Reflections on The Force Awakens [spoiler free]

justin Books, Comic Books, Disney, Fiction, Movies, Popular Culture, Ravings, Star Wars Leave a Comment

star-wars-orangesI just want to start this by reiterating the title: this blog post is spoiler free.

For those readers who don’t know me, or don’t know me that well, I’d like to introduce myself. Hi, I’m Justin and I have a serious Star Wars problem. I’ve had an emotional investment in this franchise since 1977 like a lot of other folks around my age. I collected the toys, I read the comics and I even read the couple of semi-crappy spin off novels that came out before everything exploded into awesomeness with the release of Heir to the Empire in 1991. That’s really where the Expanded Universe got it’s teeth. Around the same time, Dark Horse acquired the licensing to make Star Wars comics (and other products) and a mini Renaissance started to build. I promise this all has a point in regard to the new film: I just need to take a slightly circuitous route to get there.

For my fandom, the Expanded Universe really blew the doors off. I read every novel I could get my hands on and even organized a database of chronology so I could keep them all straight. What really set Star Wars aside from other popular properties that had literary tie-ins was that there was a single chronology to the entire thing. Characters created in a novel, comic book or even a video game would pop up in other novels, comic books and video games. The entire Universe was tied together into one giant story. To be honest, there are a handful of characters that never saw any screen time in the films that I have much more of an attachment to than those that did.

That brings us to October 2012 when the Mouse bought the Galaxy Far Far Away. The new movie was quickly announced and all of us Star Wars geeks giggled and shook with anticipation.

On April 25, 2014, everything, at least for me, changed. Lucasfilm announced that the Expanded Universe was no longer canon. All previous materials now fell under the banner of “Star Wars Legends” and a new canon would be built surrounding the new sequel trilogy. I was totally naive to think that wouldn’t happen. From my perspective, I knew exactly what happened after Return of the Jedi and almost 50 years after that. I still think that the events of the New Jedi Order novels would make an incredible series of movies, but I totally get that an entire reboot had to be put in place as this property gained new legs in front of the non-fanatical public.

That brings us to where we are today. The Force Awakens has been released and is probably exceeding all projected goals. I saw it in the historic Texas Theatre at 7PM on December 17th, 2015. I’m a Star Wars geek, so I was “pee myself” excited every step of the way, but there was a tiny part of me that really wanted a story line from the “Legends” bucket.

Unlike the reviled prequels, this movie had great character development and incredibly solid acting. J.J. Abrams continues to create magic and the massive marketing machine at Disney really did a fantastic job at keeping everything under wraps. I thought I might know a general direction the film was going to go based on the teasers and trailers, but I was completely wrong. The visual effects are damn impressive (as expected) and it is really going to suck that I’ve got to wait a couple of years for Episode VIII. When the credits rolled, I wanted it to start right back up again, and I know I was not the only person who felt that way in the theater. Kudos, Disney, you’ve done a good job.

Now we get to move on. I still have a billion little bits of conjecture swirling around in my head, but I can’t wait to see where we are taken next. If you want to lose a couple hours of your life in the geekery of minutiae, hit me up. I’ve got lots of opinions and even a bunch of knowledge of a universe that has now, for all intents and purposes, marginalized. I’ll be happy as hell to share with you the direction I think things might be going and lots of backstory as to why I think it. C’mon, it’ll be fun.

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