Without a doubt, the most ubiquitous pop culture juggernaut of the past four decades, Star Wars has given the public endless material to chew on and spit out. For years, there was the original three films, a few TV movies and cartoons, and a handful of books. And the toys, of course. Most of this frenzy died down by 1985. But as the eighties drew to a close, and the nineties began to see the series recede into fond memory and nerd niche, Lucasfilm began licensing Star Wars again, and slowly building towards the home video re-release of the movies, followed by the special edition theatrical releases and the announcement of the prequel trilogy starting in 1999.
And Star Wars, for better or for worse, has been with us almost non-stop ever since.
George Lucas had never shied away from merchandising the hell out of his property. Every conceivable product has been Star Wars branded in some way (I’m almost positive that there’s been a Star Wars Home Pregnancy Test, or Star Wars Suppositories), but when Disney bought Lucas’s company, it would prove to be a massive step up from Lucas’s merchandising bonanza.
When The Force Awakens was released in 2015, the expansion of the Star Wars universe exploded. Familiarity blended with a modern sensibility defined the new Star Wars, as an attempt to make new fans and impress old ones. Despite what angry nerds online would have you believe, the strategy seems to be paying off, so well that Star Wars even has its own goddamn pseudo-holiday on May the Fourth (thus ruining my good friend’s birthday, who possesses a certain ambivalence about Star Wars overall).
So, here we are, ready to celebrate Star Wars in all its billion dollar glory.
Me? I love Star Wars. I think the new movies are great, love the original trilogy, and begrudgingly accept the prequels as, at the very least, the testing ground and basis for the Clone Wars TV show (which I like quite a bit). I buy the toys, I watch the movies with my kids, and love any and all behind the scenes stuff related to the series. I’m a bit embarrassed by this May the Fourth stuff, but that’s cool…its nice when a lot of people enjoy something that I like too.
So, use this space to discuss that Galaxy Far, Far Away in all its myriad forms. It’s a big galaxy out there (when the people writing the movies avoid making them about another Death Star), and there’s a lot of fun to be had.