce filled pizza crust … they’re not seriously critisizing your favorite restaurant but they simply don’t like italian food.
Here’s a perspective from somebody older you may find interesting.
I was 12 in 1977, so was pretty much the target for the spaceships and laser swords ! We used to keep our ticket stubs and hang around in the foyer for a second viewing. When no pocket money was forthcoming we would sneak in and force-wave last weeks stub to bored ushers – “you guys AGAIN !?”
At the time the film was not universally adored – It was only a small group of school friends. I once wore an R2D2 L.e.d watch – and was laughed at for liking the dumb robot film. We loved Empire and couldn’t get enough of double showings with A.N.H. Strangely though, I remember being let down by Yoda since the muppets were everywhere and it was obviously the same guy who did Kermit / Miss Piggy. The naysayers thought the first half was cool but the second half slow and cheesy.
By this time A New Hope made it to T.V. I was so excited to show my Dad, but it looked less impressive on the small screen with tinny sound and he thought it was ridiculous – like a pastiche of all the movies he liked as a kid -which of course it was !
By the time Jedi came around me and my friends were older and cool movies like Blade Runner and Alien would be the background to our teenage years.
At college I found nobody into Star Wars — French cinema and art films were the order of the day. My Vader and Yoda impressions got laughs as I reminded people fondly of those silly childhood films. Sometimes someone would recommend Empire on video night, but no one had an epiphany – the ‘romance’ seamed especially dated and creepy to a hip college crowd.
I had all but forgotten about it all until one evening in the early 90’s I saw someone drawing cartoons in a modern graffiti style. I was taken aback -what was this young hip kid drawing Star Wars for? “Is that Princess Leia ?” I asked – “cool !”. Somehow, for those to young, Star Wars was now 70’s retro. Corny, but referenced in hip-hop culture and about to be re-launched with the special editions.
When the Prequels were announced I was apprehensive about this change . All I did is mix up all three films – a teddy bear army and the battle of Hoth – puppets and cheesy romance – and knew what to expect, but I worried that the hip young adult crowd would expect all the cool stuff and not really get what George Lucas was about. Young Anakin was George as well – the young racing fan toning up cars in his garage. You don’t want kids in the movie but George is a sentimentalist – it’s obvious in the previous movies.
Ah well – thus began the hate from 20/30 somethings ! And it’s never stopped. Maybe I was lucky – young enough the first time and old enough the second, by which time I could look back on my childhood and those ‘difficult’ years without compromising my cool !
And that’s just it. Star Wars was never really ‘hip’. Sure it’s full of cool paraphernalia – but George Lucas was never Tarantino. He’s like a big kid yet with an advanced intelligence , and all that hatred on the web is just a reflection of real life. If you’re different and keep wearing the wrong shirt – people wont ever let up about it, especially, if despite that – you make it out of the farm to take on the empire. And win. Somebody will want revenge.
LikeLiked by 1 person
As someone who was 11 in 1977 and has loved Star Wars ever since I can only agree. All the hate & vitriol spewed in the direction of George Lucas and the Prequels was sloshing around already in 1980 when Empire came out. It is tempting to paraphrase Kanan in “Siege of Lothal” as
Kanan: “… the fear, the anger, the hate … I haven’t felt it this strong since …”
Ahsoka:”… Empire Strikes Back hit the theatres”.
The 6 Saga films will always be George’s, for me the special editions are the final versions of the originals. I am quite confident I will also like the Sequels because seeing & appreciating the good things about something comes easilly to me. I have always considered that a positive quality … and feel no regret or remorse skipping repettitive and prequel rants of those who can’t.