Written by Kennedi “Nedi” Perez
Last year around this time, the fandom world was reeling from Rian Johnson’s work on his most well-known film to date, The Last Jedi.
The film was for some, a breath of fresh air. For others, it was a stench that they couldn’t find enough air freshener to get rid of. This past year of 2018 has been a trying time in our Star Wars community. From big name Podcasters being blasted off into oblivion (rightfully so) to in-fandom disputes, the Star Wars fan base has taken many hits this past year.
However, as we look toward the future, facing down yet another year, it’s definitely worth noting that our fandom has experienced an amazingly positive reaction as well. New voices are being heard from every corner of our fandom. New faces are being seen on our screens as we grow to love new characters, such as the ones from earlier this year in Solo: A Star Wars Story, or more recent content, such as characters from the new animated TV show, Resistance.
Star Wars resonates with those from all walks of life. Whether you’re an Original Trilogy Pioneer or awakened with the force back in 2015, you are valid. Kids growing up now with Resistance; you are valid. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in this fandom or how much merchandise you do or don’t have. Star Wars welcomes you with open arms. We might disagree sometimes on story points or preferred films, but that’s what families do. We disagree. If we all agreed on everything, wouldn’t the world be a boring place? Discussions with differences of opinion can happen without it turning into a nasty fight if we remember the person we’re speaking to, whether it be face to face or online, is a person too.
Here at the tipping point, as I write just as we begin a new year, I feel as if we need to be reminded that we’re in this together. Whether or not you liked The Last Jedi doesn’t make you more or less of a human. It’s how you choose to treat those who believe the opposite of what you do that matters. Fandom is a space for fun. For everyone to talk excitedly about the newest trailer that dropped, their favorite romantic pairings, or music scores. There will be disagreements. That is tolerable, so long as we are civil to one another and remind ourselves, that though these stories mean so much to us, they are still fiction.
At the verge of beginning a new year, we are reminded how far we’ve come as a fandom. 41 years is an outstanding accomplishment. Our fandom has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. During the past Christmas holiday season, I was reminded by young kids I seen in stores, excitedly holding Han Solo’s blaster or clutching a Kylo Ren action figure to their chest, it’s not about us. These kids, growing up with these new stories will be shaped by their own experiences in fiction. Most of them don’t see all the arguing and bickering online. They form their own ideas. They take their own journey into the Star Wars universe.
This is their time.
We survived the wait for eight, and now, as we pine for nine with a little less than one year to go, take some time to reflect on your own journey. Cuddle up by the fire with some cocoa or snuggle with your cats. If you have kids, take some time with them. Think back on all the positive things that have come out of your experiences in fandom. During the winter break, open that comic everyone’s been talking about, or give that movie you didn’t like the first time one more try. Share your fandom stories with your kids or friends.
Relax, take in, and share the amazing Star Wars content we have. And remember; Star Wars is for everyone.