“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and a steady rotation of numbered Star Wars entries, Star Wars Stories, video games, and comics.” – Benjamin Franklin probably
Had Mr. Franklin been born in the 50’s or 60’s of last century, this is more than likely how he would have been quoted. That’s because Star Wars turns 40 today, and with stronger backing, a larger universe, and more unique mediums to explore than ever before, it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.
With every new movie, TV show, video game, LEGO set, novel, comic, poster, action figure, lunchbox, convention, cosplay, and costume, the Star Wars intellectual property manages to hit literally every demographic to ensure that absolutely no one grows up without some exposure to Star Wars. This has created an infinite loop of young, new fans growing up enveloped in a cozy Star Wars cocoon to become established superfans, who then find and settle down with a fellow geek, to then beget a new generation of fresh, young padawans. Cue Circle of Life from The Lion King.
Star Wars is for everyone. From casual viewers watching the Force Awakens as their first SW experience to the rabid blasterheads arguing over whether or not Han Solo shot first (he did…), there is content out there that will make even the most repressed geek happy. It has always been a franchise that sells itself. Before Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars in 2012 (for a cool $4 billion, mind you), no one could say that the studio and its merchandisers were hard up for cash, even when considering the amount of criticism the Prequels receive, to this day. It wasn’t as though Lucasfilm had to sell. No, it was something more along the lines of George Lucas being situated on top of a veritable gold mine, with no further intentions to dig deeper into its potential. With the, arguably, terrible Episodes I, II, and III poised to be our last ever cinematic experiences with the franchise, something simply had to be done. And that’s when Disney stepped up, flexed its monetary muscle, and decided to give Star Wars fans the only thing they’d ever dreamt about: more Star Wars.
And more Star Wars is exactly what we got. With promises of a new numbered entry for the main series every other year and the newly conceived Stories (e.g. Rogue One) filling in the gaps during the off years, tie-in TV shows, video games, LEGO sets, and all the accompanying must-have merchandise, we’re living in the Golden Age of Star Wars. It is now cemented to be around longer than many of you readers. As it currently stands, there is no “course” for Star Wars to “run,” and with an actual galaxy as its backdrop, along with established fans becoming creators, writers, directors, and actors, there will be no shortage of new planets, aliens, ships, mechanical death monstrosities, misnomered parsecs, good guys, and bad guys to keep us sated for years, maybe decades, to come.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Star Wars! Thanks for all good times, both in the past and to come, and may the Force be with you!