Star Wars Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a harsh mistress. I had thought of using that sentence as a title in some way, but I think it might be too melancholy. And I don’t know if that is the feeling I am going for right now.
So, let’s get some cards on the table right now. I love Star Wars. Yes, I admit it, I’ve been a fan since I saw the first movie in the theater back in 1977. I was 5 and I still remember it. I can’t remember how many times I saw it in the theater, but I did see it. Probably at least 2 or 3 times. We went to quite a few movies when I was growing up and since vcrs weren’t all the rage yet and not everything made it to tv, if you wanted to see a movie more than once you had to go to the theater more. And I have always loved seeing movies in the theater because of this. But I digress…
With that said, you might be thinking that I would be a shoe in for the new Disney movies. And you would be wrong on that assumption. The last one I saw in the theater was The Force Awakens. I saw it once. I also almost walked out of the theater. The only thing that had stopped me was my kids were there with me and it would have been weird for me to leave before it finished. I have no interest in seeing the latest one.
Without going into any of the wars about how great you might think these new stories are or how horrible you might think they are or even your opinions of me as a person one way or another, I have a simple thought to share here. I realized these movies are not for me. I happily pass on the torch to the next generation of fans that might find enjoyment in them. And if you are a fan, more power to you. But these movies really just aren’t for me. I have made peace with that.
Which brings me to the real thoughts of the day. See, within some other boards and such I have been brought into a world of Star Wars nostalgia. The basic thought was, did you honestly think Luke would turn to the dark side. No this isn’t a question for the new movies. Instead it was a look at Return of the Jedi. Was there any thought that he might have turned? Could he have given into his hate and turned?
And the thing of it is, at one time after that movie, he did. The storyline came about at a time when I wasn’t deep into stuff like this. I had slipped away from most things because of work and life for a good portion of the 90s. I honestly missed quite a bit of Sci Fi culture during that time (for the longest time I held the belief that Worf’s wife had died, only to find out later watching through TNG that she had lived. Yeah, I am a fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars. Unicorns do exist).
Anyway, even though I hadn’t read a lot I knew that Luke had turned because of games. There was a source book for the original Star Wars role playing game for the Dark Empire series from Dark Horse comics. The Emperor had lived his life as a clone and hopping from clone to clone when the dark side ravaged the current body. And in that story line, Luke had seen into the future of the force and submitted to the dark side. Even though I knew off hand about this story line, I hadn’t read it. At least, not till recently.
I ripped through the stories. They aren’t great. They are more a product of the writing at the time. Looking at them and judging them by today’s standards isn’t fair to the stories. We were starved for Star Wars during the dark times (the years after Return of the Jedi and before Episode 1. The remastered versions of the original trilogy do not count). It was during the dark times that a huge amount of the lore for the stories were born. So much writing for the “Expanded Universe” (A Disney term for stuff they couldn’t find a way to market, so they scrapped it all except to raid its bones for story fodder).
I have been digging through the comics for stories about Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Prince Xisor, and Grand Admiral Thrawn. These are the stories that were made for me and the worlds I inhabit still. This was back in a time when though he was whiney, Luke was a hero and worked past his failures.
Which brings us back to more thoughts of the nostalgia of the moment. I still have an original Star Wars Roleplaying Game book, the first edition from West End Games back in 1987. It was a time when we were making our own stories in the Star Wars universe because you never knew when you might get something new to add to the mythology. It isn’t just the world of Star Wars that has changed. But our world has changed as well.
See, I was able to find those old comics with just a simple search through a website (a couple of them actually. The first was the library for physical copies and then the second was Comixology for the digital copies which I prefer to read anyway).
And you know, my current book has been sitting by itself for a little while now. I had lucked into it in a book sale. Still in very good condition. The cheapest I have seen the first edition sell on Amazon is over 70 bucks. Which is yet another change to our nostalgia. We don’t have to worry so much about vcrs anymore. There is always a way to find those older movies and ways we can find the books we want without even leaving our house.
That is a huge revelation no matter how you want to think about it. I can walk away from the new iteration of something that has been part of my life for longer than I care to think about (getting old sucks) and find the things from when it mattered the most to me. I don’t have to wade through the stories that don’t interest me simply because those are the only stories available. It’s liberating to realize we have more freedom now to enjoy the things we want to enjoy than we have ever had before.
Yeah, I picked up an original trilogy sourcebook for the game tonight. I may not play it anytime soon. But I have always had a love for collecting the various RPGs that I used to play. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to play the games with my grandkids (still trying to figure out how my kids missed the gaming gene). Maybe it will instill a love in them for all this geeky stuff that I have lived my life with. Cause you never know, they may one day find the stories that are meant for them. Just as I have my stories that are special to me.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.