A week ago Thursday was a big day for me. Oh, sure, there was that whole eye-surgery thing, but there was also the little matter of the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (You didn’t think I was going to let that pass without mention, did you?) Seriously, the timing couldn’t have been better, as the trailer hit the InterWebs at just about the very moment when my anxiety over having my corneas sliced open with frickin’ laserbeams was hitting its peak. But you know what? Two-and-a-half minutes in that galaxy far, far away proved to be quite a wonderful stress reliever: I laughed, I cried, I even beat my fists on my desktop in a paroxysm of sheer glee. Yes, it remains to be seen whether the actual movie will be any good, but as far as the trailer goes… let’s just say Han and Chewie weren’t the only ones who felt like they’d come home.
But that warm afterglow never lasts long here in the 21st century, does it? Especially when it comes to anything Star Wars. My vision was still hazy the day after my surgery when I ran across this sour little turd-in-the-punchbowl in an online discussion of the new trailer:
If JJ Abrams wants to give Star Wars fans a complete nerdgasm, one brief shot of a grave marked “Jar Jar Binks” would cause the theater to erupt in several minutes of applause.
Really? We’re still bitching about Jar Jar Binks? The Phantom Menace was released sixteen years ago, in 1999. Let me repeat that slowly and loudly for anyone who’s not paying attention: Six. Teen.Years. Hell, it’s been a decade since Revenge of the Sith. An entire generation of kids of has grown up with the prequels and are having kids of their own (at least here in Utah). But the disgruntled fanboys are still whinging about about the prequels in general and particularly about poor old Jar Jar Binks.
You know, I’d lately been thinking that all the rage and snottiness that sucked the fun out of being a Star Wars fan over the past two decades was on the wane. I was naive enough to imagine that the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney and George Lucas retiring might finally quiet the howling echoes of the Great Disappointment, and that The Force Awakens would mark the beginning of a new era. But as Jack Nicholson memorably said in the final scene of The Two Jakes, it just never goes away.
I wish the hell it would, because it’s gotten really boring, people. The Force Awakens opens in a mere eight months, and I’m sure it will be filled with all sorts of new things for fans to bitch about. (I can hardly wait. And yes, that’s sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.) In the meantime, though, can we please just stop talking about the prequels and frickin’ Jar Jar Binks?
Incidentally, you do realize there are people who actually like the prequels, right? Or at least don’t think they’re all that bad? There’s far from a mass cultural consensus on them, even though it often seems that way. And a lot of those folks I mentioned who grew up on them downright love them. Shockingly enough, they have a different perspective than their elders and they are every bit as passionate about their own opinions. And there even some elder Star Wars fans who are cool with the prequels too… our colleague Jaquandor, for example. You won’t find a more eloquent defender of them, or of the franchise in general. But no matter. I don’t want to open this can of worms again. I know I’m taking a risk of that merely by posting this plea, but I’m so damn tired of all the bile. I really want to enjoy being a fan of this thing again without all the constant bickering. Somebody, please just make it stop…