Let me make something clear: I don’t hate Star Wars, I really like it. And that’s the problem. I want to love it. Being completely in awe of a movie, or franchise as the case may be, is an area in which I am well versed. Check out my avatar below — that’s an anime version of me as power-loader Ripley clutching a xenomorph. An artist was commissioned to sketch that piece, such is my great affection for Aliens.
When it comes to a galaxy far, far away I’m unable to exude that same enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no newbie to the ways of The Force. Without going out of my way, I know the plots, characters, standout setpieces, most commonly disagreed-upon fan theories, all of it. That same desire to delve further into its sprawling cinescape seems to have bypassed me. So what does it matter? You might say, get a grip, woman! Why should the fact that I’m not behooven to anything Star Wars-related somehow be a bad thing?
Stacked up in the Lucasfilm corner are millions of reasons why I should have blubbed last Saturday when Harrison Ford walked out onto the Hall H stage or when he uttered “Chewie, we’re home” in the second The Force Awakens teaser. Moments that revived pivotal moments in countless childhoods across the globe left me vicariously excited. A little like when people say “I’m so happy for you.” When I should be downright giddy for myself, because I love sci-fi. And aliens. And robots. And spaceships. I love grand, densely-plotted movieverses with world-building so extensive many fans know more about its geography than our own.
The attention to detail by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, the two chiefly responsible for launching the first trilogy, calls out to an audience eager to hook into specifics. Who wish to pore over the minutiae of every moment. The idolatry of Star Wars fans is well documented; and along with it comes an implied membership to the ultimate secret club. If you’re a true follower, you aren’t just a casual watcher — you’re an aficionado. The appeal of being part of that dedicated group is strong. Star Wars has 13 million Facebook friends. 1.44 million Twitter followers. What self-confessed movie nerd wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Trouble is, I just can’t fake it. I’ve watched the original trilogy on multiple occasions - both with and without die-hard fans — to try and understand what fundamental element has failed to earn my devotion. Time and time again my pulse fails to race. I’m disinterested with barking out dialogue. There’s no desire to buy myself a mug shaped like Vader’s helmet. People who know me - and my habits - find this somewhat perplexing. Markers in my DNA indicate that technically I have a strong inclination to The Force. My brother loves it, so I should too, right? And while I won’t camp out overnight outside my local movie theater to get the best seats for The Force Awakens, if my existing fandom persists, I will be there opening weekend — hopefully on one of these.