As a bellman, I come in contact with folks from all walks of life, including seniors who just don’t understand all the hype surrounding mega-blockbuster films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
And never will.
But when a seventy-year-old retired accountant from New Jersey recently asked me why his grandkids were militant in their non-stop pleas for Star Wars merchandise for Christmas, I couldn’t help but take his confusion to heart. Why exactly do we all care so much about the relaunch of the Star Wars franchise?
I can’t speak for my fellow nerds, but here’s why I can’t wait to return to a galaxy far, far away.
1) Disney’s check cleared!
So George Lucas has nothing to do with this film! It’s a sad state of affairs – but a good one, nonetheless.
- Lucas created Darth Vader (with some help from his father’s bad parenting, apparently), Luke, the Death Star, and the whole shebang.
- He led the way, changed sci-fi, comics, and toy merchandising forever… and we all worshiped him for it.
- Then he made the Prequels That Should Never Be Discussed.
- We all turned on him – especially African-Americans who saw Jar Jar Binks for what he really was – and then things really got ugly. I’ve met fans at conventions who consider Lucas the biggest racist in Hollywood, a point I refuse to argue.
- The franchise survived but we couldn’t get the bad taste out of our mouths, no matter how hard we tried.
- .. a New Hope: Disney stepped in, bought the whole thing, used a phalanx of lawyers in mouse ears to show Georgie Boy the metaphorical escape hatch, and nerds cried openly in the streets – this time with joy.
2) Disney has pinned all our hopes on J.J. Abrams – and with good reason.
The bespectacled Abrams has more than proven himself to moviegoers and television viewers everywhere, so the House of Mouse gets points for giving him the keys to the Death Star. Plus, he’s gone on record as being anything but pro-midi-chlorian… so he has that going for him.
And to top it all off, he has done the impossible: he’s successfully bridged the gap between Star Trek and Star Wars fans. I’m even willing to forgive him for LOST.
3) The Force Awakens appears to have caught lightning in a bottle.
The original Star Wars gave us a single iconic shot that spoke to kids everywhere, of both genders, even. As Luke Skywalker stared out into the sky, dreaming of the galaxy beyond his little world on Tatooine, he channeled every kid sitting in a darkened theater who ever dreamed of being an explorer, an adventurer, a hero.
The resurrected franchise has given us an all-new cast of intriguing heroes, including John Boyega’s Finn, a redeemed Stormtrooper (what a cool concept, right?), and even a female Luke in Daisy Ridley’s Rey, someone we can all relate to and journey into adventure with.
And we finally get to see the Old Guard return. I can’t wait to see Harrison Ford do something worthwhile again, and it’s always fun to see Carrie Fisher try to act sane. As for Mark Hamill…
4) Mysteries abound.
How can the Empire, which was virtually crippled at the end of the last film, still be marching on after thirty years? Finn appears to be a pure hero, so how did he wind up as a Stormtrooper in the first place? What’s new baddie Kylo Ren doing with Vader’s charred helmet? (And is Vader’s charred head in it?) And of course, the biggest mystery of all… where the hell is Luke Skywalker?
5) IT’S “THE STAR WARS”, BABY!
This isn’t just a popcorn flick… it’s a movement, one that has brought TV spots, more product tie-ins than I’ve ever seen, giveaways, social media campaigns, toy lines and even word-of-mouth together in a frenzy that has touched nerds and Muggles alike. Soon everyone, including your grandparents, will be asking you, “Have you seen the new Star Wars film yet?”
Personally, I’m going to let the frenzy die down a bit before I head to my local movie projection facility to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Two months should do it.
See you on the streets of Pulp Nation, kids…