In December 2011, I finally sat down and did something that every person should do at least once his or her life: I watched the Star Wars films. I was instantly hooked. I kicked myself for waiting so long to experience something so utterly cool and groundbreaking. I watched all six movies twice in one week, and I went online to read everything I could about them. I was officially a Star Wars fan.
Now I’m still relatively new to the Star Wars fandom compared to people who have been fans since A New Hope released or people my age who have been watching Star Wars since they were babies. I’m not pretending that I know everything (or even very much) about the Star Wars universe. And I’m not here to step on any toes. But I do think now may be the best time ever to be a Star Wars fan, and I’m hoping that by the end of this little blog post, you’ll agree with me.
I truly wish that I could go back to 1977 and experience Star Wars in its original form. To be there in the theater, to see those special effects when they were cutting-edge, to walk out not knowing what was going to happen next, nothing compares to that. And I would give anything to experience the shock of hearing, “No, I am your father!” in The Empire Strikes Back without expecting it. Experiencing Star Wars that way is something I’ll never understand, and I’m jealous of those of you who were fortunate enough to do so. But if anything can measure up to the excitement of being a Star Wars fan then, it’s being a Star Wars fan now.
There are just so many exciting things going on in the Star Wars world right now. Ever since LucasFilm was purchased by Disney in 2012, they have been slowly but surely making announcements about their plans for the company and for the Star Wars universe itself. Some fans are still pretty skeptical about the whole thing, but I’m personally excited.
First off, we have more movies! Episode VII is coming in December 2015 with Episodes VIII and IX to follow. We still don’t know much about these new movies other than that they take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and are being directed by J.J. Abrams. I think that in the coming months, we’ll hear more about casting and maybe a little bit about the plot, but even without those details, I think this movie is shaping up pretty well. I trust J.J. Abrams, and I can’t wait to find out what happens after ROTJ.
But those aren’t the only Star Wars movies coming our way. Disney has also announced two spinoff Star Wars films. The general consensus among Star Wars fans is that these movies will probably center around Han Solo and Boba Fett, two characters that I think both are interesting enough to deserve their own films. If these films are successful, they could lead to even more spinoffs outside of the sequel trilogy. I think we could start getting a new Star Wars movie every year starting in 2015.
Some people might be skeptical of this. If they make a new Star Wars movie every year, how are they going to keep the quality standard high? For the answer to that question, I would point them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which also happens to be owned by Disney, and puts out two successful movies each year. Other studios are starting to see that this model is not only viable but also very successful, and they’re trying to create their own cinematic universes with releases each year. I think it makes sense that Star Wars, with its vast universe of characters and story lines, would jump on board.
But the Star Wars universe isn’t limited to just movies. It all began on the big screen, but Star Wars has spread to multiple formats. The animated TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars recently ended, and the creators are getting ready to release a new show, called Star Wars Rebels, in the fall. The show will take place between Episodes III and IV, and it will tell the story of how the Rebel Alliance was formed. So while we’re waiting for more Star Wars movies, we can learn more about the Star Wars universe through television. To me, that’s pretty cool.
But possibly the most exciting new announcement—and the one that inspired me to write this blog post—came from LucasFilm just yesterday. They announced that they are forming a cohesive Star Wars canon. The basis for the canon will be the six films and two TV shows, but they will soon be complemented by Star Wars books, comics, games, and more. Everything included in the canon will have to approved by the LucasFilm Story Group to ensure cohesiveness. Star Wars is going to finally become one big story.
Some may find this unnecessary. After all, we’ve had the Expanded Universe for years. There is a plethora of Star Wars stories to read and play through. What’s the big deal about creating a canon? Well, to me, this move solves a big problem that the Star Wars universe has. There are so many stories that one person can’t possibly keep up. There’s no cohesive timeline, and some of the stories even contradict each other. It creates a kind of mess, and now that they’re making more movies, they have to clean it up.
So all of the EU will now be considered “Star Wars Legends,” and the canonical stories will include the movies, TV shows, and anything else approved by the Story Group. The EU can still be enjoyed just as it has been, and the creators of the movies and TV show are even open to the possibility of drawing characters and stories from the EU, but now the official Star Wars storyline is clearer and easier to follow. This is great for fans like me who want to know the whole story but can’t figure out the puzzle that is the Expanded Universe.
So there you go. That’s my argument for why now is the best time ever to be a Star Wars fan. There are so many exciting things happening in the Star Wars universe in so many formats, and they’re forming one cohesive overall story. We’re going to be seeing more movies, a new TV show, and a slew of new canonical books in the very near future. Star Wars fans, rejoice! And enjoy all the cool new stuff that’s coming. Those of you who haven’t seen Star Wars, now is the time. Catch up on the movies so that you can see Episode VII when it drops in December 2015. The Force is strong with the Star Wars universe, and the future is bright. Now truly is the best time to be a Star Wars fan.