Bookstooge & Star Wars: A Tragedy of Shakespearian Proportion

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Last month (or so) Ola and Pio from Re-Enchantment of the World, did a Nostalgia post on Star Wars.  If you haven’t read it and have any love of Star Wars, I highly recommend their post, it was fantastic! It also reminded me that I had been a big fan of Star Wars for a very long time.

I know that now whenever Star Wars is now mentioned I’m pretty negative about it. I don’t keep that a secret, whether it is about the books or new movies. But it wasn’t always that way.

I was born in the late 70’s and by the time Return of the Jedi had come out I was aware enough of Star Wars to know how awesome it was. Of course, that was mainly because a neighbor boy had almost all the toys.  But I became very well versed in the Star Wars lore based on those toys.  As time passed I watched the movies from the library, on vhs.  You might say I was as much a naive farm boy was Luke ever was.

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When the Special Edition vhs editions came out in ’97, I bought them and me and my siblings and some friends had a Star Wars party. I don’t remember what everyone dressed up as, but it was cool. We were pretty cool in fact and we loved Star Wars. Even now, when I don’t have a vhs player or anyway to watch these, I’m not giving them away. They have Memory Value to me, big time.

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After that, I began to devour the Star Wars Extended Universe books. The Thrawn Trilogy was my gateway, like for so many other people and it just went on from there. The EU was really expanding and a new Star Wars book would come out every couple of months it seemed like. Even with the bad ones I felt like I was swimming in gravy. When you’re 19, a year is a long time and anything from a niche cult classic was good.

I bought, played and beat the Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight video game on both Light and Dark paths.

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I bought the boxset of the audio tracks for the original trilogy too.

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Then the prequels came out. I can remember how EXCITED I was for Episode One.  I remember hearing someone say they didn’t think it was that great and I distinctly know the word “blasphemy” sped across my mind. I was convinced it was going to be so great.  On one of our field trips I saw the book in a bookshop and spent some of my very precious cash on it. I sat in the van the rest of the afternoon reading it instead of going on tours and seeing the Washington Monument and other such useless things. Star Wars was more important. Then I watched it with a group of guys at Bibleschool.  I enjoyed it immensely but deep down inside I realized exactly what that person who spoke blasphemy meant. It was not “Great” with a capital “G”.

But it didn’t matter because more and more books were coming out. Prequel books, Clone War era books, then the massive 21 books series collectively known as the New Jedi Order.  More and more and more books. The rest of the prequel movies came out as well and that was when everyone realized Lucas wasn’t the genius behind the original trilogy. We got lucky he didn’t direct them. But I still loved Star Wars.

Star Wars had moved from the Niche Cult Classic into the Main Stream and I was a fan. I watched Star Wars, I read Star Wars, I played Star Wars, I listened to Star Wars.

**STRONG AND PROFANE LANGUAGE. I APOLOGIZE AHEAD OF TIME**

Sadly, the prequels were the first small step onto my journey towards becoming a Non-Fan. When Lucas released the original trilogy on dvd for the first time, he fucked every fan in the ass with no lube, laughed at us and told us to shut the fuck up and ask for more. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please feel free to ask in the comments.

***END STRONG AND PROFANE LANGUAGE***

But the books kept on rolling out. The EU was growing. New characters were trying to emerge. Then the next big hit came. In 2014 the EU was declared Non-Canon. It was unceremoniously chucked out the window to make room for Disney, which Lucas had sold Star Wars to. Star Wars was now a common franchise whore. No longer a precious jewel to be cherished by her fans but a wildly successful money maker. George Lucas knew no shame and Disney never had any.

My hope, while just an ember, was still producing heat. The Force Awakens would surely redeem all these business decisions, right? Then I watched the movie and my final flame of hope flickered out.  Star Wars was now nothing but grey ash that greedy bullies had pissed all over.  A literal lifetime of fandom was dead. The only lesson I learned was to never become too invested in something you don’t control, because some jerk will eventually destroy it. Thus my Journey from Farmboy Jones to Darth Bookstooge was completed. (Man, I’m depressing myself here. Sorry about that.)

