If you’re like many of us, Star Wars has been a huge part of your life for so long, that you can hardly remember your life without it – to the point where if you’re not careful – you might just take it for granted. In 2012 when Disney purchased Lucasfilm from its founder, George Lucas, many fans rejoiced that Star Wars would be given new life, while others lamented what Disney ownership would do to their beloved franchise.
Whether you’re a fan of Disney’s brand of Star Wars or not, there’s no denying that the franchise is bigger than ever, and one of the most amazing things has begun to happen (and it might just be the coolest thing ever)…the Star Wars fan base is growing like its 1977. Today, we bring you a guest article from Noor-Hal Cuellar (who happens to be one of those brand new fans of the franchise) where she discusses how Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars transformed her into a die-hard super-fan virtually overnight.
Cantina members may know her better as PrincessLeiaCB3, an active member on our forum and an occasional guest on our Resistance Broadcast. I hope you find her perspective as refreshing as we do. Happy reading…
First Steps into a Larger World: A Year with Star Wars
(or how I went from zero to die-hard on my knowledge of a galaxy far, far away)
By Noor-Hal Cuellar
“The belonging you seek is not behind you… it is ahead.”
– Maz Kanata (The Force Awakens)
Sometimes I wish I could say, as many other fans do, that Star Wars has been in my life since a long, long time ago. I might be a little jealous when some of my friends and acquaintances reminisce about feelings they had back when they were younger – when they were first introduced to the saga and were immediately hooked.
But the truth is that I have no memories of being a young girl dressing up as Princess Leia, or tirelessly watching the original movies. Sure, I am a geeky girl at heart, but my attention was rather focused towards books, Greek mythology, Aesop’s fables and tales from The Thousand and One Nights, just to mention some.
When the prequels were released, I recall that one of my cousins liked Episode I so much that he wanted to be Anakin Skywalker, and we would play the N64 podracing game together. After watching the movie on VHS later, I can tell you that it didn’t really have much of an impact on me.
I skipped out on Episode II but went to the movies to see Episode III when it was released. It is important to clarify at this point that I had general knowledge of the basics (Darth Vader was the villain who turns out to be the father of the main character, Luke Skywalker; this one is friend of Princess Leia, who turns out to be his twin sister) but that was it. I recall enjoying Revenge of the Sith that day, but in much the same way that I could have enjoyed any other action or superhero movie.
When I became aware of the news about Disney acquiring Lucasfilm and announcing new movies set in that universe, things slowly began to change. All throughout 2015, I knew of the trailers being released by posts from friends in social media, who were quite enthusiastic and eager to watch the upcoming movie in December of the same year.
And yet, I had not even seen the original movies yet. I told my friends that I would do a marathon just to be able to see The Force Awakens in December, but months passed by, and I had no rush on fulfilling my intentions.
Suddenly, Halloween season was approaching fast, and I was looking forward to choosing an appropriate costume to join my friends on the customary pub crawls. Any given day, I could be found browsing for costumes, until that fateful moment after watching the latest trailer for The Force Awakens when I realized that Rey, a brand new character, was a perfect choice for a costume for myself.
I recruited my mother, and we made the costume with pieces of clothing and items I already had. Halloween night was quite a success since there were no other girls dressed as Rey, and I could tell who was a Star Wars fan and who wasn’t based on their reaction to my look (I even recall a drunken guy yelling at me from across the street: “Are you Obi-Wan??”).
But even then, no marathon yet. It was about a month before the premiere of The Force Awakens when I finally got around to watching the three original movies. What I thought would be just an item crossed off a checklist quickly became something that has made a great impact on me. I found I was amazed by the classic movies and could not wait to go and see the new movie myself!
I started looking at as much additional material as I could find from the books, comics, and animated series. I was slightly disappointed for a moment that the old EU stories were not going to be what we would see reflected in the new trilogy. But then I got to read and know more about the new material that was now considered canonical, and I was pumped to keep learning more about the events across the timeline of the movies. And when the movie was released, even with those emotional moments involved, I loved it! I had a similar experience with Rogue One, and am currently looking forward to seeing The Last Jedi (and of course coming up with various theories on how the story might be developed). So far – with what I saw from Star Wars Celebration – the movie looks very promising.
In addition to consuming all the Star Wars material I could find, I found that interacting on social media became a great tool for me to keep learning and discussing all this brand-new Star Wars knowledge I was gaining – especially on Twitter and forums like SWNN’s own “The Cantina”. I have met wonderful fans with different backgrounds and perspectives, and in such a great way they have expanded my own perspective by including common themes that we can find in the Star Wars lore, such as those common from religion, history, mythology and philosophy. Star Wars for me has also been a great influence in developing some of my own areas of creativity, such as writing fan fiction, book reviews, podcasting and drawing fan-art, just to mention a few.
Indeed, a lot of people are surprised that in such a short period, I have become such a die-hard fan. I joke that, same as Rey, it’s like the Force awakened me too! And yet, I have met people that have a variable degree of attachment to Star Wars, but for me – to keep it simple – a fan is a fan. No matter your race, age, height, weight, your tenure as a fan or whatnot. If you’ve been watching it since you were a day old or you just saw your first Star Wars movie a day ago and you felt immediately captivated by the magic of that galaxy far, far away – you belong to this fandom.
In my opinion, that is the beauty of Star Wars: it doesn’t matter your age, gender, race, creed or nationality to be a fan. It doesn’t matter if you only care about the original trilogy or if you enjoy the prequels more; if you love the games or cannot wait to get your hands onto the next comic issue: the beauty of Star Wars is that it binds us all together and allows us to speak the same language – to find common ground.
Timothy Zahn paraphrased a Star Wars movie quote by saying: “Once you start down the Star Wars path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” I guess it does. And I like the sound of that.