It is now nearly 5 years since George Lucas sold the Star Wars licence to Disney. The result of that transaction was the canon discontinuation of the mixed bag that was the extended universe of novels, comic books and video games that made up the bulk of the nerdy lore of Star wars. Years of fan disenchantment after the prequels have made that era particularly untouchable for fear of resurfacing repressed memories of crushing disappointment. Even though some of these old stories are being tentatively reintroduced, like the intriguing Admiral Thrawn, the works we are seeing coming out now; represent a new fourth wave of Star wars.
Fans often talk about ‘dark ages’ when it comes to output of the things they like; Star Trek is kind of in a dark age of sorts right now, and Star Wars had some fairly fallow years during the nineties that was only broken by home video releases of the original trilogy and the huge wave of excitement in 1999 for The Phantom Menace. Those fallow years had left people gagging for more Star Wars so George gave it to them, it just turned out to not be the thing they actually wanted or expected. After the prequels were done, George had some video games made and the sometimes quite good Clone wars cartoon had 6 seasons to draw a cult following.
However, these post prequel years too were not dense with Star Wars content. In fact, fan works such as RedLetterMedia’s Plinkett reviews of the prequels and documentary films like The people versus George Lucas were the most interesting things to come out of that time. Generation X’s frustration found focus with the unified dissent of anti prequel thought. So now the fandom finds itself in this fourth wave that gives most of the fanbase exactly what they want, a dopamine injection in the form of pure nostalgia.
My excitement for episode seven was palpable, I rewatched the trailers every day, played battlefront, watched the old films again and generally enjoyed the happiness that comes with having something to live for. After all this I went to see the film twice in cinemas and enjoyed myself thoroughly, it met my expectations.
As great as this is, coming down off the Star Wars high was rough. Daily shots of Star Wars Rebels or rewatching old material was failing to invigorate me any further in real life. When Rogue one came out I did not rush to the cinema by any means and though the average Joe such as me enjoyed the ride that was that film, it was really just Star Wars porn for bearded fat guys to jack off to. I know I found the battle scenes in the third act especially stimulating.
So here we are now with a trailer for episode 8 that ultimately has a little too much poetry, a little too much it rhymes. The film threatens to give me exactly what I want with training montages, At-Ats attacking the rebel base and a darker tone. Not that I am complaining, but a little bit of risk might be necessary sooner rather than later. The old republic stories are ripe for picking, and are largely not known about in general Star Wars parlance. Instead of another homage to the original trilogy, it might by wise to prove that Star Wars as a licence; is more than an aesthetic.
So as my feelings towards Star wars border on contemplative heureux rather than the blind devotion that was exactly what I needed 2 years ago; I only hope that Star Wars can truly excite and even surprise me again in the future.
Thanks for reading.