There is no happy ending for me here. The best I can do is to try to not rain on other peoples’ blogs when they go on about new Star Wars books and even then I know I’m not successful. See, I told you this was a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.

 

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ps,

My apologies for dragging Ola and Pio’s wonderfully upbeat post into such a sad one.

46 thoughts on “Bookstooge & Star Wars: A Tragedy of Shakespearian Proportion

  1. salonimore1702 says:

    The prequels sucked and the recent films have a lot of plot holes in them. But still, I can’t stop myself from watching every new Star Wars film that comes out. (Except for Solo because only Harrison Ford can play Hans.) There are some good moments but I can’t say I really love the fandom and content as much as I used to. It must really suck though to have grown up WITH Star Wars and slowly start disliking it. It must have felt like a knife to the heart. :-/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was twelve when I saw a commercial on tv in 1977. A young dude was rescuing a princess and swinging her across an open chasm. Real swashbuckling! My mom won tickets on the radio and drove me across town for a special preview showing of the new movie ‘Star Wars’. The music from the film was inescapable and omnipresent throughout society. I was a huge fan until I saw my first Ewok. My enthusiasm has been on a much lower simmer, ever since.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bookstooge says:

      The music is SO iconic isn’t it? Now I want to go listen to the sound tracks 🙂

      I think the ewoks were all lucas. He had a lot more control during Return of the Jedi. They were a preview of things to come, sadly. I’m just glad the previous directors stayed away from stuff like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cary says:

    Are you sure I didn’t write this post? 😅 I, too, was a massive Star Wars fan straight through the Thrawn books and others that came out in the 1990s. And then the prequels pretty much extinguished that flame. I tried very hard to accept them, hoping that maybe their art books and soundtracks would help beef up my enthusiasm, but they did not. I’m happy that the new movies and games have helped rekindle “Star Wars” as far as pop culture goes, and I’m just as happy now to take it all in from the sidelines.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Same for me. I loved the first trilogy as a young boy. Then everything became cringey and shit with the prequels and now I am so sick of all these Disney sequels that I can hardly bear watching them. Everything is ruined by bad storytelling. Some of my friends argue that “dude, it is about magic space wizards, why would you expect logical storytelling?” But that is such a bullshit argument by people who were never fans in the first place.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. bormgans says:

    I stopped watching after the 6th movie. That was so terrible, I lost all hope in those responsible. I don’t get it how some people still love the new ones: apparently plot holes etc don’t matter one bit anymore. Mainstream intelligent entertainment seems dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicole says:

    I’ve never gotten into the Star Wars books, but I still consider myself a fan. I mean, I do pick and choose. For instance, I have seen each of the prequels once, and that is plenty. And I refuse to call “Star Wars” by the name “A New Hope.”

    But I still love the story, the message, and the world. I’ve been to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, and it rekindled my love for the SW Universe. It was like stepping into my memory of the original trilogy.

    However, like you with your VHS copies, I will never be getting rid of my copies of the movies on DVD. They have both the re-release and the original theatrical release on them, so I can watch the movies without Lucas’ added nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hahaha, I read the title and thought you had picked up one of the ‘Shakespeare’s Star Wars’ books😋
    I was 5 when episode 1 came out, so too young to realise the big difference between the two trilogies. My dad made us watch them all tho. He was quite the fan (tho prob not as big as you). Now my brother is a trekkie 😋

    I don’t care too much about the new movies. We watched solo, but only because we were on a 12hr flight home and we watched all the other movies already on our way in…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ola G says:

    One of your more emotional posts! I’m genuinely sorry this is such a heartbreak for you – hope you’ll hold fast to the older, better memories though 🙂
    Not sure there is any hope for SW franchise, because they totally negated the ideas behind the original stuff – movies and books – and now it’s all about money. And you can see that even in the difference between old and new fans – the old movies were a generational experience, the new ones are lame franchise among plenty others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have the special edition videos too. Don’t ever get rid of them, I think that’s the last time the movies were put out in their original form, i.e. without all the crap Lucas changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Darth Bookstooge 😀

    Ah, I feel you… It sucks so much, when a precious & loved franchise ends up a disappointment. That happens when people get to greedy & just chug the label onto everything and sacrifice quality for quantity..

