Fandom 250: The case for Star Wars as the top fandom in the world


Star Wars fans are the best on the planet and deserve to be atop the Fandom 250 list, and here’s why.

In FanSided’s upcoming Fandom 250, there can only be one fandom atop the list, and it’s pretty clear that Star Wars has a great case.

There are few franchises out there that inspire their own conventions around the world, that endure for decades, that have their name spoken with almost a whisper of reverence by their many devotees and that continue bringing new members into the fold. And yet, for 40 years, Star Wars has done all of these things and more.

Frankly, that’s all we really need to say about Star Wars, but that doesn’t quite cover the strength of this fanbase.

Star Wars Celebration’s missing out on 2018 is such a big deal that it actually became a news item way back when it was announced earlier this year. Fans flocked to Orlando just this year and some slept in the convention center just to join together and talk about that galaxy far, far away (and take some pictures with Rian Johnson, too). That’s to say nothing about how excited those lucky fans were when they got to see the first trailer for The Last Jedi and the noise they made.

Second is the longevity of this fanbase. Despite the franchise reaching its 40th anniversary this year, there are plans for it to continue long beyond that. Has it had its quiet periods? Of course.

But even in those years between the original trilogy and the prequels, and now the prequels and the sequels, the fans have built communities around the books, whether they be the Extended Universe of old or the newly canon version put together after Lucasfilm became part of Disney; the shows, from Clone Wars to Rebels to Forces of Destiny; the games, with classics like Knights of the Old Republic and Shadows of the Empire; and the costumes — both the Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion, depending on which side you fall on.

At this point, it’s not impossible for fans of the original trilogy to introduce their grandchildren to the very same galaxy far, far away in 2017 and bring a new generation into the fanbase. Star Wars isn’t just for long-term fans. The community welcomes everyone, from the youngest of younglings to the old masters who might find it easier than most to imitate Yoda’s voice and speech patterns.

And as for the reverence? It’s because of the devotion of its fans, too — and the success that those fans have fueled. Not many franchises could take years off and come back roaring with nearly $250 million in its first domestic weekend alone, and yet The Force Awakens did just that for Star Wars. Not a part of the main saga? No problem. Rogue One racked up $1 billion worldwide just a year later. And, judging by how easy it is to find Star Wars merchandise pretty much anywhere, they’re more than willing to show how much they love the franchise by wearing clothes, displaying collectibles or books or hanging art on their walls.

Maybe you’re a fan of Star Wars because of the characters. Maybe you love the huge galaxy with all its possibilities for new stories. Or maybe you love every little bit you can get your hands on. Frankly, it’s hard to describe the feeling that a Star Wars fan feels when they see “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” or hear that iconic theme.

But all you need do is start humming that theme, and someone around you will recognize it … or maybe start humming or singing along. Star Wars has built friendships around the world and a fanbase that deserves the top honor on FanSided’s Fandom 250 this year.

Will it win? That, you’ll have to find out on Dec. 12, when the rankings are announced.