i’ve never seen 'star wars'
What's it like to endure the hype surrounding 'The Force Awakens' when you've never been to a galaxy far, far away? i-D film editor Colin Crummy explains.
OK, Star Wars, you got me. I've spent the last year avoiding frame-by-frame teaser trailer dissections of The Force Awakens. I've not given a shit if Luke Skywalker is in it. I've unfollowed a crushable person on Facebook when they started a day-by-day countdown to December 17, 2015. In July. And let me be clear: they were hot.
But this week has slayed me on the Star Wars front. I've watched Carrie Fisher cheerily bulldoze her way through the media junket with her dog Gary at her side, tongues firmly in cheek. (Or in Gary's case, tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth, dribbling like a Comic Con virgin.) I've seen Harrison Ford, while also on junket duties, take down Donald Trump for believing that Air Force One was real and all the while, behaving like a man who after many years of thinking it was all over for him, has realized he can still have fun in movies. I've just watched the Star Wars cast sing the John Williams score a capella with Jimmy Fallon and his chat show band The Roots. And Christ, I wish this bandwagon was one I'd already jumped on.
But no. I have never seen Star Wars. Yep, I am one of those mythical people from a galaxy far, far away (did I get that reference right?).
I don't really know how this ship sailed without me on it. I was shorter than an Ewok when Return of the Jedi came out. I have a clear memory of getting a Luke Skywalker mask and cape for my birthday, despite having only the vaguest idea of what it was all about. I was down with The A-Team and He-Man so it wasn't like I was some precocious child snob who only watched The South Bank Show. Sometimes you just miss a cultural wave.
And so it is with Star Wars. By the time the prequels rolled around in 1999, it was too late for me, especially when the reviews were so toxic. Then you have to unpack all the complications of catching up on an iconic 80s franchise. Should you start with proper dud Episode I: The Phantom Menace and plough your way through the prequels? Am I to rummage through thrift stores in search of the original VHS of The Empire Strikes Back if I want the original space opera experience (before George Lucas started meddling with it on Blu Ray and DVD)? Should I just watch a three-minute supercut of the first six films and be done with it?
I won't do any of this. Because then I'll have to sit in a cinema with a bunch of proper Star Wars fans, who'll go all funny at the very first note of that John Williams score or stand at the end and clap the credits (as they will) because they are living for all of it.
No supercut or catching up is going to give me any of those feels.
By all accounts, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a triumph. It's even passed the bloody Bechdel Test. It's a relief and not just because all those months of frenzied frame-by-frame trailer dissection would have been a waste of everyone's time otherwise. It's sweet to see people get so psyched about their childhood fantasy, even from out here on the sidelines. I won't watch The Force Awakens because I can't catch up on all those memories. I can't access any of that. But I'm happy for those who can. It's a wonderful thing to watch, even from the slightly shorter queue at the multiplex to see Sisters, this weekend's other cinematic release. *waves*
Text Colin Crummy
Still from Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer via YouTube