I Grow Older, I Grow Older
I have an unpopular opinion, and so, I'm just going to admit it. I hope we'll still be able to be friends. And if not, I can understand. But I will still hope you will be nice to me.
So here it is:
I'm not excited about "Star Wars" anymore.
I admitted it. I said it. I've confessed to the large amount of wondering eyes and sighing breaths and angry fists.
I'm not much of a "Star Wars" fan these days.
If you knew me as a kid, I think it would be hard to find a more shocking statement come out of my lips. I had Star Wars T-shirts I'd picked out myself, I argued for Jar-Jar's character, and I would have been very happy to meet Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen. I tried to like the other movies all the actors were in (Ewan McGregor turned out to be the winner there -- to this day, the soundtrack to "Moulin Rouge" will intermittently play while I write), I read a lot of the books (and as an adult, I ordered about $200 worth of books from their different spin-off series), and I have collected everything from soda cans to magazine pictures to Barbies.
And now it's gone.
So what changed?
LOADS OF THINGS CHANGED.
This is not one of those "It's not me, it's you, Star Wars-Dear John-type letters. I changed. The franchise changed. Movies have changed. The Internet ruins things.
Luke Skywalker got old. Just sayin' ... ;)
I didn't think I would ever outgrow my favorite stories. But I did. Sort of. I think it used to be easy to feel small and wonder against the large backdrop of those imaginary worlds. And maybe it was.
As an adult and a writer, I think it's hard to recapture that sense of wonder because it's so much easier to understand that world -- not just technically, but from different worldviews and political, religious, and military standpoints. Those are all things that as a kid, you can wonder at, because you don't understand how their small nuances affect you on an everyday level.
"The Force Awakens" did not do much to appeal to that childlike, latent wonder, and gave me very little in the way of hope. In fact, that's pretty much what I was expecting it to do, and it didn't. There will always be people to take up the banner and fight for good when evil is around, even when the banner comes to them unexpectedly. People said the prequels were bad, especially compared to the classics.
I've thought about this on a thematic level, because emotional catharsis is pretty much my only requirement for me to like a film. On its own, "The Force Awakens" would have been a decent movie. But in the larger picture, combined with all the others, what hope can it really give us for the characters we have come to know and love in the originals? It destroyed all the hope of the classics. Some people will argue this is realism, and I would agree. But I would also say that I did not fangirl over Star Wars as a third grader for realism, but for heroism.
Heroes are not normal people, you know. That's part of the reason they're special. Heroic efforts go beyond the call of normal life's demands. Yes, I'm happy there are new people to take up the mantle of the Light Side of the Force. That's good, something that will give me hope. It's sad to see that it comes at the cost of the characters I loved.
I liked "Rogue One" better.
I didn't outgrow the stories. Rather, I grew up in them, and now I am unable to see then as a world to which I can escape. Sometimes, listening to other fans, it's too much. I want that wonder. I want that newness. "Star Wars" has new things, but their world isn't new.
I'll probably see the movie one day. But the days where it makes me taste my anticipation, the days where I literally just can't even ... Those days are behind me. And I'm grateful for it. I am truly thankful for what "Star Wars" has given me, both as a childhood escapist world and as a place that inspired me to be a writer. But I see now that it's a stepping stone -- a store that I could walk into as a child and hang out for a few years, before heading further up the street. There are more things awaiting me. Whether or not it's my own work remains to be seen. But I'm excited to see what's ahead.