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The Phantom Star Wars Fan

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After watching Rogue One today and discussing it among my friends, I realized that my knowledge of Star Wars is embarrassingly deep. I know far more about the Star Wars saga and the EU than probably 99.7% of the population, and I have highly involved theories about virtually every aspect of this fictional universe.

At the same time, I do not consider myself to be a fan of Star Wars.

Perhaps some of you have the same feeling.

Sure, I like many aspects of the movies, especially the OT, but I like the Lord of the Rings movies more. In terms of the number of movies and shows, I like the Star Trek universe more than Star Wars, and would definitely say that I am a Trek fan.

The reason for this is, I think, due in large part to the Prequels and the Special Editions. After Episode 1, I read the novelization and then began reading much of the older EU materials. By the time Episode 3 rolled around, that brief phase of genuine fandom had ended, and I moved on to other things.

A few years later, the RLM reviews arrived and crystallized much of the vague, generalized dislike I had towards the prequels and the SE. At that point I began thinking about my own prequel trilogy, and continued tinkering on that front for several years. Similarly, the release of the 2004 DVDs and the 2011 Blu-rays in contrast to the 2010 Technicolor screening crystallized all that was wrong with the Blu-rays, and initiated a prolonged period of investigation as to the ‘original’ look of the film.

Without the meddling of George Lucas, I would probably not be invested in the Star Wars universe at all. My natural interests are much more in line with the fantasy world of LOTR, the vision of a Star Trek future, or creating an original work of fiction. The allure of these things is in stark opposition to my relationship with Star Wars, which is one of a problem to be solved or a paradox to be resolved. I’m not one of those 'Lucas f----d my childhood people; my childhood was quite nice, thank you. It’s that the juxtaposition of the excellent OT with the deeply flawed PT and SEs brings me back here day after day.

George Lucas created the ultimate meta-drama with Star Wars, making it generationally relevant because of the massive cognitive dissonance resulting from viewing the Saga as a single, unified vision. It is brilliant in retrospect, even if it was accidental. If his prequels and changes were merely mediocre, I think Star Wars may have already faded into obscurity, and I would be writing my own stories, rather than being fascinated by this impossible puzzle box of a universe.

So what about you? Do you consider yourself to be a fan of Star Wars, or are you here for the puzzle box?

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
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Being considered a Star Wars fan doesn’t mean you have to be a fan of the whole franchise. You can be a fan of just the OOT. I think what you’re a fan of is up to you.

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Oh I’m definitely a ‘fan’ of the OT, or at least ANH, ESB, and some of ROTJ. However, I think it’s disingenuous to say that therefore anyone who only likes the OT is a ‘Star Wars fan’, since the Star Wars universe is vast and ever expanding and much of it is of dubious quality.

For comparison, I consider myself to be a fan of the Tolkien mythology, in book and film form. This is despite the decidedly poor-to-mediocre Hobbit Trilogy (which I’d like to fanedit) since the majority of the mythology is excellent.

My point is that if you’re not a fan of the majority of something, it sends the wrong message to say that you are a fan of that thing. Star Wars is like anime in this regard. I really like some of it but most is not to my liking, so it makes sense to say that I’m not an anime fan.

Now if the Star Wars universe were to be expanded for a hundred more years, with most of the added material of brilliant, high quality content, I would happily call myself a fan of Star Wars.

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
A New Hope Technicolor Recreation (Released!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V2 Released!) and Starlight Project

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I can relate to this all too well. It’s really a fascinating thing to think about. I feel you.

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I don’t know, the majority thing sounds kind of arbitrary.

I consider myself a Star Trek fan (though not a Trekkie or whatever) and I only like TOS and the movies. I think part of it has to do with the OT being the original. Not a great comparison but you can be a Jaws fan and only like the first film.

If it comes down to others’ perception, then I think when most people think of SW they first think of the OT. The books/comics/games etc. don’t even come to mind. With the PT, I think many will assume there’s a good chance they’re not even a factor. When it comes to the new movies, consider this common exchange nowadays: “I’m a Star Wars fan,” “Oh, really? What did you think of the new one(s)?”

If you don’t personally feel comfortable calling yourself a Star Wars fan that’s totally fine but I don’t think being just an OT fan and calling yourself a Star Wars fan sends as wrong of a message as you think.

If necessary you can just call yourself an “original” Star Wars fan and people will likely understand completely what that means.

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I agree that it boils down to the other person’s perception. If I were talking to someone of my parent’s generation, then I would have no problem labeling myself a Star Wars fan since they usually give the originals much more weight. If I was to talk to someone any younger than myself (I’m a filthy millennial), there is a good chance that their impression of Star Wars would be Episodes 1-7 with each one weighted the same in their mind, and now Rogue One. Since the majority of those films are mediocre-to-bad in my opinion, perhaps the best idea is indeed to say I’m a fan of the ‘originals’. Yet even then there’s a good chance that they have only seen the downright ugly Blu-rays, and so their definition of the originals is different than mine as well.

We live in different categorical worlds, we Star Wars-ites!

