Musings on May the 4th and the state of Star Wars fandom
I overslept. I mean to write this earlier this morning. It’s been that sort of year so far. This morning I got a box of items through the mail that was ripped open and half the stuff was missing. It was Star Wars-related, so that made it a bit worse. Volcanoes are erupting and every time I hear that *bing bing* news alert noise on my phone, my stomach drops. Something awful probably happened. In the rare case that it’s good news, I run to find my friends and show them like I found a pearl in an oyster. “You guys, a bear learned sign language! A cat was reunited with her owners after three years! Someone smiled at someone else in the checkout line!” Who cares if it’s a story about a cat? Anything that brings hope and a smile these days is a good thing. Star Wars still does that for me. (For the record, what was stolen was Star Wars stuff that was going to a children’s charity, so maybe you can understand the grumpiness.)
It’s May the 4th today. It’s the anniversary of Legion of Leia. It’s been a rough road to get here, but here we are. Not that long ago, I thought the Star Wars saga was done. It was a fandom I loved and that I was known for. “Oh, Jenna loves Star Wars. Go ask her anything about it!” It was my everything. It still is. I thought our time was done and that my niece and nephew might look at this thing that I loved and relegate it to a cool old movie. Instead, we’re now seen three new films and we have more on the way. My nephew (who is 5-years-old) talks about Star Wars all the time. We Skyped the other day and he noticed a pic of Princess Leia in the background of our call. My niece has all the Forces of Destiny figures. There are Star Wars shirts in Target now. No one blinks when I wear a Star Wars shirt, shoes, purse and backpack. (What? I have a lot of them. I sometimes don’t realize I’ve put more than one of them on. Coco Chanel would be horrified.) One of the first things Jeff and I bonded over was Star Wars, and we had no idea it was coming back.
Like many of you, I sometimes grouch and grimace about Star Wars overkill. I wonder about choices that were made, how many films are on the way, who is directing them and whether or not Kylo Ren is too emo. But this morning, as I looked at the box of Star Wars toys that was ripped open, I realized something. Someone wanted these. Someone cared enough about Star Wars to steal toys, either from the post office or from my locked building. Someone wanted to be a part of this fandom. I don’t have to explain my love of the films, books, comics, etc. Not anymore. The thing I love and have always loved isn’t just a part of history anymore. It’s back to being an ongoing part of the culture. Who cares if there are too many films? Who cares of one or five of them aren’t good? (For the record, I’ve loved all the new stuff.) I get to watch the struggle between good and evil. I get to make lightsaber noises and people know what I’m doing. The fandom I love lives on. That matters more than any debate (which I’m sure I’ll continue to take part in). That matters more than anything. You know what? Whomever took those toys are fans, too, even if they kind of suck. I’m happy that this fandom is still going strong. I’m happy that General Leia is still part of the conversation. I’m happy about the Porg on my desk, the Leia picture behind it and that Solo is coming out right near my birthday.
So let me wish you all a happy Star Wars Day. Let’s find hope where we can, and believe that even a kid on a backwater planet can save the universe. May the 4th be with you, always.