I’m not completely sure if it’s my very earliest memory or not, but it sure feels like it.
I can remember walking with my mom through the parking lot of the movie theater. I specifically remember the planters on the way into the AMC lobby. I remember walking down a dark aisle, and my mom and I sitting in the very front row. As the 20th Century Fox fanfare started — a bit of music that would always make me think of Star Wars, even when it came before other movies (I blame the searchlights that look like lightsabers to three year olds) — I knew what was going to happen. I was about to watch Return of the Jedi with my mother, while my older brother and sister were in school.
Then, John Williams’ iconic theme began, and as my mom read me the opening crawl, I was transported to a galaxy far, far away. It’s a place that doesn’t exist, and in a way I’m glad it doesn’t because I’d probably never want to leave. For better or worse, my first inklings that I wanted to be an artist of some kind took more and more shape every time I watched one of the films. I wasn’t born when the first film was released, and I was barely alive when the one that would become my favorite in the franchise — if not my favorite film of all time, no matter the genre or era — was released. So in a way, Return of the Jedi was kind of my first Star Wars. I’m positive I’d watched the other two films many times before that morning matinee with my mother, but my very first memory is of that day, and so my very first memory of any Star Wars film is the third one.
It would be the understatement of my lifetime to call myself a fan of George Lucas’ space opera. I’m a sycophant, probably.
My longest running satirical website, The Political Garbage Chute, is directly named for one of the best lines Princes Leia Organa says in any of the movies. I have seen the first trilogy so many times it probably accounts for at least a small percentage of my time on this planet. I’ve bought and read books, comic books, and novellas. I’ve played every video game you can. I have steeped myself in Star Wars to the point that some might be embarrassed by how much they’ve let themselves get into a piece of pop fiction, and I won’t even tell you how many variations of Han Solo action figures I own.
Recently published satire: President Orders James Madison Arrested For Plotting Coup Against Him
This series of pieces is about me turning 40, ostensibly, and my thought process as I spend the last year of my 30’s thinking about my life up to this point. I often say that the prequel trilogy, and now especially the Disney trilogy, are pluperfect examples of the old axiom, “Be careful what you wish for.” For years and years — more than a decade– we wanted more. We begged Lucas. We prayed to Yoda. And finally, our cries were heard, and we got…what we got.
Don’t get me wrong, thanks to the animated series The Clone Wars, I’ve developed a grudging respect at least for the story arc of the prequel era. It makes a lot more sense when Dave Filoni’s incredible work is paired with it. And Rebels was damn fine. Rogue One and Solo were pretty much perfect Star Wars films if you ask me. But oh boy, the Disney trilogy’s story is complete hash. First it was a complete re-hash, and then it became just hash when Rian Johnson decided the best thing about Star Wars is when it’s not Star Wars…
I’m really not one of those “It was better in my day” guys, either. Like I said, Rogue One and Solo are new films in the franchise that work. But the prequels were just shittily approached. Too much CGI, too much bullshit dialogue, and zero chemistry between the romantic leads. The Disney Trilogy is just pretty much a cold, cynical corporate addition to the story. I don’t care if Kylo is redeemed. I don’t really even care what happens in the third installment so much. It’ll look great. The performances will be just fine, but the truth is that they wasted great new characters on bullshit.
Which brings us to tonight’s final trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. No matter what, the trailer will look, sound, and feel amazing. It’ll give us chills. It’ll be emotional, probably. And we’ll still very likely be extremely disappointed in the film. Or, I should say, we could very likely be.
Don’t let that stop you watching the trailer, of course. Again, Star Wars trailers always look great! So enjoy it! Just don’t expect it to mean much when you see the film.
I watched the Phantom Menace trailer so many times I lost count. Same with the subsequent prequel trailers, and the ones for every other film in the series. They all look and feel spectacular. They all make you excited to be a fan and watch the movie. And yet, five out of the seven are trailers for movies that are majorly flawed, and not as good as the first trilogy. No matter how great the trailer is, there is now, a pretty good chance, mathematically, that the film its for will not be as good as the trailer made us hope for.
There is, of course, a plethora of lessons to be explored in this. You can’t always get what you want. Careful what you wish for. Don’t expect Disney to give two big shits about your childhood. And of course, in a way, it’s all probably a metaphor for the general feeling of disappointment that most things have in life. Very rarely do expectations and reality intersect cleanly.
So, go ahead, watch the new trailer. I’m going to watch it probably twelve times myself tonight. I just won’t let it influence how I feel about the movie it’s advertising, is all.
Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.
Catch up on the rest of the year’s entries HERE.
Recently published satire: President David Dennison Mocks Mitt Romney For Having A Secret “Pierre Delecto” Twitter Account
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.