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
A New Hope Technicolor Recreation (Released!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V2 Released!) and Starlight Project

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I think one of the biggest problem with being a fan of a franchise as large and long-lasting as SW is having to deal with a franchise version of shifting baselines. What I mean by that is that every generation sees SW very differently. If you were a kid back in the late 70’s or early 80’s then to you SW means the OT, Kenner figures, Marvel comics, etc. If you were a 90’s kid it still means just the OT, but also Dark Horse comics, Thrawn trilogy, Jedi Academy books, LucasArts video games, Shadows of the Empire, Special Editions, etc. I grew up in the early 2000’s so to me it was the OT and the PT, SW Lego, Hasbro toys, Darkhorse and Lucasarts still, etc. The funny thing as that the two latter were fairly similar, especially since they followed the same EU canon, but kids today have a completely different baseline. To them SW means Disney, Marvel (again), OT, PT, ST, and anthology films, etc.

The point I’m trying to make is that franchises, despite being focused on the same core; movies, novels, etc. never can nor will stay the same. A 90’s fan may have had a fair amount of things in common with the 80’s fan, and more-so to the later 2000’s fan, but the fan from the early 2000’s has very little in comm wit the 80’s fan. Likewise I don’t think any of these have much in common with the Disney SW generation.

I think every franchise will at some point start to feel like it has grown away from you. Many Star Trek fans currently feel quite left out now that the remakes are new and popular and many younger people basically just ignores TOS. That makes sense to the current generation of kids based on the kinds of film and TV series they’re used to, but for those who consider TOS to be Star Trek this is pretty weird and frustrating.

And leaving your own baseline is a very rare thing. Although I get the feeling that many of the “younger” members on this forum has done just that. I grew up during the early 2000’s, but I’m much more of a fan of SW from the 90’s.
And add to all of this the fact that SW really is the only franchise were the original films aren’t available in an un-tampered form, causing this baseline disassociation to feel even weirder and more intrusive. If you’re a Star Trek fan and like the TOS you can always just buys the Blu-Ray and watch the original episodes, with or without the new effect. With SW you don’t really have that option.

(Anyway, that was a long and rambling post, but I hope some of it made any sense.)

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I feel like we’re over-thinking it a bit here.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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Didn’t they recton much of the old EU during the PT era? I never really got into the EU that much to begin with.

Personally I love the OT(unaltered), really like TFA, thought R1 was okay, don’t particularly like TPM but have a sort-of nostalgia for the era when it was released, and love to hate the rest of the PT.

Let’s face it, Gary Kurtz was purged

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Labels are silly, and a day isn’t lived until I’ve overthought something, yet words are still supposed to mean things. Words are labels for other words and somewhere down the line they hopefully describe some sort of reality. To label oneself a Star Wars fan, one must define these words. The fact that so many people have different definitions for these things seems to erode the meaning of the label, in the case of Star Wars more than other properties.

My ultimate point, if there is one, is that there are no Star Wars fans, since there is so little agreement on what constitutes Star Wars.

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
A New Hope Technicolor Recreation (Released!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V2 Released!) and Starlight Project

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Can someone tell me why the EU even existed in the first place? Without it the franchise wouldn’t be so polluted and discourage people from getting into SW.

Let’s face it, Gary Kurtz was purged

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generalfrevious said:

Can someone tell me why the EU even existed in the first place? Without it the franchise wouldn’t be so polluted and discourage people from getting into SW.

EUs are good at keeping interest alive while kids wait for the next movie. It also gives the studio an added income between movie tickets and home video sales. Also for many fans the EU is synonyms with the franchise.

It’s not so much the idea of an EU that is the problem, but rather that they tend to get out of hand at some point.

Also I really don’t see how the EU discourages people from watching SW. I doubt that most people even know it exists, or at the very least give it any serious thought.

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DuracellEnergizer said:

I wish generallyfrivolous would return to off-topic (if he has to be on this site at all).

Not my fault Lucas sold the franchise down the river. Star Wars is like a novel that’s really great for 200 pages, and then nosedives into unreadable trash for the remaining 500 pages. Then some publishing conglomerate buys the copyright, and publishes a 15-book series based on your nostalgia for those first two hundred pages.

Let’s face it, Gary Kurtz was purged

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generalfrevious said:

DuracellEnergizer said:

I wish generallyfrivolous would return to off-topic (if he has to be on this site at all).

Not my fault Lucas sold the franchise down the river. Star Wars is like a novel that’s really great for 200 pages, and then nosedives into unreadable trash for the remaining 500 pages.

That’s a weird comparison. It’s not like it’s all one single film. Books get sequels, prequels ans spin-offs too. And it’s not like anyone is forcing you to read them. If you only like the first novel then nothing is stopping you from enjoying just that one book.

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Not my fault Lucas sold the franchise down the river. Star Wars is like a novel that’s really great for 200 pages, and then nosedives into unreadable trash for the remaining 500 pages.

That’s not true. The 200 pages you liked are all contained within one story with a beginning and an ending. If you don’t like the other books, then forget about them and just enjoy what you like.

