My Introduction to Star Wars Fandom
It wasn't that I didn't like the movies that I had seen as a kid or anything, I just didn't get into it like I did other things like superheroes and comics (both of which I am still into). I even played the Star Wars: Force Unleashed as a teenager.
But something changed all that about a year ago. I had, for some reason (perhaps it was the talk of a new Star Wars movie being made) decided to go on a Star Wars marathon by myself. I had asked a friend of mine, who had the complete 6-movie collection on blu-ray, if I could borrow the set.
A craving for more and more Star Wars had begun to surface. I was actively going back and forth between to the library, seeking out what popular Star Wars stories they had. Not knowing any better, I picked up Heir to the Empire, the first book in the Thrawn Trilogy, written by Timothy Zahn. Shortly after, I realized that I had picked up what many considered to be the best installment in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Who was I to argue?
I devoured the book and ransacked ebay.com and half.com to find the other installments in the series. I ended up with the entire trilogy and the two Hand of Thrawn books that followed many years after the events of Thrawn Trilogy.
But it wasn't just the movies and the books anymore, I was binge-watching the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series on Netflix since they had just added the entire series, including the previously unaired sixth season. If not for that show, I would have never heard of Ahsoka Tano, who is easily one of my top favorite Star Wars characters now and despite being marketed mostly as a kid's show, it had some surprisingly very deep and very adult content (no, not the 18+ kind).
No More Expanded Universe!?
Just as I was starting to get into all these different venues of Star Wars, I discovered, while surfing on the internet, that Disney, the new owners of Lucasarts, decided that the entire Expanded Universe was to be wiped clean.
During my hunt for great Star Wars stories, I was becoming emotionally invested in reading more about characters like Mara Jade, the Solo twins, and more! But now, they were gone and I wouldn't be able to read their stories...well, I could, but it wouldn't matter because it would no longer be canon with the movies. All that remained to be canon were the six movies, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (I breathed easier here), and whatever else would be coming out in the future.
At first, I was disheartened because there were so many stories that I wanted to read so I could have a better understanding of the films coming down the line. I wanted to be the guy who could make all sorts of predictions due to my astonishing amount of knowledge on Star Wars lore. Now that was going to happen.
"A New Hope" Presented Itself
Then it dawned on me: the realization that this starting over fresh with Disney and Lucasarts meant a fresh start for new fans like myself. I didn't have to scrounge through old stories, I would be able to keep up with whatever came out in the coming months and years.
So that's what I wanted to write this article about. I wanted to describe why right now is the perfect time to be a new Star Wars fan, so I've prepared a list of four different reasons specifically.
Let's get started.
1. Action-Packed Animation!
You may or may not be the kind of person who enjoys animated entertainment. I understand that everyone has their specific taste in things and if you don't like, then you don't like it. However, I feel sorry for you because you are missing out on some awesome story-telling.
As I stated above, I was a huge fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoons which introduced me to a lot of different facts about Star Wars lore. I was distraught when I realized that the show had been cancelled; watching season six of the series was bitter sweet for me as I knew there was no more new episodes coming afterwards.
But Disney and Lucasarts were not going to leave their fans hanging. In the Fall of 2014, Disney XD had released a brand new animated series featuring an entirely new cast of Star Wars characters called Star Wars: Rebels. Those who know me, know that I love characters; it's because of the great characters that I was drawn to Star Wars in the first place. But I loved the idea of a brand new set of Star Wars characters getting some front-seat attention, even if it is mostly in the eyes of kids (there are men like me, who will enjoy these shows with their kids).
Star Wars: Rebels is a great show so far and if you haven't checked it out, go start getting caught up. I will say it starts off a little rocky I'll admit, but the show does begin to find it's footing. Plus, there are plenty of guest appearances for long-time Star Wars fans.
There are plans to have this group, in Star Wars: Rebels, play a large part in Star Wars history. They're not some throwaway group that Disney and Lucas slapped together to make some extra cash. These characters have deep stories behind them and as time goes along, we'll begin to see more and more of each of these stories I'm sure, considering that Kanan Jarrus has already starred in his own novel (the first of the new EU) and will be getting his own comic series produced by Marvel Comics.
Which brings me to my second point...
2. The Star Wars/Marvel Merge!
Other than movies, comics have been my go-to source for entertainment. I've read more comics and graphic novels than I've read regular books. That may or may not be something to be proud of (probably be the latter). But there's something about comic book story-telling that just excites me. I think because it's a constant form of entertainment, you know you are getting a good story every month, sometimes twice a month and hopefully it goes on and on for years.
That's why, when it was announced that Marvel Comics would be in charge of producing Star Wars stories in comic book form, I freaked. I am typically a DC guy when it comes to my superheroes, but I love Marvel comics as well and I'm glad to see Star Wars in the hands of a company that I know will not let it slip from their hands again (yes, Marvel did have the rights to Star Wars in the 1980s).
From the line-up of comics we are getting from Marvel Comics regarding Star Wars, we are guaranteed lots of answers to fill in the gaps between movies and television shows.
