Looking to the Future

Disclaimer: I will not give you spoilers for new Star Wars content, especially with the amount we’ve been getting lately.

twin sunsetWe are on the cusp of an awakening. Okay, fine, that was a shameless ripoff from the teasers, but the point stands. We are about to have a large amount of Star Wars content released rapidly in the lead up to The Force Awakens. I’m excited, of course; as a post-ROTJ fan in my heart and soul, we’re finally getting into my favorite content. The things a lot of us have been waiting for. Even for the casual fans or those who aren’t especially familiar with Star Wars, suddenly it’s everywhere around us.

Therefore, we’re about to learn a lot. Maybe it won’t seem like a lot; honestly the amount of information we’re getting has been strictly controlled. We won’t have a detailed state of the political galaxy available immediately, nor do I expect it any time soon. We have what, thirty years of history to cover? That took nearly twenty years of publishing previously, and I for one am glad for the empty space.

I’ve previously written in praise of the unknown and hidden, the concept that we don’t have to have all the facts. There is a good deal to be said about letting a story be told slowly. What do we really know about TFA’s plot at this point? Not very much, really. We know we’re seeing our heroes from the OT, we know of a few we aren’t seeing, and we know the character names of the newcomers. But for major plot details, there still is very little. There are some sources out there that have been decently reliable in the past, but we still have no idea what we’re walking into on December 18th. That itself makes me all the more excited; it’s been ages since I’ve gone into something Star Wars-related and not really known what I was going to get. It’s a completely new experience and that feels amazing.

I’m falling back in love with Star Wars and reminding myself how I got here in the first place. We are surrounded by Star Wars; we aren’t just a geek thing any longer. The franchise is a cultural icon and it’s nearly impossible to know anything about American pop culture without a few good Star Wars references. Geek has become mainstream, especially such well-known geek. It’s worth celebrating. A whole new generation of fans is being minted, and old ones are coming home yet again. By now, Star Wars has been a thing long enough that generations of geek parents are discussing just what the proper order is to show the movies to their children in. Back to my mention of there being a lot of empty space in the GFFA, we’re stepping into a world where we don’t know all of the history, and it feels like a way to bring in the new fans, once again. Star Wars has become all the more accessible, essential for a fandom that is suddenly in the public eye. Even for those of us who have been here for a very long time, the excitement is contagious.

One of the things that struck me most at the Rebels panel last year at NYCC was the age range. Rebels is a kids’ show, or at least it’s very much marketed that way. But it has an appeal beyond its target audience, based on those of us adult bloggers who are eagerly watching and commenting. How many of us are making plans to read and review the junior novels, as well? And, how many of us have met a child who’s new to Star Wars and so excited? We can feel that energy and remember being like that once. I’m even feeling like it again, and that’s a part of the future of Star Wars fandom.

This is so exciting. A whole fandom is alive and awake, spreading rapidly, full of energy. I’m no longer just off in my little corner of the internet yelling about Yuuzhan Vong and different schools of Force-users. There are so many more around me, and I can’t help but be excited. When the last three teasers for TFA dropped, so many of us stopped what we were doing just to watch them. I slipped out a back door at work and hid in a corner of the parking lot, watching that first teaser several times over as I realized how many of us fans were doing the same thing. That was what we were waiting for: a sign that these new movies were really happening and that Star Wars was really going somewhere.

We’re looking at the future now. This isn’t just about where Star Wars has been or all of the adventures we’ve had as a fandom, amazing though they are. This is about where we’re going. Every day, there’s something new on Twitter, some new news, something else that catches my eye. Some of it is so utterly mundane- finding a set of Rebels cups in Target, and some of it is spectacular.

I wrote most of this before Thursday afternoon, when we received a few more seconds of teaser. Fifteen seconds is all it takes to send the Star Wars fandom into a flurry of action and motion, speculation, chatter. My Twitter went so fast that I still haven’t caught up, several hours later. And I’ve personally watched and rewatched those fifteen seconds a few times, taking in every frame, thinking about all the things I’m excited for everything that we’re going to get to see so soon. This fandom is about to explode in size and activity, and I can’t wait.

JakkuLitterbugs-TFAT2Where will I be on December 18th? Again, falling back in love with Star Wars, like I have so many times before. Where will I be on September 4th, for that matter? Again, falling back into Star Wars fandom. There’s a sense of communal discovery right now, and that’s something I’ve very much missed. Best of all, there are so many fans who’ve walked away from the fandom in recent years, who are coming back. I’ve heard from so many of us who thought we were done, for whatever reason- perhaps it was novel series that weren’t well-received, perhaps just feeling like there wasn’t a lot going on, perhaps those who’d left due to the decanonization of Legends. Some of those fans are returning, to their surprise. The Star Wars family is still growing, and feeling that kind of momentum is something I’ve rather missed. As Han would put it, “Chewie, we’re home.”