Star Wars opened May 25th 1977 and the fandom has grown with each trilogy that has released. There was a 16 year gap between the original trilogy and a 10 year gap before we had a sequel trilogy. There have been now at least 3 generations that have seen Star Wars on the big screen with one trilogy or another each one being introduced to new characters, destinations, ships and a plethora of other things from a galaxy far far away. Now Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is on the horizon and the Skywalker saga is coming to a close. We here at GNN sat down with five of our writers and asked them 5 questions about their Star Wars fandom. Those included were Autumn Barnes, Debi Barton, Ethan Zepeda and Jimmie Draper and David Furr.
1. How and when/what age were you introduced to Star Wars?
Jimmie: I was three and on a visit to San Antonio. The year was 1980, and my Dad, Uncle and I went to see ESB one afternoon after running around post (we were at Ft. Sam that day). That was the first time my Dad saw me sit still in the theater. I still remember sitting there in awe.
Debi: I was introduced to Star Wars by my brothers when I was 13, sometime in the late Summer of 1977.
Autumn: I came into the Star Wars Universe a bit late. Up until the Star Wars: Special Edition theater releases in the late 90s, I had only seen bits and pieces of the original trilogy on TV. While I saw Episodes 1-3 in the theater, it wasn’t until Episode 7 that going to Star Wars movies on “opening Thursday” became a family tradition.
Ethan: I don’t remember the exact age I first saw it, but my dad was the one who introduced me to Star Wars. As far back as I can remember I loved watching our VHS copies of the original trilogy.
David: My dad was a huge fan of the Star Wars movie when it first came out in 1977. He saw it many times at the small theater in his college town. Every time we got new toys as kids it was always a Star Wars toy. I vaguely remember seeing empire when I was very young but it was Return of the Jedi that I vividly remember seeing in theaters on May 25 1983. When those little Ewoks jumped out of the trees and were taking on the stormtroopers it blew my young mind and I was hooked. Yes I had toys from the other movies and had seen them but the Ewoks hooked me.
2. What were your thoughts when Disney acquired Star Wars and based on the last 4 movies how are they doing?
Jimmie: My thoughts at first were “Holy crap, they are going to make some high budget SW stuff!”. I was not far off as TFA was great, TLJ was wasted opportunity, Rogue One was brilliant and Solo was terribly underrated. Overall they have done well with one exception.
Debi: Since Lucas had decided he wasn’t going to do any more Star Wars movies because of the backlash from the prequels, I was ecstatic that Disney was taking over. I’m a big fan of backstories, so I loved Rogue One and Solo. TFA was great and TLJ was good, so I’m excited to see how TROS ties it all together.
Autumn: When it was announced that Lucas was selling Star Wars to Disney my first reaction was “Well who else will properly understand and embrace another mega fandom better than the Disney fan base?” Since then I have taken two Disney Cruise Line Star Wars Day at Sea cruises, attended several D23 Expos and Destination D events and visited Galaxy’s Edge on both coasts within a week of each other. As for the last four movies I have loved them. I love the addition of more strong female characters and the expansion of the Universe. I also think the fact that we take my nieces to the opening nights of the new Star Wars movies and the discussions we have had about those movies, “Derpy Penguins” aka Porgs, and my niece’s excitement about our upcoming trip to Galaxy’s Edge really add to the reason why the newer movies are my favorites.
Ethan: I was optimistic to see where the franchise could go under new creative leadership. I have a ton of respect for George Lucas, but I think his strength lies more with storytelling than film making. It’s been a mixed bag for sure, but overall, I think Disney has done a good job.
David: My thoughts initially was amazement that Mr. Lucas would sell but also excitement because Star Wars was going to be handed over to other directors and we would get more movies,shows, etc. I new that Disney would take care of the franchise (they had done so well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe) so i knew it was in good hands. The movies thus far in my opinion have been amazing. I have been so excited to know every year there will be a new something Star Wars to look forward to. Yes there a parts of the movies I don’t like but there are parts of every movie that are like that.There is no such thing as a perfect movie.
3. What is your favorite pop culture (TV, movie, music etc.) reference to the Star Wars universe?
Jimmie: The whole discussion about the Death Star on Clerks really did it for me.
Debi: The Big Bang Theory hands down. There is always some kind of Star Wars reference in the show – t-shirts, toys, etc. The Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones episode was classic and having Mark Hamill officiate Sheldon and Amy’s wedding was epic.
Autumn: Spaceballs. Oddly, though I didn’t see the original movies in their entirety until my late teens I saw Spaceballs a few hundred times.
