Dear Entertainment Weekly,
So you think, based upon the sage advice of notorious prequel-basher Simon Pegg, that it’s “cool to like Star Wars again.” Unlike the mindless pop culture zombies who slavishly follow wherever you lead them, I don’t need anyone’s permission to be a Star Wars fan.
You see, I’ve been a fan 35 years, longer than most of your staff or readers have been alive. I’ve stuck with it through thick and through thin. Do you know when it was really uncool to be a Star Wars fan? Try 1985-1990. Marvel shut down its Star Wars title after writers couldn’t come up with anything more than fat green people menacing the galaxy. The original Star Wars fan club shuttered in 1987, just in time to celebrate A New Hope’s 10th anniversary. Kenner stopped making Star Wars toys. The first attempts at producing an animated t.v. series were gone by the time I started my senior year in high school. It seemed like by then Star Wars had fallen off of the cultural map.
Oh sure, by that time Harrison Ford was the biggest star in Hollywood, but he didn’t want to talk about those movies (still doesn’t). Yes we got the first launch of Star Tours, but that was at only one Disney park. Certainly, there was a 10th anniversary convention in Los Angeles in 1987 but it was far smaller in scale than any of the Celebrations of the past 13 years (and I didn’t go).
Nobody knew for sure if or when Star Wars was ever coming back. The first trilogy was over and remaining fans went underground, and with the exception of a small circle of zine publishers and fan fic writers, had to endure it alone. Read Steve Sansweet’s 1992 book “From Concept To Screen To Collectible.” He talks about how memorabilia and toy shows refused to let dealers sell Star Wars stuff in the late ‘80s. The 1990 edition of Dale Pollock’s “Skywalking,” a George Lucas biography, called Star Wars a ‘70s fad. Meet any other fannish types prior to 1991 and their usual reaction to your Star Wars fandom was, “Why are you still into that?”
By the way, 95% of those old fanboys who claimed they worshipped the holy trilogy back in the day abandoned it the second they got old enough for chicks and cars. Trufax, as your young readers might say.
There always were whispers of interest in the saga, people asking me if I knew anything (“sure, I’ll ask George the next time I see him”) but those were regular people. Not the precursors to today’s professional geeks. The media and Hollywood didn’t give a womprat’s butt about Star Wars. I certainly don’t recall very much about it in the early days of your publication.
When I started my fanzine in 1993, the letters I got from readers were like confessionals at an AA meeting. People were just coming to terms with the fact they still loved the Star Wars films. Over the next four years though, everything changed. The Star Wars bandwagon got rolling again.
But I’m guessing, given the media’s often short memory, the Era of Uncoolness you’re describing began in 1997 and if not with the Special Editions, then definitely with The Phantom Menace.
Guess what? This old school Star Wars fan embraced the Special Editions and the prequels. Just as I didn’t abandon Star Wars when it wasn’t cool in the mid ‘80s, I didn’t abandon it when you guys and your followers turned on it years later. Remember the Clone Wars movie? You people graded it with an “F.” I enjoyed it and saw the show’s potential right away. But four years later the show’s a hit, so it’s “cool” to like it now.
Whatever, EW. You don’t speak for me and you aren’t the arbiters of “cool.”
Tags: darth media