Two Years Ago: Confessions of a Self-Professed Star Wars Fan
Two years ago on February 28, 2015 I started blogging for The Cantina Cast. I’d never really blogged before, (obviously MySpace, Livejournal, & Xanga don’t count — especially since all I wrote there were bits of angsty teenage rubbish) and for my first post I played it safe by doing a game review of Imperial Assault. My second post was about Star Wars merchandise in Japan. But I still didn’t know what I was doing. I felt like a poseur and a charlatan because I had secret — I hadn’t watched the films or read a new book in years. And so I felt I had to come clean about it to my readers (Though to be honest I probably had 4 at most, 5 if you included my editor Becca Benjamin). So now that it’s April 2017, I’ve decided to look back at that time and see how far I’ve come.
The following was posted April 28, 2015 on thecantinacast.net:
“I have a major confession to make.
Until the last several months, it had been over two years since I watched the Star Wars films. It had also been about just as long since I’ve read a book from the Expanded Universe (I’ll admit re-reading some of my favorite X-Wing books doesn’t count). And during that time, I had very little to do with Star Wars.
There are several reasons for this, and I could make excuses, but I won’t. It’s not important now. A lot has happened in my life since I last watched the films — loss, depression, displacement, and that ever-ongoing search for balance — and I’m not quite the same person I used to be. But for the first time since I was a kid, I have been able to watch our beloved films with fresh eyes.
And what an experience it has been.
I started watching A New Hope, and I began to worry. I quickly realized that these movies had changed for me. I watched Luke as Beru, Owen, Obi-Wan, and Biggs died. I watched Leia as her planet — home, friends, and family — were all gone in an instant. And I realized something was amiss. While it’s possible to temporarily push this sort of loss to the back of your mind, to smile and pretend, there is unavoidably a heaviness that weighs on one’s mind and attitude, as well as an ever-present tightness in the back of the throat. I understand why the film is the way it is. But I wanted more from these characters. I had never had that reaction before. (I must add that I really appreciated the deliberation into Luke’s coping/seeming lack thereof in the The Cantina Cast’s Luke Dissection Trilogy.) But I never noticed, nor would have noticed, this when I was younger. Never had I dealt with any comparable loss. Now the sadder-but-wiser adult that I am, I watched and realized that something major had changed for me. And I moved on to the other films with trepidation, afraid of what else might have changed for me.
I watched all of them, Episodes I-VI. And, somewhat surprisingly, I discovered that I am now seeing more in these characters and their stories than I have ever seen before.
- In The Phantom Menace, I wondered at the implications of Anakin’s dream, “I had a dream I was a Jedi. I came back here and I freed all the slaves.”
- In Attack of the Clones, I was conflicted as Anakin and Padme struggled with their feelings for one another.
In Revenge of the Sith, my heart absolutely broke as Obi-Wan cried out “You were my brother Anakin. I loved you.”
- In The Empire Strikes Back, I was struck by the weight of Luke’s decision to take his weapons into the cave on Dagobah and his decision to abandon his training to confront Vader.
- In Return of the Jedi, I finally understood Yoda’s lines “and unfortunate… Not ready for the burden were you.” As Luke confronted Vader and the Emperor, the difficulty of his inner struggle suddenly became apparent, and I was left astounded as he stared at his prosthetic hand, threw his lightsaber away, and resolvedly declared that he would never turn to the dark side. And for the first time in my life, I was brought to tears as Luke took off Anakin’s mask, shared his father’s final moments, and, after having dragged and transported his father’s body to the moon’s surface, proceeded to cremate the body on a pyre. Before, I had only ever denounced the appearance of Hayden Christensen as Anakin’s ghost in the Special Edition, but now for the first time it suddenly made sense. (After having just recently watched the prequels, it simply, suddenly, made sense that he would appear as the person he was before being twisted by the dark side.)
How have I missed these things this whole time? I am seeing even more depth in this saga than when I was still religiously reading the EU books. Is it that I’m simply more mature? Is it because I am in a different stage of my life? Was I simply more naïve or superficial before? Maybe, probably, perhaps. Whatever the reason, this has been a journey of discovery and rediscovery.
I have realized that even after all these years, this is turning out to be a kind of new start.”
And I will now replace the original conclusion to this blog with my thoughts from today, 2 years later:
I still don’t feel all that smart in the matters of Star Wars. I don’t feel elite or authoritative. Bonus confession: I can’t even remember all the dates the films were released. (I even had them pinned on the message board above my desk, but I can’t recall them exactly for the life of me). I don’t know that much about film-making techniques or box office figures. I don’t have a great repertoire of films to reference. Final confession: As a Star Wars fan and blogger, I’m fairly mediocre. But on my Star Wars journey for the last two years, I have found a community of fellow fans who supported my ideas, shared my posts, and encouraged me. Because The Cantina Cast has made some changes and eliminated blogs from their site (for all the right reasons, I feel compelled to add), I am now somewhat adrift as a blogger as I am no longer beholden to a website with regular deadlines. And it’s seemed just as I was beginning to really find my stride in the fandom and as a blogger, the floor suddenly dropped out from under me.
This hasn’t been entirely a bad thing, as I now find that without deadlines, I write and post because I want to, and not just because I feel I have to. I’m re-calibrating my fandom once again. And at this point I must recognize and thank Future of the Force and the small community of Star Wars bloggers that found it in their hearts to include me and support me. I’ve written before about how frustrated I’ve been with the hate in the Star Wars fandom (Dear Star Wars Fans: Stop Drinking the Haterade) but I want to take this moment to recognize the part of the fandom that has truly been thoughtful, creative, inclusive, and uplifting. Do I still sometimes feel like an idiot with a laptop and an internet connection? Yes. But knowing there’s a place in the fandom for even such an idiot as me has made my Star Wars journey over the last two years a positive and touching experience. I am truly grateful, and with friends such as these I am looking forward to seeing where my fandom goes from here. With that said, I think I have some Star Wars films to rewatch…
Thanks so much for reading! Feel free to comment below or holler at me on Twitter Errant Venturer . Until next time, Ja mata ne!
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