Ethan: The hieroglyphs of C-3PO and R2-D2 in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s so easily missed, but it’s a great detail.
David: My absolute favorite reference to Star Wars in pop culture is from the Simpsons. There was an episode, I believe it was called “I Married Marge”, that was told in a flash back to Homer and Marge dating. They had gone to see Empire Strikes Back at the theater and Homer walks out of the theater and as hes walking past the line of people waiting to get in he says “Man who would have thought Darth Vader was Luke’s father?” very loudly spoiling it for the crowd who hadn’t seen it. I think of that every time i go to the theater for a movie or any one starts talking about spoilers.
4. What is the crown jewel of your Star Wars collection?
Jimmie: My Force FX Vader saber, my Jorge Sacul figure or my Salacious Crumb puppet. Hard to pick just one.
Debi: The crown jewel of my Star Wars collection would have to be my 6 signed, limited edition Hildebrandt Brothers Lithographs based on Shadows of the Empire. They include 3 different Vaders, a Boba Fett, The Falcon, and C3PO/R2D2.
Autumn: It’s a toss up between Star Wars Celebration 2017 Funko Pop Rey with Speeder figure or the copy of the “Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded” that Pablo Hidalgo and Matt Martin signed for my youngest niece.
Ethan: Without a doubt my voice activated R2-D2. I got that as a Christmas gift in 2002, and after 17 years he still works great. As a kid I never thought I’d be bringing him to volunteer events while cosplaying as Luke Skywalker.
David: I own a 21 back Luke Skywalker from 1979 still on the card with a perfect bubble and a sticker for a send away character that would be Boba Fett with the rocket firing back pack. Those that don’t know in 1977/78 there were only 12 figures that were released with the first wave and then in 1979 there were 9 more added with second wave hence a 21 back. and for those doing the math yes it was Boba Fett and I know he didn’t appear in the movies until 1980s Empire Strikes Back, however he did have a cameo in the infamous 1978 Christmas Special. I also have a SW celebration exclusive copy of AOTC signed by R.A. Salvatore that was limited to 500 copies.
5. Do you think Star Wars will ever truly be loved again?
Jimmie: Yes and The Mandalorian is a step in the right direction.
Debi: Personally, I will always love Star Wars and that includes the canon and non-canon. As far as the fanbase is concerned, I highly doubt it. I belong to several different fanbases and Star Wars is by far, the most toxic. It just boggles my mind and is something I’ll probably never understand.
Autumn: To be “loved again” would imply people don’t love Star Wars anymore? Having a large number of friends who love Star Wars, I can honestly say it isn’t “unloved” to begin with and that I am not the only person on Earth that loves it.
Ethan: I’d argue it never stopped being loved. It might always be divisive, the franchise has such a rich history with an incredibly diverse fandom not to be, but each entry will always have its loyal loving fans. We might not be able to agree on which ones are “good or “bad” but the love for the universe will always be there.
David: As and avid fan of just about everything Star Wars its hard for me to say it was never truly unloved. I know there are people that dislike the prequel movies and others that think what Disney is making is an abomination but Star Wars is still loved. To those that hate…at least we are still getting Star Wars movies, shows, theme parks, etc. Just be happy about more content and the fact that the Force is still strong.
BONUS: Do you read spoilers/predictions before going to see the movie?
Jimmie: Oh yes. Love to read all the guesses and see which was right and which was way off.
Debi: I did for TFA and TLJ and even though I really like both movies, all the trailers, theories, and predictions kind of took the joy out of seeing the movie. For TROS I watched the first trailer and the most recent one, no TV spots, and I scroll by any articles relating to the movie.
Autumn: No. I actually avoid all spoilers and predictions. Due to my job I get very few “surprises” when it comes to the Disney parks and other parts of the Disney community, so I like to try and ensure I have some surprises when it comes to all Disney, Star Wars and Marvel movies by avoid spoilers. Thankfully our Thursday night tradition helps me avoid spoilers by seeing the film at 6 or 7PM EST, and I just don’t read prediction articles.
Ethan: No. I don’t avoid trailers or TV spots, but I hate spoilers, and predictions are so rarely correct there’s no point in paying attention to them.
David: For the first three movies I had the book on record (yes my age is showing). For the sequel trilogy the novels came out months before the movies did and yes I read every one before it hit theaters. The Disney era movies I have not watched any spoilers except the trailers I like being fully immersed in the movie and surprised by what’s coming.