It is time for my fandom to end.
My love affair began at age 9 with The Empire Strikes Back, as it was my first memorable theatre experience. I had seen Star Wars but the feeling of seeing Luke and Vader battle in Cloud City, Yoda dispense wisdom while training young Skywalker and the beautiful set pieces of Cloud City & Hoth was a hallmark of my youth. It was evident in my toy collection: the Hoth base, Luke and Han in their winter gear, the snow speeder & Boba Fett’s ship.
After reaching the acceptance stage of grief that were the prequels, I held out hope for the new trilogy. So much so, that I gave the Force Awakens a pass for its insistence on nostalgia over story. It felt like it needed to pay back the long time fans for previous disappointments. I was wrong.
Each generation of Star Wars movies is speaking to a different audience. It’s message and tone are a byproduct of how stories are told in its respective time.
I’ve been eating at McDonald’s since I was a kid but the menu has changed immensely in the last 30 years. I still return on occasion (like yesterday) and I get the same thing that I’ve always loved (the Big Mac). But as much as I connect with McDonald’s and despite the number of years that I’ve supported it, it doesn’t belong to me. It never did.
Likewise, The Last Jedi story illustrates why this is so important. If we don’t move past the rigidity of the old ways, we become confined by it in ways that prevent us from moving forward. It would’ve been great if J.J. Abrams *The Force Awakens* was bold enough to make those choices as we’d now be well on our way to fully exploring this new chapter of the amazing universe that Lucas created 40 years ago. Thankfully, Rian Johnson was given leeway to do so.
Star Wars movies shouldn’t be about rehashing and reliving your favorite moments in the original trilogy. That’s what DVDs and Netflix are for. New stories should introduce new characters and take existing ones (including the Force) into new directions, boldly if possible. In this regard, The Last Jedi succeeds.
I’ve been bored of the Skywalker saga for a while. While I fell in love with the story as a child, it was the promise of the universe that kept me. It’s why I loved the Kevin J. Anderson novels. It’s why I watched the Clone Wars. It’s why I wrote a term paper on *Tales of the Bounty Hunters* for a science fiction literature course in college
My old Star Wars fandom is dead. All hail my new Star Wars fandom.