Image used Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
On National Table Top Day, I got together to play some games with friends when my friend Ari hit me with this little nugget: “I think I like The Force Awakens and Rogue One much more than the classic trilogy.” I didn’t know how to respond to that. I love those new films too but more than the older films? I don’t know. I had questions, so I did what I always do: I ask questions. I decided I needed to talk to Ari. What follows is an interview with her that answered my questions about her statement and reminded me how much I love sharing a love of Star Wars with all generations.
What was your first experience with Star Wars?
Well, my dad was actually a pretty big Star Wars fan. While I don’t actually remember watching the films with him, I do remember him having a huge collection of memorabilia. At one point, he actually sold it to pay for a downpayment on his current house.
You had gleaned many of the big moments through a kind of cultural osmosis though?
Yeah. I mean, Star Wars is such a big influence on our society. You just can’t escape it. It’s alluded to all the time. As a huge fan of Disneyland, I also got some of the basics through riding Star Tours an ungodly amount of times.
Yeah. I know you have a little bit of a Disney “problem”! Speaking of Disney, do you think The Force Awakens and Rogue One were affected by the fact that they were produced by Disney?
Well, I think it means different things to different people. I think people who were into Star Wars before the Disney aquisition might see more potential for problems. There’s always the fear that Disney will change Star Wars in some way, but you have to be open. As long as they don’t Crystal Skull it, I’ll be happy. I mean, Rogue One is NOT a kid’s movie. If Disney puts as much care and effort into their future movies as they did to Rogue One, I think we’ll be fine. Plus, if Disney owning Star Wars means we get something as potentially cool as Star Wars Land then I think it’ll be worth it.
What was your first film or television experience with Star Wars?
Well, I don’t really remember. I would probably say my ‘first’ experience was watching it with you. Especially since we took the time to not only watch the original trilogy, but the other movies and some of Clone Wars in that special order. That felt like the first time because there was so much I had forgotten about from whenever the first time I saw it was. Also it was great to watch it together.
I’m sure I watched the original trilogy with my dad, but I don’t recall it. I always remember liking the Battle of Hoth because it was so different. Most of the environments in A New Hope were very dull in their color palette, so when you get to Hoth, it really hits you because it’s so bright in comparison to everything else.
I think I already know the answer, but who’s your favorite character?
Well, most of the Original Trilogy characters kind of annoy me. Luke and Leia not knowing that they’re brother and sister, it’s like, “Come on. You can use the Force to do all these crazy things, but you can’t tell that that’s your sister?” C-3PO is also pretty annoying, but I do like R2-D2. He’s fun comedic relief and interesting to watch..
I also think a lot of the new characters from The Force Awakens are pretty cool, but with only one movie with them, I don’t think I’m ready to say any of them are my favorite character yet.
I think my favorite character from the Star Wars Universe as I’ve interacted with it (so not watching all of the TVs shows and not enjoying episodes 1-3) is Jyn Erso. I like how complicated she is. You never quite know what she’s going to do. Her behavior is unexpected. I also like that she doesn’t think of herself as a hero. She’s motivated by her family not necessarily the battle for good and evil and The Force.
So, you told me recently that you enjoyed The Force Awakens and Rogue One more than the older films. What about those particular films speaks to you?
Well, I enjoyed the original films, but I think the biggest thing is the community surrounding the new films. The excitement that comes with each new film release is something that you can’t get with the older films. I mean, getting to go to the theater to see The Force Awakens and Rogue One with you and Kate, who have been fans for a while is amazing. The excitement is infectious and I think that adds to the viewing experience. I also enjoy all the cool clothes and merchandise that come with each new release. I love rocking my Jyn Erso inspired jacket regardless of the event I’m attending.
We have a little bit of an age difference between us, and I have an idea about why kids from my generation like Star Wars, but what is it about Star Wars that you think appeals to your generation?
Well, you know, the Hero’s Journey is eternal. It’s something that speaks to people regardless of generation. When talking about millennials or Generation Z or whatever, I think that it comes down to the fact that we have a lot to contend with; so many of us have had to deal with the recession either personally or through our families that we’ve all had a bit more of a Star Wars like upbringing rather than that of a Disney Prince/Princess. Rey and Jyn, they have all kinds of problems too, but they’re able to move past them. Their stories are a good reminder of what you can overcome if you just take some time to slow down, focus, and breathe. That’s just a good reminder for life.
We also all have that common desire to look into the distance and want more for our futures. It’s easy to relate to Luke and Rey when they are looking towards the horizon and wanting more from life. We all do that at some point in our life.
One of the greatest things about Star Wars is how it can bring together people from a wide variety of generations. People who grew up with the original trilogy in the late 70s and early 80s can join in with people who are just now taking their first steps into the saga with The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Star Wars is a kind of universal language. It reaches into the hearts of people who have been there from the beginning and people just beginning their journey, and it binds us to each other. As Ari says, “There is no one perspective that’s ‘right.’ It’s that we all care about the same fandom, regardless of how we came to it.” Wow. She’s already a master. Her favorite character may be Jyn Erso, but she's much more like Ahsoka to me. She’s the Ahsoka to my Plo Koon. We teach and learn from each other, and I feel very blessed to have her as part of my found family in the Force.
Do you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat? Connect with me on Twitter at @mapplebee7567! If you would like to contact Ari about Star Wars, Disney, or her crazy mad skills as a Google Certified Trainer and Innovator, you can reach her on Twitter at @Edtechari. You can also connect with the whole Far, Far Away Radio crew on Twitter at @farfarawayradio.