So, I’ve been bingeing Star Wars lately. That’s right—I’m a fully grown woman (chronologically speaking) who has spent most of her recent nonworking hours parked in front of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I wasn’t alone in this endeavor. My consummate gal-pal, Katherine, watched it with me.
Katherine is no stranger to the content. She has been through it from start to finish at least three times, maybe more. It was only my first time through seasons 1-3 and second for seasons 4-7. For good measure, we threw in the 2D Micro Series, the original animated movie, and a screening of The Revenge of the Sith--a movie Katherine’s seen about a zillion times. Before now, I only watched it once, about a hundred years ago in the theater.
Generally speaking, a binge like this isn’t that remarkable. I think everyone I know binges something every now and then, even my octogenarian parents. Star Wars, the pop-culture icon that it is, is also pretty unremarkable these days. Thanks to Disney and the regular onslaught of Star Wars advertising, it’s hard to avoid.
Nevertheless, my enchantment with the story remains undiminished. Star Wars has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I saw A New Hope for my 6th birthday and Episodes 5 and 6 as soon as they came out. I know I’m dating myself by this admission, but it’s an unavoidable truth. Over the years, I’ve revisited those movies more times than I’m willing to count, albeit not as often as the kids who stood in line over and over to watch them as many times as possible when they first came out. (If memory serves, the winning number in my modest little Central Florida elementary school was 27, but don’t hold me to it.) Later, I watched the rest of the movies right on schedule. It wasn’t until recently that I threw myself down the proverbial Sarlacc pit into the rest of the story. Still, at this point, I’ve just barely scratched the surface.
On the other hand, Katherine ranks as a general overachiever on the unofficial Star Wars Nerdom Scale. Let’s just say that she knows more than the average Star Wars enthusiast and has spent way too much money on overpriced collectible shit. But she still holds down a day job and hasn’t openly argued with anyone about G-canon vs. N-canon—at least not in writing (that I know of). (As a side note, she was very distraught that I didn’t hang onto the remote-controlled R2-D2 I got for Christmas in 1977. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I gave it away with the original packaging.)
Personally, I prefer to deny ownership of any Star Wars nerd ranking, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep up the façade. I’ve spent too much time on my ass in front of Disney+ this month for anyone to believe me. I’ve also had too many legitimate discussions about things like “continuity issues” and whether “Kathleen Kennedy destroyed the franchise” to pretend that I haven’t earned a nerd rank of at least “ewok wrangler” or something lame like that.
Since the ’70s, the saga of the Jedi and their battles against The Dark Side has been a formative part of my world. It was far more profound than the tedious yarns about Jesus vs. the forces of Evil ever were. (I know that isn’t exactly how I’m supposed to refer to mainstream Religion, but the watered-down Bible quotes that fly from the mouths of all of those mega-church, Gilead-like pod-Christians make it sound about that deep.) Whenever I return to Star Wars, I find something new to ponder. The last time I returned to Christianity, all I got was the Prosperity Gospel, which just seemed like a scam born from the ashes of Jim and Tammy Bakker.
Sometimes, I wonder if the archeologists of the future find the remains of our world, will they know which one was a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Religion and which one was wasn’t? I guess it depends on how well the Disney theme parks weather the ravages of time and how many hordes of perfectly preserved Star Wars merch they dig up. It’s impossible to know for sure. I doubt I’ll be around to see how it all turns out for myself—unless, of course, I figure out how to reconstitute myself after I’ve fully merged with the Force.