Will Episode 7 Give New Hope To Fans?
By Tahlia Merrill Kirk
As everyone knows, Star Wars: Episode 7 is fast approaching. On December 18, fans will rush to theaters to see which was more justified: their hopes or their fears.
My prediction is that the fans’ reaction will be similar to How It Should Have Ended’s “Five Stages of Watching a Marvel Movie”.
But for now, all we have is a teaser and a trailer. Both have proven that J.J. Abrams is a master tightrope walker. Considering that SW fans are notoriously protective of the franchise, it’s nothing sheer of a miracle that their reaction to J.J. Abrams’ work thus far has averaged in the cautiously optimistic zone. Sure, the first teaser caused some excited controversy over the villain’s crossguard lightsaber, but let’s get real—none of the scoffers are writing off the movie based on that technicality.
The second, longer, trailer is all about the nostalgia. From Luke’s voiceover to Han’s “Chewie, we’re home” line, Abrams hit all the right notes. The trailer may tell us almost nothing about the movie’s plot, but it’s gotten the internet pumped. Making these movies has been a balancing act that Abrams is nailing every step of the way. If he keeps this up, he could breathe new life into the saga and win the typically fickle hearts of the fandom.
Well, the hearts of most fans, at least. Personally, while I have no problem with the trailers, I am far from excitedly hyperventilating. The truth is: I feel betrayed. I haven’t wanted to talk about it—I don’t want to be one of those angry complaining Star Wars fans who still can’t shut up about how terrible the prequels are. For the most part, I’ve tried to adopt a “wait and see” attitude about Ep. 7, because I do think it has potential. And yet…
I’m 26, so my journey with Star Wars began when the Special Editions in the 90s. While most Star Wars fans first fell in love with Lucas’ galaxy by watching the movies, my path was different. My parents were very strict about what movies I could watch, so while the characters intrigued me, my first time seeing SW in theaters wouldn’t be until Ep. 2 came out when I was a teenager (yes, feel sorry for me, lol). But that didn’t stop me from being a fan. At age seven, I used our old dial-up internet to search for every pictures, sound clip, character bio, and the occasional precious video clip. Every time I spotted a magazine with a SW article, I would read it in the grocery store aisle. I knew the name of every actor, owned every action figure, and subscribed to Star Wars Galaxy (the magazine now known as Star Wars Insider). Most importantly, though, I discovered the books and my love affair with the SW Expanded Universe began (abbreviated EU).
(Picture of me and my first Princess Leia doll)
For me, Lucas may be SW’s original creator, but expanded universe authors are the keepers of the flame. A shoutout especially to Timothy Zahn, who has spent 24 years nurturing some of the most foundational books in the EU. For me, it is an indisputable fact that Jaina and Jacen are Han and Leia’s children. I grew up loving them just as much as I loved Luke or Chewie. Heck, Mara Jade and Thrawn even have their own action figures! The EU is why I’m so grateful the prequels were filmed, because they opened doors for stories about Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan/Darth Maul/etc. and trust me, those books definitely don’t suck.
So when I heard that everything in the EU was going to be scrapped for this new movie, my soul ached for the loss. I completely understand why they made the choice–the actors are too old and there are many complicated and sometimes conflicting elements to the EU. However, I’ll never stop grieving that this long and painstakingly created history has been dismissed so quickly. Plenty of hardcore fans have never read the books, so I understand that my feelings may not be shared by others. But for me, it’s an end of an era that can never be replaced in my heart. Plus, my dream of someday taking over for Leland Chee as Keeper of the Holocron kind of dead now.
On a happier note, now that the EU canon is officially closed, maybe I have a hope of catching up on all the books I missed reading when I went to college.