September 7, 2010

How The Clone Wars Made Me a Born-Again Star Wars Fan

People that have known me for a while have seen my enjoyment of Star Wars change from like (a lot) to love/obsession in just the past few years. I’ve heard the unspoken question – “why are you suddenly such a fan?” I’ve even been accused of jumping on a bandwagon. I didn’t know there was a Star Wars bandwagon 30 years later. Because I want the world to know what brought me back to this epic universe and maybe inspire someone else to step in, three words can explain why I came back to Star Wars and all its magic: The Clone Wars.

I saw the original trilogy for the first time when the films were re-released in theaters in the 90s. My only other experiences with sci-fi to that point were Star Trek: The Next Generation and Quantum Leap. "Space opera" wasn’t even a phrase in my vocabulary (yes, I know – very sad). I walked out of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in amazement. I couldn’t believe that anything like that was made when it was made. It still held up (and still does). I was first in line to see the next two as they came to the local theater. I could have rented them on VHS, but I wanted to experience them big.

I awaited the prequels eagerly. I thought myself incredibly lucky to be able to see the evolution of Darth Vader so soon. Maybe I was late to the game, but most Star Wars fans had to wait 20 years for this story... this next huge piece in the Star Wars universe. Though I remember not falling crazy in love with Star Wars Episode I: A Phantom Menace, I was thrilled just to be experiencing a new Star Wars film along with thousands and thousands of other fans. Everyone was excited – more excited than at any other film I’ve been to.

The prequels came and went. I enjoyed them - the effects, the fights, the creatures. What really got me about these movies was the history and information about a whole new timeline. I was fascinated by the time of multiple Jedi knights and the rise of the Emperor. Still, Star Wars hovered in my mild fandom area. Around 2000, in between the prequels, I discovered the novels of the Expanded Universe thanks to a female co-worker who was obsessed with them but as soon as she quit, I lost my endless supply and fell out of touch with Star Wars.

Then in 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars came along.

For some reason, it pulled me into the Star Wars universe like nothing else had. Well not just for some reason, for many! From the further exploration of the timeline that had so intrigued me, to a new lead female character that though young was full of potential, the idea of seeing more of Anakin’s descent to the dark side, learning more about Yoda, the new and striking visual style – and many more things (I was so jazzed when they announced that it would be a continuing series).

The Clone Wars movie really opened my eyes to the awesome that is Star Wars. I finally saw the copious amount of histories, timelines, and guides available as the magical tomes they are. I re-watched the original trilogy and the prequels for the first time in years. I delved into the Expanded Universe, starting with comics from Dark Horse. I devoured everything I could, and I know I’ve still only made the tiniest scratch. It’s been so much fun to fall into this vast universe and meet all the fascinating characters and explore bizarre worlds, and it will just continue. It is an infinite world that won’t go anywhere as long as fans believe. And I’ve met enough Star Wars fans to know that not only are they the best, but once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. You pass it on to your children, friends, anyone who will listen.

Because of The Clone Wars, I was able to look back. I was able to see, really for the first time, just what Star Wars meant and the impact it had when it was released as well as its continuing impact on films and fans.
Cross-posted at Newsarama.

8 comments:

  1. Like many others I am sure, I am curious (and dreading) about what Ashoka's final fate will be...

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  2. I am right there with you about The Clone Wars. I have been consistently blown away with how awesome it is. I hadn't read much EU beyond those first few books that sit in the place of Episodes 7-9, but after Clone Wars, I found Karen Traviss' series about the clones and they are just fascinating to me. Even knowing essentially how the story turns out, I am still super curious to see the journey that gets us there. Between Clone Wars and Knights of the Old Republic, I rocketed from just enjoying the franchise to being a flat out hardcore Star Wars fan.

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  3. I know what you mean about being a mild fan. I'd watched the original trilogy several times as a kid and liked them a lot, and I was very excited when the prequels came out and had a lot of fun watching them. But what really sucked me into the universe was Knights of the Old Republic. I loved playing as a powerful female Jedi, and being able to hop on my spaceship and fly to another solar system. I finally learned that Wookiees come from Kashyyyk, that Boba Fett was a Mandalorian, and how to tell a Rodian from a Trandoshan. It's such a huge universe. The only problem is that the Old Republic is kind of isolated from the Star Wars saga of the movies (no Anakin or Luke). I guess I should check out The Clone Wars :)

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  4. I was tired of the re-do and re-do of the Star Wars cannon of stories and was left with the comics to learn more about the extended universe. I even HATED the animated Clone Wars movie but the series brought was the movies never had - real heart. R2D2 is so magical a creation in this cartoon that he could hold the whole season. The politics are interesting for adults and the animation is always top rate. I agree with an earlier commenter that its the story of the Clone`s themselves that break your heart. They may be cannon fodder but they have real identities and emotions. I can see many of them rejecting ORDER66 when the moment comes and I hope the series gives us those important moment. All in all a superb series.

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  5. I LOVE The Clone Wars. I too have been a fan since the 90's. I was hooked after watching the first movie, since then my fandom has grown a ton! When The Clone Wars came out, I was really psyched. There's so much going for it.

    I really like how it manages to tie into other sources from the EU. It's an expanding universe and The Clone Wars is one heck of a way for us to explore it!

    Love the blog btw! :)

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  6. Your responses make me really happy. I'm glad to know that others have had a similar reaction to The Clone Wars.

    Eleni - I want to play that game!

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  7. I loved Season 1, but then in Season 2 they brought in the Mando's...... and almost lost me. Karen Traviss' Republic Commando books are my favorite SW Series, and what she built up with Mandalore, the Mandalorians, and Clones.... then Clone Wars completely erased it. I stuck with it though, and Season 2 finished pretty strong, and liking Season 3 so far.... but Delta Squad is supposed to make an appearance, and they were a big part of the RepCom books, so that's making me a little nervous.

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  8. also, KOTOR is one of my favoritest games ever in the history of ever!

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