Last year something wonderful happened. Something many of us had waited years to see, something many of us thought we’d never see! A new Star Wars film was released. Now, unless you’ve been living under an Alderaan shaped rock for the past few years, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released in last year following intense marketing and it received a very positive reaction from fans.
For geeks like me, it was a really exciting time. We got to enjoy a reinvented and reimagined vision, completely separate from the prequels and all the good will George Lucas managed to squander. And suddenly, being a Star Wars geek in vogue again. Everyone and their dog were going to see this flick in theaters (several going multiple times)! So, I’m going to look at some of the ways Episode 7 made geeks cool.
Anticipation is so often the weakness of geeks and nerds. It is our greatest strength, but also our greatest weakness. I think a major appeal of the Star Wars films is their story and moral message. Star Wars always sees the good in people and that's a universal thing for many of us. This is just one of the major things about the film's that increased anticipation for Episode 7. People wanted to go on a journey again. They wanted to feel attached and emotional on their journey. It’s so hard not to get excited about a Star Wars film, but, when you do, it lets you down (Episode 1). But this was different; it was a new direction with Disney helming the movies. And the anticipation, even from people who weren't necessarily fans, made geeks mainstream once again!
The Next Generation
It might seem blasphemous to use a Star Trek reference in a Star Wars post, but bear with me, okay?! See, one of the greatest things about a new Star Wars movie is seeing how all the young kids react to it. To many of them, this is a totally new thing they are experiencing for the first time. They are the next generation of Star Wars fans, and The Force Awakens really captured their imaginations. It washed away the stale aftertaste of the prequel trilogy. And now parents and kids alike could finally attend a Star Wars movie together and have the same experience. And I think that's such a big part of the appeal of these movies.
Star Wars has always benefited from one of the strongest expanded universes of any franchise. You can get anything you could possibly want that relates to Star Wars. And, this has only intensified since Episode 7 became a runaway success. There are table top and card games such as the X-Wing Miniatures Game. There are video games like Star Wars: Battlefront, and there are many novels and comics as well. This expanded universe has become even more mainstream since the last film. And people who may not otherwise have dipped into it are doing so.
It’s pretty clear that geeks are back in now, and Star Wars, as always, has played a huge role in this. It seems that this movie captured the hearts and minds like no other Star Wars movie has managed recently, at least at the box office. And personally, I can't wait for both Rogue One and Episode 8 to come out!