Breaking Up With Star Wars Is Hard To Do
Star Wars: A New Hope came out the year before I was born, and I can say without a hint of hyperbole that I was raised on Star Wars. Although I didn’t own all the action figures, I can certainly say it wasn’t for a lack of trying, and I honestly believe fashioning my own stories out of these toys in my fledgling form of fan fiction is what inspired me to be a writer today. There was a summer in middle school, I know for a fact I watched one of the original trilogies (plus the forgotten Ewok Adventures) every day. I knew them by heart so well, I could leave for the bathroom quoting it and return still synced with the dialogue. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say Star Wars is pretty seminal in my life, and it was a point of pride that I have seen every single Star Wars film on the big screen.
Until The Last Jedi that is.
Some might argue that my recent hardship might have something to do with this, but I assure you that it was a matter of choice. Because, and as hard as this is for me to admit, Star Wars and I have been in a bit of an abusive relationship for 20 years now.
Yes, our relationship started off exquisitely. There were sparks at our very first glance; electricity at every encounter. Hell, she was my first love, and I will judge all subsequent relationships by her now. She is still my beloved yardstick, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Sure, there were some things about her that rubbed some people wrong. Her story was a little basic, and early dialogue wooden enough to build several ships, plus, you know, those Ewok Adventures (and Christmas Special!). And her desire to monetize every single inch of herself might be construed as cheap by some, but I knew she had a heart of gold deep down and forgave these few foibles.
But somewhere along the way she changed and we started to drift apart after she started taking advantage of me. I’d say this was around the mid-90s when I went back to theaters to behold her in all her glory, only to notice she had some work done. I thought her plastic surgery was completely unnecessary and gave her a new, unnatural appearance, but when I brought it up she assured me that all the problems were me and not her. Like that woman surgically transforming herself into Barbie, she swore this was what she was always meant to be from the get-go.
Then around the prequels she starting hanging around with a bunch of new friends I never really cared about (Anakin, Darth Maul) and others I just plain couldn’t stand (Jar-Jar and Princes Amad… hell, I can’t remember how to spell her name or care enough to look it up). I wanted to respect her decisions, and begged her to slum with her new friends on her own time while we relived our glory years. But she assured me that these new friends meant just as much as our treasured years, and if I was to ever be with her again I would have to accept them into my life as well.
And, what’s more, I would have to keep paying her for the privilege to be insulted by her new friends’ presence because of my nostalgic bond with the beauty she had once been. They were cannon now, she decreed, her spittle flecking my face.
It was then that the scales fell from my eyes and I realized she had slowly transformed into someone I just couldn’t stand. And I said no more. We’re through.
Mind you, this moment of clarity came around 3 am after a midnight booty call/ showing of Revenge of the Sith (which I did go look up to remember the title to) opening night in the parking lot. This is what a lot of therapists will call “rock bottom,” but even still stinging from our break up, I felt good. Free.
And I stuck by this new Star Wars sobriety for quite a few years until 2015, but that siren ultimately called me back by telling me she had changed in The Force Awakens. I had heard rumors swirling that she had gotten back into shape with her new personal trainer JJ Abrams over at the Disney gym by shedding 220 pounds of excess Lucas, and I have to admit, she looked damn good again.
So we went out on our first first-date in ten years, and I’m not going to lie, when “Long time ago…” crawled across the screen there was that same spark again. I was suddenly a young boy once more remembering why I loved her in the first place.
Then she belted me in the face when Kylo Ren’s ship landed in the first scene and I realized all her changes were only skin deep. By the end of the night I left the theater used, bruised, and abused. And she had the audacity to demand $12 plus popcorn for such mistreatment.
I’m okay, I swore to myself. This was just a single slip up and there’s no reason I’ll ever fall into this trap again.
Then Rogue One came out and I found myself $12 poorer (plus popcorn!) yet again. No, it wasn’t as egregiously bad as The Force Awakens. Hell, it was good enough that it could have been a very special episode of Rebels, which has had some pretty awesome season finales. Which is to say, Rogue One wasn’t actually all that impressive. It just failed to trip and crap itself right out the gate like the last four movies had, so we called it good.
But it wasn’t good. It just wasn’t bad. Instead of the physical and emotional abuse Star Wars heaped upon me over the last 20 years, she expected me to just accept her back into my life in the semblance of some passionless midlife marriage where we wait out our shared impending end hoping the other dies off first and early enough to allow us at least some fun at the old folks’ home our kids ship us off to.
Well, I say no more. No more abuse; no more insipid and passionless Cialis-esque relationship. I’m through with Star Wars once and for all.
Except for Rebels, of course. That show is still pretty dope.