Star Wars right now is about as dense as traffic on Coruscant. Movies, TV shows, cartoons, books, games, comics; any era or type of story can be found. There have been times that landscape was as bleak as Tatooine. Here is one fan’s view of crossing the desert to enter Star Wars’ Golden Age.
This week, I have noticed that I can’t escape Star Wars.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I’m trying to do so, but when I turn on the TV, I see commercials for the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker. When I walk into a bookstore, shelves of books both new and Legends are there for purchase. Comics set in various eras of Star Wars illuminate the major narratives.
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Of course the talk of social media for the last couple of weeks has been the debut of Disney Plus and its flagship show The Mandalorian.
It is a show that manages to conjure old-school feelings of Star Wars, while still being fresh, and oh-so-weird. (That’s a good thing.) Even some of the most die-hard critics of the new films have found something to love in this tale of a bounty hunter with a conscience set five years after Return of the Jedi.
I look at my own history as a fan, from Star Wars (and I am old enough that “Episode IV: A New Hope” will always be “Star Wars” to me) in theaters the first time to now and there’s no denying it: This is the best time for Star Wars we have ever seen. This is Star Wars’ Golden Age.
I was there in 1977 when no one knew if there would ever be a second film, and we had only a single book to serve as “expanded universe” (not a term that existed) and sequel. I was there in 1982 when The Empire Strikes Back came out, and people were not too happy with the direction the story took. I was there in 1983, when George Lucas had completed his trilogy and his talk of a nine film series was reduced to just that trilogy. Star Wars was done.
Then we did get the Ewok TV movies, and finally by the late ’80s and early ’90s, the EU began in earnest. I got most of my kicks playing the West End Games Role Playing Game honestly. (Don’t forget Pablo Hidalgo himself was one of the contributors to that game, and it informed a lot of the EU.) In this period though, Star Wars was fringe material; sure, a lot of novels and the occasional video game, but only the films held sway in the mainstream.
Then came the Prequels.
Derided by some, praised by others, they did introduce an entirely new generation to Star Wars, and crystalized the Lucasfilm Star Wars empire. Sure, Lucas himself in the films showed some disdain for much of the existing EU materials, but many of those little details from the EU era made it into the films and joined Lucas’ own canon (which was letter-coded to let fans know HOW canon it was).
When the Prequels were done, we again had no reason to believe there would be more Star Wars. Lucas himself in “Total Film” magazine said as much.
Then along came a mouse.
Whatever one feels about the Disney version of Star Wars and its Sequel Trilogy (and I am an unabashed fan of it), there is some really fantastic material right now. Rogue One is the spiritual successor to The Empire Strikes Back. Solo does the same for A New Hope honestly.
Star Wars Rebels is some of the best storytelling you will find for Star Wars, and soon we get more The Clone Wars.
After some lackluster games, JedI: Fallen Order is proving popular with gamers and Star Wars fans and everyone in the overlap of that particular Venn diagram. Of course, we have Resistance for kids, along with the delightful Forces of Destiny and Galaxy of Adventures, which I love to watch with my granddaughters, ensuring another generation. The Mandalorian is streaming now, and coming up we have the Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi series each on the way.
We also know that after the Skywalker Saga ends in December with The Rise of Skywalker that we will find out in January what the future of the movies will be. So, new films, new series, and more content right now that one can safely consume; varied content for new fans, and to appeal to the old. For the first time in Star Wars history, we are as submerged as Boba Fett was when consumed by the sarlacc. And like Boba Fett, it seems like this situation may last a thousand years.
There is no end in sight. Quality everywhere, and a company that wants to make sure there is Star Wars in your line of sight every moment of every day. That almost sounds sinister, but honestly, having lived in the sparse years when playing out new stories with Kenner action figures was the ONLY way to get more Star Wars, this sounds like we have found paradise.
We are living in Star Wars’ Golden Age. Thank the Maker.