We are drawing near to the start of another Star Wars celebration, which is taking place in Chicago this weekend. We, as Clone Corridor, had the privilege of attending Star Wars celebration 2016 in London and met so many new fans while we were there. It was an amazing opportunity for us to attend such an immersive Star Wars experience but also to get to know different types of fans. So as another one is starting in less than 24 hours I started to think about our ‘fandom’ as a whole. Who are we and what do we represent? What really makes up a Star Wars fan and are we one of the most divisive fandoms there is?
I want to start this post by telling you my personal Star Wars (SW) story. When I was young, and I am talking around the age of 6/7 here, I was introduced to SW by my father who had been a fan of the franchise since he was a young boy. I have to say honestly I am not 100% sure on exactly what movie I saw first or whether I was introduced to the storyline in chronological order (EP I-VI) or release order (original trilogy first and then prequel trilogy)? However a defining moment was when the Revenge of the Sith came out and I was able to view it in the cinema with my father and sister. It was the first time I saw a light sabre fight on the big screen and it allowed me to connect with the characters on a whole new level. In the end we ended up watching ROTH about 5-6 times in the cinema within two weeks, I was a solidified Star Wars nerd….and proud of it. However when I was young, being a SW fan (especially as a girl) wasn’t convention, it wasn’t normal and I got teased a lot for it. But I always stuck with SW and I am so grateful I did because it led me here. But the question is, was I an exception as a young female fan or were there more like me out there?
The fan base for SW has changed dramatically over the past few years. While the acquisition of SW by Disney was controversial, I think many of us can say it was an opportunity to get a new generation interested in SW once again. I saw this first hand while teaching at a preschool at the time TFA was released. I saw children as young as 5 running around with mini lightsabres making *swooshing* sounds while they chase each other. I sat with two siblings both around the age of 10 who were so immersed in the Rebels season finale that they didn’t even hear the words “would anyone like a snack?”. This is something I only dreamed of when I was younger but is something that has brought me so much joy experiencing now. They are the ones who, like me, have grown up mostly with the prequels, now the sequels and the animation series like The Clone Wars and Rebels (and now Resistance). They do not feel the need to compare new to old material and have been able to enjoy all of it without getting hate for maybe having a preference for a certain movie/show/game.
The SW fandom is known for having its conflicts when it comes to talking about ‘which films are the best’ and for having meltdowns every time a new movie is released. It is something I have to honestly say I am ashamed of. It saddens me every time I see a new group of so called ‘fans’ calling for a boycott of a movie (most recently of episode 9) or creating new pages dedicated to hating on a certain set of movies (usually the prequels). I am not ashamed of saying that ROTS has been my number 1 SW movie for years now. When it comes to possibly choosing which one you like the most, so many factors come into play. It is not just about dialogue or cinematography, it is also about the emotional connection you have to a movie and as you can read from my story above, the ROTS has much sentimental value for me. This is why I have always stuck with it even though when I tell people they usually feel the need to tell me that ‘the prequels are shit and have horrible dialogue and storytelling’. The same happens when I tell them that I highly enjoyed the Last Jedi. While I am always up for a debate about SW and am open to hearing everyone’s opinions, there is a huge difference between talking about it and just bashing someone’s views. It is something that people seem to think is almost normal now when it comes to SW fans while I personally still do not understand the use or point. While of course there are movies I enjoy more than others I am so grateful for every new movie or tv show I get and am willing to sit down and watch it. I am a huge fan of the story and the lore behind it and how it has brought me and many other fans together.
In my opinion a SW fan is someone who is creative, open minded, thoughtful and caring of others. A true SW fan accepts people that have not always been fortunate to ‘fit in’ with the crowd. A true SW fan can accept that people have different opinions on different movies and have a healthy debate about their opinions without screaming at each other or saying the other is wrong. A true SW fan is inviting, quirky, quiet or loud, extro or introverted, active or inactive in fan pages etc and does not discriminate. I am proud to say I am a SW fan and I would like for it to stay that way. The conventions held every year showcase the best of the fandom. They show that we can come together and all share our love and passion for this thing called Star Wars. Whether you are a new or a long time fan, young or old, female/male/non binary however you identify…you are welcome.
I am so excited to see all the new costumes, theories, trailers and what not at the next SW celebration this weekend. I am sure we will be updating you on everything that is going on and can’t wait to hear back from all of you! For now;
May the Force be with you ~ Always