Fan Scars

Being a fan is tough work. I’ve recently come into a bit of distress after the most recent Star Wars celebration. We had game announcements, show announcements, and of course the Rise of Skywalker trailer. Honestly, it should be a great time to be a Star Wars fan. Star Wars fans should be ecstatic for all the goodies to come.

Honestly, I’m not.

I am absolutely huge on Star Wars. Am I the most knowledgeable fan? No, probably not with a fanship so incredibly dedicated and wonderfully passionate. I’ve reached beyond the movies, sure, reading a handful of the novels and the old Dark Horse comics. But there are corners I still haven’t touched, and I’m behind on the extended stuff to be honest, having not read any of the new novels. Regardless, I have grown into this universe, and I was first in line on the hype train when Disney took over and promised so many new things.

However, the result is that I am just finding it increasingly hard to be excited for Star Wars things. The new movies, Rogue One excluded, have left much to be desired, Battlefront II was overall a debacle and just didn’t really keep my interest overall. Multiple interesting sounding projects were cancelled, the TV shows we’ve receive have been weaker on the narrative front (with definite moments of success) and overall it just feels like the same stories and same fan-service is being shoveled out again and again and again.

Now, I’m not, by any means, trying to have one of those supervillain-esque “I’m not a fan of this and that makes me stronger than you” kind of troll rants. Nor am I trying to add to the myriad of “the new movies are butts” discourse found all over the internet. Far from it, to be honest.

What’s bothering me is how much I truly want to be excited about this stuff.

As I mentioned, TONS of stuff go announced and teased and whatnot this past weekend at Celebration, and it’s all really exciting stuff for the fans. Everyone’s excitement seems to exist in a range between utterly stoked and nearly dying from hype overdose. Meanwhile, I’m just wishing I could feel a fraction of that excitement.

The new movies just haven’t been doing it for me, and I movie that potentially either a) retcons the entire movie before it or b) kind of just feeds us the same stuff we’ve seen already just doesn’t rev the engines. Jedi: Fallen Order generally just looks boring. Personally, I think stories focused on Jedi achieved against the odds are less than stellar. Like, of course they achieve. They live in a galaxy where people are essentially flying around in diesel fueled rust cakes and firing lasers out of guns that jam and misfire on the regular. Each world, with few exceptions, is the equivalent of a third world country in at least the majority of its surface or has such a bizarre and strict culture that it is practically a medieval church state. Meanwhile, the Jedi are literal space wizards, flopping around and ripping things out of the air with their minds. I would hope they can survive their factory job or whatever they do in exile. I get that the Jedi are the focus of the main movies, but that’s with the addition of a planet killing space station, a budding rebellion and a series of bonkers prophecies at stake. It’s much more than just “one Jedi achieves things.” The original trilogy is “one man learns his birthright and struggles against the odds to gain the power to set things right.” The prequels are “one man struggles in the face of corruption and hatred to control the growing power inside.” The sequels are”um….. we should have talked about this first, huh?” So they’re much more than just “Jedi has hard life, overcomes,” and I just don’t have faith that generic white wizard’s story is gonna be much different.

There’s also a Vader VR game. Which. What?

Mandalorian looks pretty sweet though.

So the thing isn’t my disdain. Nor am I actually angry that Star Wars isn’t making things for me. I’m actually adamantly against that type of fan: the toxic fans that get physically angry when they disagree with something that is made or happens in their chosen fanship.

Honestly, I’m just lonely. I’d love to be able to discuss my feelings with someone who feels the same as I do, but I honestly only know a handful. I’d love to read articles of people who are less than excited about the new Star Wars stuff coming, but I can’t seem to find them. I feel trapped in this isolated zone, and it causes me a ton of distressful anxiety. Am I just not getting it? Am I a bad fan? Do I even deserve to call myself a fan?

Am I the only one not stoked for these things?

It can be horribly distressing when something you love suddenly feels too different to accept. It’s like a break-up with two people just drifting apart. I can understand, to an extent, why people get so upset and angry, though that’s just a nonsense way to react.

The thing I remind myself (and that I tell toxic fans) is that I will always have the aspects of my fanship that I know I enjoy. The original trilogy will never be taken from me. Clone Wars (Both Genndy and Filoni) will always be what it was for me. The four years I spent running Edge of the Empire will always be in my memory. Shadows of the Empire will always have taken up the portion of my childhood it did, as will the original Star Wars SNES games, Galactic Battlegrounds and Knights of the Old Repubilc. The things that made me a fan will always be things I can be safe in. Things that can make me comfortable. The important thing to remember is that you DON’T have to like every single element of you fandom to be a good fan. Just like how you don’t have to actively indulge every tier of the fandom or know every bit of trivia. You can be a Dr. Who fan by watching just one or two Doctors. You can be a Harry Potter fan off just the books or just the movies or even just the Universal Studios themepark. Nobody gets to decide who is and isn’t a “real” fan, because once we do that we taint what it means to be a fan of the thing we love: a community of fans all enjoying the same art and movies and characters and narratives and universes.

Still, it can feel really bleak and lonely when your fandom appears to be moving away from you. Again, nobody can take away the things that made you a fan to begin with, but it’s like being stuck in your room doing homework and looking out the window to see all your friends playing in the street. Why can’t I have fun like them?

I think this causes a lot of people to fake excitement, to be honest. Like maybe if I just constantly wear the hat of hype, It’ll eventually feel natural. It just doesn’t work that way, and I feel like if you approach it that way, you’re more likely to crash and burn with your fandom than if you just accept that not everything is going to hit.

Star Wars is not the first time I’ve felt this way, either. I am a HUGE Resident Evil fan, having played all the games except Code Veronica (not for any particular reason, just never had a chance). However, I just could NOT get into Resident Evil 7, but the entire universe absolutely LOVED that game. Don’t get me wrong, I get why. It was wonderfully spooky and stressful. I just didn’t really find it fun. I actually traded it in same day and got Outlast 2 instead. Definite upgrade.

So I’m used to being on this island of dislike. Here I am again, wondering what’s wrong with me. Trying to figure out what I’m missing. It’s like staring at a coded message and trying to logic out the cipher. Nothing makes sense, but the key seems to be so close.

There’s not really any advice here, more just me bitching about wanting to be able to bond with fellow fans and enjoy what they enjoy. I guess, in addition to remembering what made you a fan to begin with and not faking hype, I’d say one last important thing to remember is that you might not necessarily be alone. If you don’t see any negative articles, it’s probably because negative articles tend to a) be biased and thus saved for editorials and b) catch a lot of flak. If the people around you are constantly talking about what they enjoy, don’t be afraid to have discussions with them where you freely express what you dislike. Don’t be a dick about it, obviously, and don’t try to change their mind. Just have a friendly discussion. Who knows, one of them might be one of the people faking their hype.

Anywho, I really hope Endgame is all it’s cracked up to be.

~ C

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