I thought I was done with Star Wars. I really did. While I can't deny that Star Wars was my first geek love, as it was for nearly every kid of my generation, our relationship has been rocky for almost fifteen years now, since the release of The Phantom Menace. The subsequent movies did a bit to patch things together, but I knew that I was just a different person, and Star Wars was a different film franchise and maybe it was best for everyone if we just moved on. Back in 2009, I recorded a segment for the film The People Vs. George Lucas where I got to air my grievances with the movies and the man behind them, and I said my piece (a little of it even made it into the movie!) and I thought, "Surely this is it. Star Wars and I are done with each other, forever."
Yeah, I was wrong.
My resolve didn't last long. I'd find myself defending the series against real haters. (Hey, Empire is a genuinely great movie!). I still hoped against hope for a "proper" Blu-ray release of the original, uncut, unaltered movies. (Still waiting.) I read about machete order and wondered if it would really make a difference. I even found myself genuinely interested in my nephew's breathless recaps of the major events from The Clone Wars cartoon series. I found a glimmer of hope that I was sure was lost forever when Lucas sold the franchise and had it fanned into a flame when JJ Abrams came onboard to direct a new trilogy. Hell, I appeared on a panel at last year's Denver Comic Con about the future of the franchise.
What's weird is I don't have this problem breaking up with most former obsessions. To this day, I've never seen the third Matrix film after the ridiculous mess of the second entry. I embraced Enterprise with open arms when it debuted, but once I bailed on it halfway through the first season, I never looked back. Once I realized what a terrible hack (and generally icky person) Piers Anthony was, I made a clean break and I've never picked up another one of his novels, even for nostalgia purposes. Yet here I am, reading Star Wars casting announcements and researching the actors I'm unfamiliar with on IMDB, and reading announcements about the role of the Expanded Universe and debating whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for the franchise. It seems I am fucking terrible at breaking things off with Star Wars -- and Star Wars alone.
Maybe that's because of the incredible resonance of the first film, which follows Joseph Campbell's model of the Hero's Journey so closely that it can't help but find echoes in nearly everything else I see. Maybe it's a testament to the simple power of a film being in the right place at the right time, as the original so obviously was. Or maybe it's just because, hey, I saw the damn thing when I was four and then spent the next ten years of my life re-enacting my favorite scenes on a near daily basis.
I don't know, but I do know that whatever the reason, I just can't quit the damn thing. I'll be there when the new movie is released, even if it isn't on opening day (fuck standing in line for a movie). Even though I'll be out of town this weekend when Denver goes apeshit for that silliest of geek holidays, May 4, as in "May the Fourth be with you" (beloved by geeks because it combines two of their favorite things, Star Wars and terrible puns), I'm still glad it's happening. And I know that in a few years, when my little girl is old enough to understand them, I'll be rewatching the entire series (okay, minus The Phantom Menace; thanks, machete order!) and, truth be told, I'm pretty excited for that day to come, even if it does mean dooming her to the same love-hate relationship I've suffered through myself all these years.
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Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.