The strange thing about my experience with Star Wars (the original trilogy) is that I have never watched the movies all the way through in one sitting, but I have been able to pick up all the important quotes, the characters and their roles, and how the stories end. I always hear so much about it and for some reason feel that it is culturally significant for me to have at least the basic knowledge of this ridiculous science fiction film, but it could never hold my interest for the two hour run time. I’ll turn to one of the movies for a little while if they’re on television when nothing else is, I have played one of the video games, and owned some of action figure characters, but overall I could not feel more indifferent towards the classic series. Therefore, being asked to think critically about the topic is not in my comfort zone, but I’ll give it a try anyways.
One thing that is important to understand about my perspective is that the original Star Wars trilogy came out before I was born, and I saw at least one of the more modern versions before I had the slightest interest in seeing what happened in the earlier films. Thus, the older versions could not live up to the expectations I had of special effects and I was not into the cheesy, old-fashioned characters. Since I would have to consider myself as having just grazed the surface of the Star Wars franchise and have not taken the time to understand all of its themes and messages about society, as most every worthwhile film contains, I mainly see this franchise as having thoroughly and exploited the attention that it received and milking it (effectively) for all it’s worth.
The franchise has become so easy to identify with at least partly because of all of the different outlets that make keep the franchise close to the consumers at all times. Aside from the movies themselves, there is clothing, action figures, video games, novels, cartoons, etc. As I mentioned before, I did not even have to see the movie to have a surface level knowledge of the franchise– I had about twenty different Star Wars Lego sets as a child to help me with that. It seems that a lot of the attention that comes from Star Wars doesn’t even have a lot to do with the original film. Looking at the Wookieepedia, the largest Star Wars wiki around, a good portion of the content seems to be fan fiction that elaborates beyond what is present in the story itself. Although this is not a commercial exploitation of the film, it demonstrates one of the avenues to further explore the franchise, as well as the variation in the levels of engagement that are available to hardcore and casual fans alike.
Okay, so here’s a Star Wars scenario that actually does interest me: Jar Jar Binks, R2D2, C3PO, and an Ewok on the Millennium Falcon– one has to go. Who would I choose? My answer is C3PO, but only because I am assuming that Jar Jar Binks has been killed off well before this situation arose because of how intolerably annoying he is. The reason for picking C3PO over the rest is that I feel like there is nothing he can do that R2D2 can’t do better, and I would like to have the Ewok around to keep me company.