I’ve abandoned “Star Wars” and it feels like a bad breakup.
There are things we all go through that take our once-cherished beliefs and beat them to death in a dark alley. Things like briefly seeing the world from a Flat-Earther’s perspective, realizing some religious holidays aren’t what TV specials always led us to believe, and discovering woolly mammoths were still alive when the pyramids at Giza were already 1,000 years old.
I also once believed “Star Wars” was the greatest movie franchise of all time.
When “Star Wars” hit theaters on May 25, 1977, I was a week away from my 12th birthday and a massive “Star Trek” fan (we can be both, folks). Don’t think I didn’t drive my parents crazy until somebody took me to the theater to see this space extravaganza.
The American Film Institute ranks the original “Star Wars” the 13th greatest movie ever, “May the Force be with you” the eighth best all-time movie quote, and Han Solo the 14th greatest movie hero.
I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” three years later and drove myself and a few fellow geeks to see “Return of the Jedi” three years after that.
I later suffered through creator George Lucas reissuing the original trilogy with small, but painful changes, Lucas giving us a prequel trilogy that looked good, but felt more like a money-grab than a story, and finally Lucas selling the franchise to the Walt Disney Corporation for $4.05 billion.
Disney. That’s just the kind of company that would employ Darth Vader.
But Disney gave me hope. Not a New Hope. I wish.
What old school “Star Wars” fans got was a mediocre “The Force Awakens” (by J.J. Abrams, the man who reinvigorated the “Star Trek” franchise, and thank you for that), an outstanding “Rogue One” the studio apparently had little faith in (it felt like an original trilogy movie. Come on, Disney. Cater to your base), and “The Last Jedi” that did everything opposite of what “Star Wars” fans my age wanted to see.
That was it. That’s the moment I understood I was no longer the target audience. “Star Wars” had passed me by. When I saw the trailer for the upcoming “Solo: A Star Wars Story” I came to a decision I never imagined – for the first time ever I was not going to see a “Star Wars” movie in the theater.
The trouble with trying to please old fans and new fans at the same time, the trouble with telling new stories with old characters, the trouble with those old characters being portrayed by new people is – you have to provide something every fan will enjoy.
The new “Star Trek” did that. The new “Star Wars” has not.
This is my life-changing moment. I’m finished with “Star Wars,” even though it’s been a part of my life for 41 years. To quote Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell from “Star Trek,” “I've been contemplating the death of an old friend.”
Good-bye, “Star Wars.” You know, I guess I’ve always been more of a “Star Trek” fan anyway.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.