I’m going to be straight honest, I have never seen Star Wars. And when I say “never seen” I mean NEVER SEEN. We’re talking no parts of the movies, no comic books, no memorabilia, nothing and surprisingly enough…..I couldn’t care less.
I’m sure a wookiee has just dropped dead somewhere after saying that, but the thing is, I’m absolutely positive that there are millions of others just like me who haven’t seen Star Wars and don’t intend to.
What’s interesting about the fact that I’ve never seen Star Wars is that I can still recognize references to the movies and their director. For example, after watching the “George Lucas in Love” video parody, it occurred to me that I was understanding the references and was still able to giggle at the silliness of their attempt to re-create the characters. Isn’t it just enthralling that something as simple as a movie can affect pop culture so strongly? I mean really, it’s a cultural phenomenon that is echoed among the masses. Everyone generally has some idea of what a wookiee is, even if the extent of that knowledge is that it has to deal with Star Wars or that it’s a big fuzzy bear looking animal. As a child I owned a light saber, solely because I thought it was cool how it made sounds and lit up, but that’s besides the point, I still owned one. I also distinctly remember sitting in front of a fan and saying “Luke, I am your father” (don’t pretend you didn’t do that). This in and of itself is a huge deal. As an audience we have made Star Wars culturally identifiable – to everyone – even those who haven’t seen it!
I can’t say I remember when I was first exposed to the franchise, but I can say that it feels like forever. As it gained popularity culturally in my generation, I imagine that I probably heard about it via word of mouth. Neither of my parents were big Star Wars fans, so it wasn’t culturally inherited to me. As an outsider to the whole phenomenon I think my lack of interest probably pertains to the fact that I am a woman. Not saying that the fan base for Star Wars is all male, but generally speaking I feel that it’s definitely more male aimed. As a young girl I wasn’t interesting in watching movies about action and adventure, I liked girlie things. From my perspective the Star Wars franchise is such a foreign scope to me, but from what I do know, I can clearly identify that it has become bigger than anticipated. The fan base is so strong that people dress like it, talk like it and live by it.
I imagine that this franchise has become so strong because of its relatable/loveable characters and it’s science fiction appeal. Everyone dreams of fantasy worlds that they wished they lived in and Star Wars provides just that along with a bit of relationship drama that all humans are attracted to. Over time, the obsession has changed but hasn’t wavered. New technology allows for alternate ways of showing affection toward the cultural phenomenon including websites like this one which shows the different fan sites all in relation with Star Wars. Over time, Star Wars has also been able to collect a larger fan base as more and more people are exposed to it.
Now, pertaining to the question of whom to sacrifice to save my life and the lives of others, choosing between Jar Jar Binks, R2D2, C3PO or Ewok, my guess is probably not as good as any. My summation is based completely on online research of the characters via Wookieepedia. My guess would be that fans would most likely sacrifice Jar Jar Binks.
To make this guess I used the process of elimination. R2D2 is a cornerstone character, he’s able to fix spacecrafts, he contains many gadgets and has helped his friends save the galaxy many a times – clearly he is of use. C3PO has nearly the same kind of evaluation – he’s loyal to his friends and has helped save the galaxy on many occasions. Ewoks, though small, are useful for battle and are quick learners. This leaves Jar Jar Binks, a clumsy and less than useful character who could probably afford to be lost.
Star Wars is a classic much like The Wizard of Oz or Harry Potter. It’s popularity has only risen since its appearance in 1977 and will only continue to grow. It’s popularity can be seen through all it’s media events and incorporation into modern and current media like Family Guy for example. Though I still have no intentions on watching the film or getting into it this late in the game I can still step back and appreciate the phenomenon that has shaped American culture and be completely okay with the fact that my life too, though more indirectly has probably been shaped by the multi-million dollar franchise.