Stop ‘Freaking Out’ About ‘Star Wars?’ Why Should Fans Start Now?

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back-2

For studios, having fans obsess over major properties is a current cost of doing business

The Huffington Post has published a piece suggesting that fans “stop freaking out” about the next chapter in the “Star Wars” saga. Well, good luck with that.

That’s not to say the column doesn’t make legitimate points about the history of the “Star Wars” franchise, including pre-release concerns about “The Empire Strikes Back,” the best of the six existing movies.

What the article ignores, rather, is the fundamental nature of modern fandom, one that studios have for better or worse embraced, despite the niggling and irritating aspects when it comes to nitpicking and second-guessing filmmakers.

Asking “Star Wars” fans to stop “freaking out” about the future care and handling of the characters is sort of like pleading with Laker fans to stop worrying about their playoff prospects in November. It’s a nice thought, but essentially runs counter to what defines them as “fans” in the way the term is currently understood.

Studios have known this ever since they discovered and co-opted Comic-Con, realizing that the ability to directly address and tap into that passionate audience was worth the headaches associated with engaging them. Sure, they might agonize over a movie whose release date is still two years away, but they’re also the first folks in line, and the ones who stock their houses with DVDs, books and action figures (for their kids — yeah, that’s it. For the kids).

Producer-director J.J. Abrams is no doubt more keenly aware of this than anybody, having already taken over stewardship of “Star Trek,” a property whose fan base has set the standard for torch-carrying and “freaking out” for decades. (If you’ve never seen it, William Shatner’s “Saturday Night Live” skit about Trekkers — where he finally barks “Get a life!” — satirically captures the extremes of this contingent.)

Given that, if anyone responsible for “Star Wars” is irked at this point about the noise surrounding Episode VII, to paraphrase Super-Chicken, they knew the job was dangerous when they took it.

Disney, obviously, has a lot riding on the seventh movie, which will go a long way toward justifying its acquisition of Lucasfilm. Still, there’s something a whole lot worse than having fans who “freak out” over the smallest of details — namely, not having the comfort of a built-in audience that desperately, sometimes aggravatingly, cares.

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  1. beckstle says:

    Thank you for stating what should be obvious: no fans, no sales. As the saying goes, “Suck it up, buttercup!”

  2. Enough…All of you are whiners…the Hacks and the Nerds; can’t we just all get along?

    That said…JJ Fucks this up his career will go the way of ShammalamaDingDong…fucking up a property like Star Wars, which unlike Trek is Universally Beloved, and a genuine global cultural touchstone, it’d be like fucking up the story of Jesus AND Mohammad. Everyone from Albany to Zimbabwe will despise you.

    And that’s a fact; JJ has balls… I’m a gutsy sort…but I wouldn’t touch this property with a 10 meter Cattle Prod.

    • Danno81 says:

      Star Trek and Star Wars are beloved the world over and equally. If they we’re not so closely matched there wouldn’t be such a long running bitter dispute between both black-and-white visioned die hard fan contingents from both sides.

  3. Jim Badger says:

    The problem with fandom these days is too many are whiners. Enough said.

  4. Bob says:

    Always love it when delusional fans try to tell the storytellers how to tell their story and the filmmakers how to make their film. The sense of entitlement is beyond belief.

  5. Jay Bosco says:

    Always like when low speed hacks tell me what I should do.

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