Scene Takes On: ‘Star Wars’
Miko Malabute | Monday, November 9, 2015
“Scene Takes On” is a brand new feature in which our staff takes a look at and offers their different takes on some of the most devoted fan bases across pop culture. In this edition, I take on all of the dedicated fans of a certain film series from a time not so long ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the ever-popular “Star Wars” series.
Fans of the films are some of the most diverse and atypical among science-fiction fanbases I have ever encountered. Whereas the following of other sci-fi franchises, such as “Star Trek,” have an esoteric, closed-off feel to their fandom — and membership requires a certain level of proficiency in Klingon, or at least the ability to do the “live long and prosper” hand sign — “Star Wars” fans, in general, don’t truly care if you know the intricacies of their intergalactic universe. It doesn’t matter if you speak Mandalorian or even care what lightsabers are made out of, you can still be a fan.
“Star Wars,” as opposed to “Star Trek,” doesn’t need the witty dialogue or even the plausibility of the physics of the latter; just ask anyone who has watched the prequel trilogy — they’ll mention how much they cringe at Hayden Christensen’s dialogue delivery or how the Force might as well be the equivalent of Harry Potter’s magic. But they don’t care at all about those kinds of things, because what they do care about are three things: the transcendent story and themes to which anyone can connect, the superior musical score and, most importantly, the action. Thus, it doesn’t take someone with a deep understanding of the laws of physics — or, more relevant, how a franchise can violate them — to appreciate the films. The series thus becomes so much more popular and inviting, which explains its pervasiveness across the wide spectrum of society. Effectively, “Star Wars” is kind of like the cool, popular kid in high school of the science-fiction genre.
Unfortunately, it is because the film series is so cool and popular that the fanbase is a tad bit unbearable. “Star Wars” fans seemingly like to think that they are the bad boys of science-fiction. As previously mentioned, with the lightsabers, blasters and all the Force one could handle, it’s easy for the franchise to simply draw casual fans in without asking them to think too hard. But “Star Wars” fans love to assert dominance over each other and prove they are bigger fans than each other; precisely because one doesn’t need to understand how lightsabers are built or how the Force works to appreciate the films, fans will cram this knowledge into their minds just to prove how much more fanatic they are than the “casual fan” (as if that term had a negative connotation attached to it).
For those who have yet to give it a chance, the “Star Wars” franchise is cool, and it is easy to join the fanbase because of how transcendent the qualities of the film series are. Just try not to be too intimidated by the other longtime fans studying the Jedi archives in hopes of one day mastering the Force. It just comes with the territory.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.