I was born in 1988 so I didn’t see the Original Trilogy in theaters until they were re-released when I was 9. Before then I had seen them occasionally on TV, but my parents weren’t huge fans or anything (my dad is more of an Indiana Jones man). After seeing the movies I became obsessed and absorbed as much of Star Wars as I could get my hands on, got an X-Wing tattoo on my back, and currently have more Star Wars t-shirts in my closet than anything else.
After I graduated college, where I double minored in Star Wars Battlefront II and Super Smash Bros, real life kind of got in the way of my obsession. I got married (she is also a fan of Star Wars), got a job working in a cubicle, bought a house, had kids etc. When Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens was announced a long time ago, I was pretty stoked, but my excitement was tempered by what I saw as adult sensibilities and other hobbies. That’s not to say I was no longer a fan (I still loved the Wars), but the fire wasn’t burning quite as bright as it did when I was younger.
Over the last few months, however, things have subtly ratcheted up. I didn’t even really realize it at first, but I was slowly falling back in love. It’s like when you are in a long-term relationship and realize you have been taking the significant other for granted for the past few months and realize just how great they really are. Or, if that’s too sappy, it’s like when you haven’t played an old Sega Genesis or N64 game in a few years, and when you finally dust off your old system and plug that cartridge in again you are immediately transported back to your childhood (but be warned, those games are still insanely difficult).
It all started in January when Marvel Comics launched a slew of Star Wars comics, which have all been absolutely great. Star Wars by Jason Aaron focuses on what Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids are up to immediately after the destruction of the first Death Star. Darth Vader gives us the opposite side of the coin, showing us what Darth Vader is doing to locate the rebel pilot responsible for his failure and fall from grace in the eyes of the Emperor. Princess Leia is a 5-issue miniseries that follows the Leia as she rallies the remaining Alderaanians after the Death Star destroyed their home-world. These books, along with Kanan, Lando, and Shattered Empire have all been top notch and have provided interesting insight into what’s going on in the Star Wars universe.
During this time I also subscribed to Scribd which just happened to have all of the new canonical Star Wars novels, which provides backstory on Kanan and Hera from Star Wars: Rebels (Star Wars: A New Dawn), a book about Grand Moff Tarkin’s rise to power (the aptly named Tarkin), a Clone Wars era story about Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos (Dark Disciple), a story about the Emperor and Darth Vader stranded on a hostile planet (Lords of the Sith), a book about Luke Skywalker (Heir to the Jedi), and, most recently, a book that takes place after Return of the Jedi that follows a small band of previously-known-as-Rebels (still not sure what to call them) as they learn of a secret meeting of fractured Imperials in Aftermath. I went through all of these books in a two month span, and then read Smuggler’s Run and The Weapon of a Jedi last week, which are two of the three young reader novels released on Force Friday. Now I am reading Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, which is a word for word script of the Original Trilogy that intersperses stories about how the different drafts changed over time – such as Han Solo being a big green monster – and also includes interviews with the Maker (George Lucas) and several others involved with the making of the films. Also, I just picked up a young adult book titled The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, which is a retelling of A New Hope that focuses specifically on Leia, Han and Luke.
That stupidly long and mostly italicized paragraph shows just how much I’ve fallen down the Star Wars rabbit hole (hyperspace lane?) throughout 2015. I’ve always loved Star Wars, but over the last half decade I went from actively seeking every tidbit of information (which is impossible due to the sheer vastness of information available) to just watching the movies occasionally and resting on my laurels. I would still occasionally get accused of cheating at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, but it got just a little bit harder to beat people each time.
My point is this: sometimes there are things that just stick with you like they are part of the makeup of who you are. Like in most relationships, the passion can ebb and flow, but something can happen to bring back all of that childhood wonder before you even realize what’s happening. Sure, there is still a chance that The Force Awakens will be terrible, but it has already done something for me that I appreciate regardless of whether it is good or not. The announcement of Episode VII The Force Awakens awoke a passion in me that had been sort of dormant for the last few years. It started small with a book here and there, but over these last few months I have completely immersed myself in the Star Wars universe and its nice to experience the joy and wonder I did when I first walked out of the theater in 1997.