It’s not IV you (or Why Star Wars Episode VIII wasn’t as bad as the Internet says)

If all I knew about Star Wars was just in the movies, this pretty much follows along with everything I’ve seen before. A friend of a friend made the point that there was little to no backstory and that we needed to know more of the background on the characters. Let me ask this: did your childhood self know much about Luke in Episode IV? He was poor and lived with his aunt and uncle, and for some reason, the force calls to him. To my point, we know from VII that Rey is poor, lost her family at a young age, and the force calls out to her. In episode IV Han Solo shows up as a somewhat-douchey badass and all we know is he has a cool ship, his best friend is an alien, and he owes the universe’s fattest slug a lot of money. Princess Leia is a princess, and she leads the rebels. Man, that is some history.

I disagree there was more background story in the original trilogy. Maybe there was more character development, and I don’t remember any of it? The characters we knew were developed across three films, and while I love them, I am glad to see this new cast. We need the new blood to keep the old blood honored and appreciated. If you don’t see it that way, I have to ask: would you have gone to see this movie if your old favorites weren’t going to be in it? Why did you anticipate it would have anything to do with a history that exists apart from the films? If you’re mad at Disney for cranking out another set of over the top action films, why did you go see it in the first place? If You really didn’t like 7, why did you think 8 would be any different?

It comes down to the same argument that I have for Pokémon. How old were you when you first encountered this series? How old do you think the true target audience is? You’re at least in your late 20’s if you’re mad enough to have an opinion. Worse, you’re mad the films which brought you into a whole new world of fantasy and sci-fi aren’t growing along side you. This new trilogy was not made for you. Please try to understand with the most compassion possible I mean this: not everything is made for you. It’s made for everyone, and by that I mean you’re supposed to enjoy that there are new people opened up to this series. There are young children getting represented here and being given a hero where previously there weren’t any.

They don’t need your continued interest in the series as much as they need/want new kids and teenagers losing their minds over the series. Your nostalgia factor for IV, V, VI is because those films were introductions for you to a world which you dove into. You went into the stories after witnessing the films. I guarantee you in the next ten years, we will get comics, books, toys and D&D campaigns all revolving around the backstories that people seem to be complaining about. There is not a “HISTORY” to follow because it hasn’t yet been made. There were no comics when episode IV hit theaters. There were no backstories or books to follow, just the films. The comics came long after (they were awesome by the way). Don’t get me wrong, I loved the idea of Dark Empire. To another point, who’s to say it didn’t happen pre-Episode VII and post episode VI? All of our original cast (IV, V, VI) are much older in this film. Even if Dark Empire was thrown away entirely and declared to no longer be cannon, you are actually upset about a thing you enjoy. This is like ordering pizza outside your favorite pizza place, getting mad it didn’t taste the same, and then not wanting to eat pizza at all because of it. These films are not the same, would never be the same, could never be the same, and you’re being irrational if you demand that they would be. The prequel trilogy didn’t focus on the original trilogy, and the old goats that argued against those then, are laughing at you for what you feel now. Do you think you sound more like the excited young child that wanted to know more and fly their own X-Wing or Tie-Fighter? Or do you sound like those old grumps that are mad things changed?

Everything changes. Society changes. Batman, Star Wars, pizza, milkshakes, underwear, bedsheets, times and people change. If you cling to the past for some sort of semblance of familiarity and keeping in tradition, how are you better than those annoying elder relatives at the holidays that never give up on the “way it used to be”? If your counter-argument is anything remotely close to “this is different because….” you’re right. It is. Because this is something where no one owes you anything. It’s just a movie. They made stories and you enjoyed them. At what point did you begin to feel that you deserve control over it? Furthermore, if it means so much to you then why are you being so fickle about it? If you really could do better, by all means, do so! Don’t sit around on the Internet and complain that it wasn’t what you wanted it to be. At that point, you are the old nerd at the comic shop that made you feel like shit as a kid because you didn’t know everything about Spider-Man or Batman and wanted to buy the comics. We’ve all met that person and I sure as shit don’t intend to become them (to each their own; if you’d rather be that person then you go right on ahead).

I love those old stories, but I also understand that my little sister had never seen them before. Rogue One blew her mind and made her so incredibly excited, I could see the joy on her face. I can’t show her a movie from the late 70’s and expect her to be wowed like I was 20 years ago. You can’t show anyone anything from forty years ago and expect them to be as astonished by it as the people of that time were. Regardless of what you might think, the remastering of the originals and the hype for the prequel trilogy is what sucked us into this series. These movies are the gateway for new kids to get into the universe we did. It makes them want more like it made us want more. Don’t be mad that it wasn’t for you, try to be glad that someone else gets to enjoy what you once did. Try to remember that happy little kid in the theater that loosely understood the story and saw laser swords, space planes shooting lasers blowing up a robot planet that kills other planets, aliens upon aliens, and that incredible feeling of “this is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my entire life”. That little kid would be embarrassed of you right now, and I am too. Just try to enjoy it, and if you really can’t then just stop paying for it and don’t go. The world doesn’t need your negativity. If you genuinely didn’t like the film, I’d advise you compare it to the originals and see how you feel. The Internet seems to be overrun with “10 reasons why this movie SUCKED” but I don’t seem to see any of those people writing movies. To quote one of my favorite bands:

“we only came to disappoint you… that’s exactly what you wanted us to do. You want us to lead you on, you want us to bum you out. Then You can build us up, and you can knock us down…. You wanted to feel cheated; I guess we gave you what you needed…. If that’s what gets your d*** hard, telling people they’re bad at making art and feeling just like you’re the one in charge” –Andrew Jackson Jihad

I’ll be taking my sisters to see it again sooner than later. I hope you can all understand I mean this from a place of love and don’t want anyone to feel alienated but it’s time to accept that we aren’t kids. These things aren’t about Us anymore, they’re about the new wave coming into it and showing them how incredible it is to imagine. It’s made for the little boy holding a broomstick at the end, not the aging Jedi on the mountaintop.

WARNING BELOW IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN THE FILMS YOUVE BEEN WARNED.

SPOILERS

You must all have completely missed the moment where Luke tries to save the old way, by the book code of the Jedi. Where Yoda intentionally destroys what Luke held so dear to his heart and showed him; it’s not about rules and code, it’s about heart. Do you want to be the old grump throwing aside lightsabers? Or do you want to show up and be a badass that lets the new crowd run off into a galaxy far far away? I for one would rather leave behind dice and quote the new Wise master; “if you strike me down in anger, you’ll never be rid of me.”

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