I’ll give you an example. I’m perfectly content to pretend the prequels and sequel were never made for instance. Over the course of years I developed ideas about the backstories from the OT, such as why Vader and the Emperor never found Yoda, or what was Anakin like when he was younger. The richness and meaning of great stories is that they are not comprehensive and didactic, but rather they give us the important outlines and allow us the experience of filling in the blanks from within our own souls. At least from my point of view.

Now, someone else on the other hand might have a different type of personality. They may get off on the EU and prequel stuff. They may possess an insatiable appetite for having more and more detail dictated to them. They may never tire of it. I feel like I enjoy quality over quantity and would rather find the hidden layers in well-told stories, whereas other people might be obsessed with gorging out on ever more product. I’ve learned to just let these people do their thing and hopefully they will feel the same towards someone like me. I’ll read my 200 page book and if they want to demand 5,000 more pages of encyclopedia-like definition to a made-up world, then so be it. Doesn’t affect me, because I know in a hundred years, those stories will probably not be remembered or be preserved, but the classics I enjoy will be.

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Fuck Disney. It’s becoming more apparent that we are going from one broken home to another. Episode VIII is going to suck. Hard. Attack of the Clones hard. The franchise is doing something I never thought possible: making Lucas seem like the good guy in comparison. Maybe that was his plan all along, to make him look better in hindsight. I can’t believe that man has emotionally abused us for 35 years and counting. There will never be another good Star Wars movie again. Instead of mutilating the OT every few years, Lucas should have written into his will that no one could make any more films, not even himself.

Let’s face it, Gary Kurtz was purged

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I guess you missed the last two movies then.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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generalfrevious said:

Fuck Disney. It’s becoming more apparent that we are going from one broken home to another. Episode VIII is going to suck. Hard. Attack of the Clones hard. The franchise is doing something I never thought possible: making Lucas seem like the good guy in comparison. Maybe that was his plan all along, to make him look better in hindsight. I can’t believe that man has emotionally abused us for 35 years and counting. There will never be another good Star Wars movie again. Instead of mutilating the OT every few years, Lucas should have written into his will that no one could make any more films, not even himself.

You know Hollywood is in a sad state when this is funnier than most mainstream comedies today.

Not enough people read the EU.

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ZkinandBonez said:

And leaving your own baseline is a very rare thing.

I feel like I’ve kind of done that. I was born in '89 and grew up on LucasArts games and Bantam paperbacks, but after movies stopped coming out in '05 I became a lot more passive in my fandom, largely because I wasn’t wild about the direction the EU took after jumping back to Del Rey. For six or seven years my relationship with Star Wars consisted of just watching the OT once or twice a year and maybe firing up an old computer game once in a blue moon, but then in college I got back into it in a big way, and when the Disney buyout and subsequent reboot were announced, I resolved to follow as much of it as I could, because I’d always felt I missed out on ever keeping up with the Dark Horse comics just because of when I was born. At this point, I’m as invested in the current iteration of Star Wars as I was in the 90s version. I’ve got a major soft spot the Legends stuff I grew up with, but I’m fine with the fact that it’s over and it doesn’t interfere at all with my ability to embrace current material.

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joefavs said:

ZkinandBonez said:

And leaving your own baseline is a very rare thing.

I feel like I’ve kind of done that. I was born in '89 and grew up on LucasArts games and Bantam paperbacks, but after movies stopped coming out in '05 I became a lot more passive in my fandom, largely because I wasn’t wild about the direction the EU took after jumping back to Del Rey. For six or seven years my relationship with Star Wars consisted of just watching the OT once or twice a year and maybe firing up an old computer game once in a blue moon, but then in college I got back into it in a big way, and when the Disney buyout and subsequent reboot were announced, I resolved to follow as much of it as I could, because I’d always felt I missed out on ever keeping up with the Dark Horse comics just because of when I was born. At this point, I’m as invested in the current iteration of Star Wars as I was in the 90s version. I’ve got a major soft spot the Legends stuff I grew up with, but I’m fine with the fact that it’s over and it doesn’t interfere at all with my ability to embrace current material.

Sounds like you have a very flexible baseline, which is probably the most practical approach.

I myself however have completely moved away from my own early 2000’s perception of SW, and have more-or-less adopted the 70’s, 80’s, and especially the 90’s as my preferred SW baseline(s). I do watch the new movies, but I just can’t get into the new canon. I’m sure it’s a mixed bag of good and bad like the old canon, but I have a hard time getting invested in any post-PT EU. I know it’s silly, but I get really annoyed whenever I see a battle-droid in a OT setting, or other similar things that I’ve seen in the new material.

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Star Wars is big - there are so many different kinds of fans. It’s sometimes tempting to try and see who is a bigger fan, but I’ve come to see that’s a pointless pursuit.

  • I love the OT, Kenner toys, and most of the 90s video games and comics. I’m in the 501st. I’m a Star Wars fan.

  • I have a friend who’s younger than me who loves the prequels, Clone Wars, Rebels, and TFA. He’s a Star Wars fan.

  • I have coworkers who read all the novels. They’re Star Wars fans.

  • I have a coworker who loves the movies, but struggles to remember what order they go in, or some details and names. He’s a Star Wars fan.

Sometimes it’s hard not to judge. But it’s really pointless in the end.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?