Yep, it’s time for a Star Wars list. There are several reasons why. For one, it’s late 2017 and we have a new movie coming in Star Wars: The Last Jedi . There’s also a new AAA video game before that, the much-anticipated Star Ware Battlefront II from EA. The hype is real for both of these projects, and Star Wars in general. The new game is right around the corner, the latest trailer for The Last Jedi just dropped, and the floodgates opened for movie ticket pre-orders. I got mine with all the bells and whistles. While we wait, let’s take a moment to go over why it’s so great to be a Star Wars fan right now.
Star Wars books used to be a giant mess of over or under-written junk paperbacks that were intimidating to casual fans and were largely just lore wank for hardcore Star Wars nerds. That’s fine and all, but Disney pulling the plug on the “extended universe” may be the best thing that could happen to Star Wars . That, and the new books are all written by awesome writers, including Chuck Wendig with his Aftermath series.
Star Wars Celebration
As an event, the Star Wars Celebration has been around since 1999. But now that Disney has taken over and Star Wars is cool again, the last several Star Wars Celebration events have been ludicrously big. From new announcements that everyone cares about to livestreams and other kinds of super-nerdy Star Wars fanservice, the Internet gets hyped for these things like it never has before.
The cool thing about all this new material, especially a new set of movies that are actually sequels, is we get a brand new cast of characters. Introducing a new generation of heroes and villains is always a treat when a long-running franchise gets another round, and so far Star Wars is not disappointing. Rey is a fun, new protagonist who shows good promise, Kylo Ren is a fascinating villain and the bromance tag-team of Poe Dameron and Finn are proving to be just as compelling as the lightsaber swingers.
Star Wars is cool again, which means high-quality merchandising is a thing. Instead of action figures and screen-printed shirts (although those definitely still exist), now you can find higher quality goods (complete with higher price tags). Take these shoes, for example. You don’t find these at a Walmart or a Target, it’s the kind of stuff you have to know about and go out of your way to get. That means it’s cool, man.
Disney took over the Star Wars IP, which means rights to the comics went back on the market. This means Marvel got to take another crack at it after decades of Dark Horse. The new waves of Star Wars comics from Marvel have been awesome, with several character-centric miniseries and other long-running rags that have consistently been praised by fans and critics.
Here’s the obvious entry on the list. New movies are here! This is, of course, the core of Star Wars . But after such a long wait and so much nerd anguish and anxiety, not only are they out in full force but they are actually pretty solid! The Force Awakens was a great return that was well made, well-paced and breezy. Rogue One was a bit messy, but a good theactrical spectacle. The Last Jedi has a great director attached in Rian Johnson. I’m stoked.
The new characters, movies, and everything are great, sure. But the real best thing about a new wave of Star Wars is a new wave of fans. Kids are discovering this stuff or getting the rush of new Star Wars for the first time. Either way, it’s so cool to see so many kids having fun and being introduced to the world of cosplay, comics, games, and so on in a big way for the first time.
This is a silly entry, but a fun one. Star Wars is a Disney property, which means it has that DIsney machine pushing behind it, running at full steam. That means big events, big money, and big marketing. For example, a 60-meter lightsaber was recently suspended above Sydney Harbor in Australia, made of hand-soldered LED lights and projecting a goofy advertisement about tickets for The Last Jedi being on sale. That’s so ridiculous, it’s awesome.
Star Wars toy madness is, well, madness! Each year, a new wave of toys is announced for various markets, and hoardes of dorks camp out outside stores to get them before anyone else every time. Not only are they a hot commodity by association, but the quality of Star Wars merch is at an all-time high. Not only are Japanese figure companies making super collector-grade figures, but even domestic companies like Hasbro are making really good stuff, particularly with its Black Series line.
Obviously, we’re a video game site. Of course we’re excited about the dang new video game. Star Wars Battlefront , the reboot of sorts from DICE and EA, was a fun, gorgeous game that was sorely lacking in substance. Now, Star Wars Battlefront II aims to address that issue with not only way more online content, but an actual campaign that ties into the canon Star Wars plot. There’s some loot box drama brewing as we draw nearer to its release, but here’s to hoping the story (written by ex-IGN editor Mitch Dyer and Spec Ops: The Line writer Walt Williams) holds up to scrutiny.