I have a different relationship with Star Wars than most people. Star Wars was origionally released in theaters fourty-seven days after I was born. The Empire Strikes Back was the first movie I saw in a cinema. I stood on the seat, transfixed on the screen from the crawl to the credits. Return of the Jedi was the first movie I remember seeing in theaters. I’ve seen A New Hope something on the order of two thousand times. Three times in my life I’ve watched either ANH or the entire trilogy at least once per day for more than a year. Then theres all the other times I’ve seen it outside of that. I’ve been known to win Star Wars Trivial Pursuit on a single turn. I can recite the dialog of the entire trilogy from memory. Star Wars was an anchor for me, through a turbulent childhood.
I’m not one of those crazies though. I’m not a collector. I have some Star Wars stuff, but it’s not overehelming. I’ve enjoyed the expanded universe, but it’s not the same. The EU to me was, and still is I suppose, something like fanfic. A place to go to think about Star Wars when all of Star Wars had already been consumed. For over twenty years Star Wars was a constant in my life, before the dark times, before the prequals.
I was very excited for The Phantom Menace. I saw it on opening day, the first showing of the day in San Diego. Afterward, less so. The prequels are horribly bad. I took comfort in not being alone in that opinion. But now there’s a new expanse for Star Wars. Disney has made statements about producing one new Star Wars movie per year. And for better or for worse, Star Wars is no longer simply a trilogy.
I also am a fan of Star Trek. I am possibly going through what many Star Trek fans went through in 1987. Having watched The Cage, Picard is much closer to Pike than Kirk is. The Next Generation is more the show that Gene Roddenberry wanted to create than the original series was. The architecture of TNG traces back to Gene’s original design for Star Trek before the studios got involved. And Star Trek has now lived more without its creator than with. There is phenominally good Trek (City on the Edge of Forever, The Measure of a Man, or The Inner Light) and there is bad Trek (most of DS9) and really bad Trek (Spock’s Brain, seasons 2-4 of Enterprise). But there is a lot of Trek. There’s almost 750 hours of Star Trek cannon. There’s aproximately 12 (14 after this weekend) of Star Wars. I’m able to watch and rewatch Star Trek, enjoying the good episodes and lamenting or skipping the bad ones. I don’t regard all of Star Trek cannon as cannon. Starting this week, I will be doing the same with Star Wars.