    Cherish those childhood memories! I hope when you look at your VHS box, you will think back about the good times.. and… ignore the bad^^

    I’m not a Star Wars fan. Never read any of the books. I love the original trilogy and think Han Solo is hot, but I didn’t even watch all of the latest movies and forgot everything about the prequels. Probably better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. piotrek says:

    Great (if sad) post! I’m happy we inspired it, less so it made you re-live some hard experiences…

    I do not have much to add beyond what I already said on Re-E, but I think one reason I was relatively immune to the disappointments of Lucas’ meddling was I never really got that far into the EU. Thrawn, sure, a few more books after that, but I moved more towards fantasy in my late teens.

    My solution to the wider problem of being a fan of copyrighted franchise – have a personal head-canon they cannot touch 😉 I have episodes IV-VI in mine, Zahn’s trilogy, KotOR games, possibly also Rogue One.

    Oh, Star Wars Rebel is also pretty cool, but I’ve only seen parts, maybe one day I’ll see all with my nieces, but they need to wait a year or two…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I just kept waiting for Star Wars to be as inspiring as the original trilogy. A couple of the EU books came really close and even introduced cool new possible characters (Coran Horn anyone?). But the whole thing never seemed to get more than 3-4 feet off the ground and I was looking to fly to the heights again.

      Head Canon just doesn’t work for me. What is declared “canon” IS canon, even if I hate it.

      Overall, this was cathartic to write it al out from beginning to end. Much like re-breaking a badly healed bone, I’m hoping I can now heal straight and just move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved episodes four, five and six. When the Phantom Menace came out I liked it other than two things-that bloody Jar Jar who was insanely annoying and pointless and the casting of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. As for Anakin in the next two films, he had the screen prescence of an oar and I really disliked both films. I can’t bring myself to watch the new ones yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Since I was already a grownup when the first movie came out, I missed out on all the… soul-bonding that the younger generations felt for this story, even though I enjoyed it for it delightful mix of adventure and fun. And those first three movies are what I think about when I hear the words “Star Wars” (well, if I can conveniently forget the Ewoks…). The second trilogy always felt like a lot of colorful smoke with no substance, and the jury is still out on the recent movies. Which maybe shows that you cannot replicate a huge success…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I wonder if the whole bonding thing was age related. If so, I’m thankful I was at the right age at the right time at the right place 😀

      As much as it sucks to watch something I love be destroyed from within, I’d not give up everything that came before.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ola and Piotrek’s post was fantastic! But I really relate to your thoughts on star wars- although I came to it much later and my first experience (the prequels) was not so positive. The worst thing though is what Disney has done with the franchise- I think it’s hard to not see it as a tragedy for every fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Lucas might have gone off the rails with the prequels but everyone still thought there was a chance it could be redeemed. Disney has made sure to poison that well 😦
      And thrown in a couple of corpses for good measure…

      Like

  15. savageddt says:

    Never till this day seen the prequals… I have Warhammer to thank for that. Milou and I will still watch the movies when they happen to be free somewhere, but I have no interest after Force Awakened anymore. Itt is sad that the nostalgic first three movies has evolved into the shit it is today. I for one am glad that you went on a profanity rant, that makes me feel the anger and honesty that you put into this post. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  16. […] Reading (which I liked doing and I might try to do those a bit more often) and the other was the Fall from Grace about Star Wars and Bookstooge. A truly masterful yet tragically poignant […]

    Like

  17. It’s a bit sad that so much passion and love for a franchise slowly… and then quickly… died. I wasn’t in the bandwagon when the movies came out or during my teenage days and only went through the whole franchise 2-4 years ago and got caught up in it all. I can’t say the franchise stands the test of time for someone of my generation who has seen a lot of movies and know what we’re capable of doing both in terms of storytelling and cinematography today but I do appreciate the whole legacy behind the franchise and what it did for so many fans and the genre. Great and tragic story you shared here. I wonder if you could ever rekindle that love for SW in the near future… Hmm… No, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

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