I don’t remember where I was when I first heard it, all I know is that I didn’t want to believe that it was true.
I knew everyone was going to be asking my opinion, thinking “Andrew loves Star Wars. He will so excited!” But in truth, my reaction to the announcement of the new Star Wars films was bittersweet.
“Another trilogy? Seriously?” I thought.
From my point of view, there were numerous reasons to be skeptical about the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Wars films. I, along with many other Star Wars fans, still remember the disappointment when the prequel trilogy (Episodes 1, 2 and 3) didn’t rise to the same level as the original trilogy (Episodes 4, 5 and 6) from the 70’s and 80’s. (And yes 4, 5 and 6 came first. That’s just how it works.) I’m not also not a fan of how Hollywood tends to stretch out successful movie franchises until they’ve bled them dry. Some of my anxiety was simply because I don’t always enjoy being the “Star Wars Guy”* among my group of friends and another set of movies is only going to exaggerate this problem.
But there was a much more personal reason for my “ho hum” attitude about the upcoming sequels to this beloved saga of mine.
It all goes back to the summer of 1999. ‘Star Wars Episode 1’ had just come out in theaters and, though I hate to admit it now, twelve-year-old Andrew loved that movie. It was just exciting to watch a new Star Wars movie. One that I hadn’t seen dozens of times already. I bought a bunch of new “Episode 1” Micro-machines, and mixed them in with my toys from the original movies.
But then I started to wonder about what would happen next. They were making Episodes 1, 2 and 3. Would they make another trilogy set after Episodes 4, 5 and 6? My young brain went crazy with ideas of what Episodes 7, 8 and 9 would look like. I began acting out new adventures with my toys and before long I had developed a very complex storyline. I don’t remember exactly when, but by the middle of 7th grade I had started writing the outline for my own Star Wars trilogy.
I spent a year and a half working on my story, working out where it would tie into the other movies, what new characters to bring in, and struggling to find a fitting ending for this epic nine part space opera. I had every intention of sending my script to George Lucas to see if he had any thoughts. I had high hopes for my first major writing endeavor.
But…my story eventually fell by the wayside, as many childhood dreams do. It became clear, for a myriad of reasons, that my dream was ultimately just not practical. I was too young. I didn’t know anything about making movies. I ultimately gave up on my delusions of grandeur.
And besides it was totally ridiculous to think that they would ever make any more Star Wars movies. Right?
So when I heard Episode 7 was finally happening, I felt a wave of melancholy. My dream, my first story, was actually happening, but it wasn’t mine. It was someone else’s story now. This movie would fulfill my childhood dream, while simultaneously ending it.
I’ve since then resigned myself to a cautious optimism about the new films. There’s no reason for me to hold my unfulfilled dreams against this new trilogy. I gave up on my Star Wars movies a long time ago. They helped inspire me as a young man to write, but I’ve long since outgrown them. I have no more real use of it than I have for the jeans I wore at that age.
And somewhere inside me, little twelve-year-old Andrew is still giddy to see what’s going to happen next in the ever unfolding story of Star Wars. And who knows? The future is always in motion. At the rate thing are going, I may get to take my grand-kids to the premieres of Star Wars Episodes 10, 11 and 12.
*I won’t get into this now, but I’m sure I could go on for pages about the up and downs of being identified as the “Star Wars Guy”. Another blog post for another time perhaps.