As of the time I’m writing this we are 31 days away from the release of The Force Awakens and the beginning of the sequel era for Star Wars. Looking back over the last 20 years of Star Wars it’s amazing to see how much Star Wars has changed.
After the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002, George Lucas was giving many interviews explaining how Episode III would be the end of the saga. Since the mid 90’s, we had come out of the dark times of the 80’s and been enjoying new Star Wars content on a regular basis. I wasn’t ready to give all that up again and once more let Star Wars drift into the background. I couldn’t imagine a world without new Star Wars.
It’s such a strange concept now to think of a world without Star Wars, but in 2002 it felt like it could be a real possibility. In order to stave that off and prolong the Star Wars story as much as possible, I actually decided to stop reading the Expanded Universe novels. This was right as the New Jedi Order was kicking into motion. To this day, I still haven’t finished anything beyond book 6 of the NJO.
This feeling of Star Wars ending stuck with me even after I joined the 501st in 2008. At the time, I felt like I was joining the group after they had peaked with the Rose Parade celebration in 2007. My feeling was that this would be a fun ride for a few years and then Star Wars would slowly drift away as other things came up to take it’s place in the geek pantheon.
How little did I know? Since then Star Wars has only gotten bigger with each passing year. Clone Wars came and broke the mold for an animated series. The 501st Legion and other club memberships continue to grow each year.
Now, 3 years after the Disney & Lucasfilm merger we have not one, but 5 new films slated for release over the course of the next 5 years, and who knows how much more beyond that. As Star Wars gets bigger and the excitement for the future of the saga grows, it gets harder and harder to ever imagine a return to those dark times of the 80’s. At least I know I’ll have plenty of Star Wars books to read if that should happen again.