If you haven't seen the line-up, it's pretty awesome. So far, the comics are:
- Star Wars - Just a straight-up Star Wars comic that focuses on the original three heroes as they battle the empire during the space of time that exists between Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. The first two issues of this book have already been released, so if you plan on picking it up, you'd better head to your nearest comic shop as soon as you can...or ebay.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader - Pretty self-explanatory, this book is about Darth Vader and all of his deeds between the same space of time that the above book takes place in. Considering that both this book and the other Star Wars comic are pretty closely aligned, it'll be interesting to see what kind of cross-overs we'll see in the future between these two comics. This book is due out later this month (February 2015)
- Star Wars: Princess Leia - Another self-explanatory comic. This book will only be a mini-series of 5 issues and will focus on Leia during the same space of time as the two books above. The fact that it's a mini-series means that there is a very specific story that Marvel wants told. This book will be released next month (March 2015).
- Star Wars: Kanan - The only book being released that doesn't take place between Episodes 4 and 5, Kanan will focus on the Jedi upbringing that the comics protagonist had for a brief time of his life before Order 66 was given and most Jedi hunted down and killed. I'm excited for this one specifically because I've watched Kanan in Star Wars: Rebels and read him in his novel: Star Wars: A New Dawn.
So there's definitely a lot to be excited about concerning Marvel's handling of Star Wars in comic form. I'll definitely be grabbing these up as they are released.
Unfortunately, the previous Star Wars titles printed under Dark Horse Comics are no longer being distributed in print format, although they can still be purchased digitally on sites like comixology.com.
3. Exciting New Novels!
I know I said that I've read way more comics than any traditional book, but let's face it, it's so much easier to read a small, 30-something page book filled with picture and limited spacing for dialogue. It's just much quicker to read comics.
But I'll never turn a blind-eye to a good book. I admit that sometimes I can slack off when begin to read books, but I've been faithfully following the new Star Wars books as they're released (2 in total as of right now). I've already read Star Wars: A New Dawn and I am currently reading Star Wars: Tarkin (so I'm a bit behind, the next one doesn't come out till March 2015). I can say that both books have been an enjoyable read and I'm excited to see more and more of these novels come out over the next few months.
Although I love comics for their series of connected story-lines they put out monthly, reading a novel is like eating a steak dinner. It's heavy and meaty and sticks with the reader a bit longer.
I'm especially excited that I've been able to keep up with the books so far because I did not want to go sifting through 100+ novels.
There's no way, unless I gave up all of my time from my work and my family and my other adult-responsibilities that I would have the time or energy to read all of these books.
With the new EU having been established last year, I don't have to worry about not being able to keep up. I can begin my own, brand new, Star Wars collection. I'm young to the Star Wars fandom, but I hope to have a Star Wars collection to match the enormity of the picture above in decades to come.
If you were a long-time fan of Star Wars, though, and had read countless Star Wars EU books, they'll still be around and haven't been completely dismissed. They'll simply be re-branded as "Legends" which means that event though the stories are not canon, they could still exist as mere legends in the Star Wars universe. So if you still want to attempt the endless numbers of old Star Wars EU books, they're still available at your local bookstores.
Now to my final point.
4. Long-Awaited Film Installments!
If nothing else excites you. If animated tv series are too childish for your liking, comics too geeky for your style, and books too long for your patience (you shouldn't be a Star Wars fan) then at least there's the brand new film, [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](movie:711158), coming out this December (2015). If you have been living under a rock and haven't seen the trailer for the new film, take a minute to watch:
I know the trailer isn't that long and doesn't show very much of what the actual story will be. But just the imagery of the film should be enough to excite you. We've got storm-troopers, X-Wings, and lightsabers. What more could we ask for? I'm sure a longer trailer is just around the corner which will probably present more of the story.
Plus, they're bringing back Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher Princess Leia! Along with the original three, we will see Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO. The original gang is returning!
But as much of a dream-come-true this movie is for Star Wars fans, both new and old, there's so much more Star Wars material in play in the film industry. Between every year we receive an "Episode" installment into the Star Wars franchise, there will be a stand-alone film focusing on some of our favorite Star Wars characters.
That's a Star Wars movie every year for the next five years!
So after this year's Star Wars flick, we will be seeing Gareth Edwards' ([Godzilla](movie:45291)) standalone Star Wars film which is rumored to be featuring none other than the fan-favorite Boba Fett!
But there are plenty of rumors out there and so many involve the bounty-hunter, that it would not be surprise if true. There are rumors that additional Star Wars characters like Han Solo from the original trilogy and Sabine from Star Wars: Rebels will be in the film as well.
I don't care who the movie is about honestly, I have my listed of desired Star Wars characters getting their own movies and since Boba Fett is on the list, I'm on board.
You can check out my list of ten Star Wars characters I'd like to see get a standalone film here: Han Solo, Boba Fett, and Other Star Wars Movies I Want to See
But there's no denying that Disney and Lucasfilm are investing all they've got into these films, similar to how Disney and Marvel Studios have been, which has been very successful.
Well, that was an exhausting explanation, but I hope you get the point. No matter what form of entertainment you prefer, there's something Star Wars related for you. If you love all things Star Wars already, then the next few years will be like Star Wars-heaven.
If you have never been a Star Wars but are interested in checking out why there's always so much hype regarding the enormous franchise, then this year, 2015, is the year to start getting into it. As we say in the comic-book world: this is a great jumping-on point for newcomers.
Let me know what you are most excited about in the comments, what you'd like to see happen, etc. And don't forget to vote in the poll as well.