Almost everyone has some kind of nostalgic memory of Star Wars. Whether it was the original trilogy being played in their childhood homes, the iconic musical themes being played just about everywhere, or annoying every single person named 'Luke' with Darth Vader quotes, most people have some fond memories of the popular franchise. Heck, we even have a two-day holiday celebrating Star Wars every year! Although I am surprised by the amount of people I meet that have not seen a single Star Wars movie, even those individuals can recognize characters and have learned some lore from the series, even unintentionally. That's because it is so entrenched in our culture, that you have to at least have some minimal knowledge of it's existence. It's not too often that us nerds can relate to nearly everybody in positive way, so we need to take advantage of that and run with it! We as nerds/geeks probably talk about Star Wars on a weekly if not daily basis, but that may not be the case with the average Joe. May the Fourth is a great way to bridge that gap between nerd culture and mainstream culture.
Yes, you probably know about May the Fourth, but how about Revenge of the Fifth? Today, on May 5th, we continue to celebrate the punny holiday(s) that we have grown to love, and we eagerly anticipate the countless Star Wars memes and banter regarding the series. While May the Fourth is not the first pop cultural "holiday" that has been established in the spring (see Justin Timberlake Day), it surely may be the most widely recognized due to the popularity of the franchise. Fans all across the world celebrate in their own way; by watching the movies, dressing up in cosplay, or attending conventions (any year but 2020). Generally there is a very positive global community when it comes to Star Wars; most everyone enjoys the absurd amount of content that is produced related to the series. However, as with any fandom, there are some people that dislike the 'flaws' in certain movies, or bicker back and forth regarding what is canon and what isn't. Nobody is really an exception to this; you'd probably be hard pressed to find someone who things the entirety of the Star Wars universe is perfect. I myself as a millennial enjoy the prequel trilogy that 'Revenge of the Fifth' is named after, as many of my informative years were spent pouring over them, but I'll be the first to admit that there were parts of them that I didn't like. In fact, one of my favorite pop culture references to a character in the prequel trilogy (whom shall not be named) is actually a Deadpool comic page, in which he has a...*ahem*...sharp disagreement with a few goons about the prequel trilogy.
So yeah...Star Wars isn't perfect. Neither is any other film franchise, but that doesn't make their movies any less enjoyable to watch for fans. Now where the problem lies, is when that becomes a problem for some 'fans'. Unfortunately, the Star Wars fan base is known to have a bit of a negative reputation online. Since joining the Twittersphere several years ago, I have had the detriment of seeing that first-hand. Twitter has a tendency to bring out the Dark Side in people (see what I did there?!), as they are able to hide behind nameless and faceless profiles and take out their hatred and anger on poor unsuspecting fools with little to no consequences. It's no different when it comes to Star Wars fans, who have been known to attack casual followers of the franchise for their 'lack' of dedication or knowledge. You know what guy? I can enjoy this movie, even if I don't own a Star Wars encyclopedia or know each species that is shown on screen. Even further, the hardcore fans attack other hardcore fans for what they enjoy; some fans don't regard certain films as canon (or try to remove them), while their opponents consider that film "the best" and criticize anyone who believes differently. This ongoing battle makes me weary, and ultimately results in my feelings that are best summarized by this comic strip and now popular meme below:
Now normally, you would think that I would be using this comic/meme in reference to someone on the outside of a fandom looking in, and criticizing it; but in fact, in this case it is just the opposite. There is merit in discussing your favorite film and why, but if it comes to putting another person down because their favorite character "doesn't even affect the plot", you're clearly too invested in your own viewpoint to see others' perspectives. And even if you're "right", they may not care enough to want to argue about it. What it really boils down to is we need to take the high ground (like Obi-Wan) and just let people like what they like. Now don't think that I'm saying you should just take everything anyone says at face value. I passionately discuss with my close friends about Star Wars stuff all the time! It's fine to have a discussion among friends about why we think the way we do about the films, or characters, or theories; but if your stance on a fictional character is worth damaging friendships over, then you obviously value your own opinion more than your relationships with others.
Moral of the story: we all are different humans, and we enjoy different things. Someone else may have differing opinions than you on any given subject; but regardless of your feelings, there is a person behind that opinion, and they may have a good reason for that opinion. And part of the underlying reason we lash out is fear; fear of what others think of us, fear of not being "good enough", fear of disappointing other people. A wise old Jedi once said, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate...leads to suffering." Nothing good will come of allowing yourself to give in to the Dark Side. Just think of the things that you enjoy, and try to imagine that the person you are talking to enjoys 'that thing' just like you enjoy yours! May the Fourth be with you all, and don't allow the Revenge of the Fifth to seep into your heart and mind!
Isaac Edlund considers himself a semi-hardcore Star Wars fan, but would never dream of banishing someone from the Star Wars kingdom