The End of Star Wars Image

Should popular culture matter to adults over 40? At some point, we have to close the door. Eventually, there has to be a disconnect with the things that flood and subsequently drain our lives of meaning and magic, right? There are things that, in the scope of time, become irrelevant, unimportant or just plain boring. Friends and co-workers who are self-professed Star Wars nerds remind me that if I abandon the canon, which I truly will do at the end of December, make clear that my knowledge chasm on all things Star Wars will hinder our relationship and thus the quality of my total existence from here on out. I will be there to watch The Rise of Skywalker, but this Star Wars will be my last. I’m confident that I will be infinitely better off not caring about such things forever.

“I offer you this fact: in 2017, over fifty thousand people spent one hundred dollars on lightsabers that can’t even kill someone…”

No Mandalorian, no Disney+, no T-shirts or other assorted films, games, shows or other peripheral content that, while operating as clickbait, is supposed to in theory hold fast my deeper connection that I have to the material and so the thinking goes, to my subconscious desire to stay eternally entertained by the magic of my childhood. Nope. Episode IX is truly the end. It was always the end. And we can do better. Star Wars is not the only thing in the world. It’s not even the best thing. It was a launchpad.

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  1. Post-Punk Monk says:

    This caught my eye. I was 14 when Star Wars hit. I found out about it because I read Time Magazine every week in the junior high library. I was a sci-fi fan, so I was primed. But it took me until August to see the thing since my parents didn’t go to movies; that was what TV was for. When I saw it, I was most impressed by the effects which were a paradigm shift, and honestly, by the industrial design inside the Death Star. I was too old to play with the toys, but I scratch built a crude X-Wing from wood since I couldn’t wait for the model kits. Once the kits arrived, I built them, bought the comic books, and got Joe Johnston’s sketchbook. I went that far into the merch thing.

    When ESB came out three years later, I was in high school, and we left school that day and went to the theater to see in in huge 70 MM. Twice. Yep, it was the goods. One of my friends saw it and loved it but had not seen “Star Wars.” I was incredulous. “You’ve got to see ‘Star Wars!'” I bought the two “Art Of Star Wars” volumes since I was a budding graphic designer. My friends talked about SW for months, and every month or for at least a year, my friend would call up and say “wanna see ‘Empire?'” And off we’d go for our fix. I still built the models. I scratch built a really good Y-wing this time.

    Three years later we were in college. ROJ came out and we saw it on the day of opening again. Talk about wind leaving the sales! Some of it was down to plotting and direction. Some of it was down to maturation. The effects were better than ever. I still chuckle at that motion-control porn shot where dozens of T.I.E. fighters were thrown at the camera P.O.V. But that didn’t seem to matter too much. We only saw this one once as opposed to the dozen or more times we paid for ESB tickets. I bought the new models but sat on them for years. When I did make them around 1985 or so my modeling skills had gone way up, but my enthusiasm went way down. The A/B/Y-wing I stopped halfway through doing putty on the Speeder Bike trooper. A line was crossed.

    By the late 80s I bought the widescreen CBS-FOX laserdiscs but all of the garbage mattes looked like hell from the interpositive used to master from, so I never enjoyed watching them. I got the THX laserdisc box in the early 90s. It wasn’t cheap. I had hoped that they had cleaned up the garbage mattes but no, they were still visible. I think I watched that box once when my wife was finally going past “Star Wars” in her viewing. By that time, if I ran across someone who hadn’t seen “Star Wars” I’d admonish them not to bother. I wish it had ended there.

    The re-release full of gratuitous effects that destroyed the framing came out in 1997. We went with an older friend in his 40s to see the first one. That totally didn’t work! As much as I still had fond memories of ESB I sat out the other two re-releases. Then the prequel dropped in 1999 and we went with the same couple as in 1997 and that was even worse. It all ended there. I grew up a geek, sure, but I apparently moved on without really intending to. I had stopped reading comics by the time I was 30. Even the cool, non genre alternative comics had lost their allure.

    After Tim Burton’s “Batman,” the modern superhero genre slowly took flight to the point where it’s the event horizon of the motion picture industry itself! I have to say that I feel for what Scorsese is saying. I’ve not seen any superhero film past the horrifying 3rd Batman film with Val Kilmer in the role. Personally, I cannot fathom the women at my work in their 60s who will watch Marvel movies. I’m not rigid. I have seen a few science fiction films in the last 20 years that I thought were honest successes in the genre; “Gattaca” and “Arrival” for certain, but any film that has visuals and effects as its calling card just leaves me dead cold. For the last half of my life, I’m hungry for political and emotional truth, and I’ve learned that genre film is not where to find it. I encourage anyone to just drop “Star Wars” if it feels like a perfunctory experience to you. Your mind is trying to tell you something.

  2. Macrae Peeples says:

    I read this whole article with a lump in my throat. Because, as an adult I remember all of this, and as a parent, I see the difference. Yes, my kids still get excited for months, but they also have so much filler, ie the cartoons, the Mandalorian, the MERCHANDISE (holy hell the MERCHANDISE and cross marketing is outrageous). It is so important to remember to adventure, but this is a great reminder. It’s so easy to walk out of the theater and continue on with the GRIND that this world delivers day in and out. But yes, as parents it is so important for us to put in that extra effort and adventure with our kids. Great read.

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