I am a Star Wars Fan: Implications of Long Lasting Franchises

I am a Star Wars fan.

I am not an original trilogy, a prequel, a Clone Wars, a sequel fan. I am a Star Wars fan. Does this mean I like everything that was ever created and produced in this long term media franchise? No. I don’t have this luck and I am fine with it.

There are specific Star Wars projects and stories I don’t like, even when I gave them a try. I can’t bring myself to be on board with the Legacy era, thus my timeline stops at the end of the New Jedi Order book series. It was a difficult time for me when I realized that I didn’t like the stories that came after, because I wanted to.

For a few years, I didn’t read any new Star Wars books. Then I realized that there were still so many stories I didn’t experience yet, and I went back to it, just pretending that the Legacy era doesn’t exist.

The same way, I tried several of Karen Traviss books, but I admittedly can’t stand her way of writing Star Wars, and thus didn’t pick her Clone Wars era novels.

Other than these two examples, I love all eras, from the Old Republic to the end of the New Jedi Order and that of course includes the prequels. I recently rewatched Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for the first time since I finished Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Let me tell you how gut wrenching this was, even more than the previous times I watched the movie.

Concept art for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Star Wars Identities Exhibition (Lyon, France, 2014)

Concept art for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Star Wars Identities Exhibition (Lyon, France, 2014)

So, I have things I like and others I don’t in the Star Wars universe. And I can’t stand the haters and all the bashing that takes place. I know this isn’t specific to Star Wars fandom, but it is still a pet peeve of mine.

It isn’t because you dislike something that you have to spread your hate and throw it down people’ throats. This is a huge no-no for me. Among my friends who are Star Wars fans, we don’t all like the same parts of the universe, but we can agree to disagree. This is call healthy discussion.

I am not so familiar with comics, except for the recent DC and Marvel movies, but when I see how many decades these universe have existed, I am pretty sure that many people don’t like everything ever made about them, or even a given character. This is natural to me with such long lasting franchises.

I find it encouraging. Even if you don’t like certain things, it doesn’t mean that the universe or franchise falls down. You can only choose to acknowledge what works for you and this is the beauty of it.

This is why I was so happy to hear how Disney is going to make more Star Wars after purchasing the Lucasfilm. I don’t expect to love everything they will make and I do still have issues with certain things, such as the whole Legend labeling of most of the Expanded Universe.

I still am waiting with an open mind to what will come next. And I was alsoamong people pointing out concerns about the first cast announcement for Episode VII, with only two women and one person of color. Since then I was relieved to see new additions to this cast and elated to see how our main new trio has once again a woman among them, and one person of color among the two men. I am looking forward to see Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, as well as their fellow cast members bring more Star Wars to life.

C-3PO and R2-D2. Star Wars Identities Exhibition (Lyon, France, 2014)

C-3PO and R2-D2.
Star Wars Identities Exhibition (Lyon, France, 2014)

Keeping a benevolent eye upon the Star Wars universe doesn’t make me blind. I was distressed to see how we needed the #WeWantLeia campaign and how #WeWantHera and #WeWantSabine was needed as well in terms of Star Wars toys, including with the new lines for the Star Wars Rebels show. My feminist bone easily gets loud when I see such representation issues, but this is also why I love Star Wars so much. We have had inspiring female characters since the first movie, Episode IV: A New Hope in 1977.

Another reason why I dislike bashing is because it is disrespectful of the fans who like them. I don’t believe in faction wars in fan communities. I know they take place, but I find it sad that we can’t all agree to disagree respectfully when it is only a matter of personal preference.

While on the subject, one thing that highly annoys me in the bashing department is George Lucas bashing. Once again, I don’t agree with all of his choices, but without him, we would have Star Wars in the first place and in the end, this is his baby. As aspiring writers and authors, we are often reminded that we can’t please everybody so why should Lucas have to do it?

I’ll always say how Han shot first, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that Lucas has been a strong inspiration to me for many years, and was the reason I chose my path as a researcher and writer who specializes in Science Fiction, Transmedia and Gender Studies.

I am not asking all of us to have the same opinion – this would be boring – but I can still hope that we talk about what we love instead of spreading hate, right?

-ed. You can find more of Natacha’s work at natachaguyot.org.