Confessions of a Star Wars Poser
I might have a confession to make. A couple of weeks ago, I did the podcast with Jeremy and Devin. We were discussing the best lightsaber duels and I shared my love not only of the duel between Obi-Won, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Darth Maul, but my admiration for the character of Darth Maul in general. With gleeful enthusiasm, I talked about his awesome Bruce Lee moves, his dazzling acrobatics, and his FACE! A visage so captivating, that one of my cherished possessions is a coffee mug of his head.
In the midst of my reverie, I explained how devastating and disappointing it was that Darth Maul was killed in that duel. I thought such a character had so much potential for greatness – evil greatness yes, but cool, evil greatness. Jeremy and Devin finished up the podcast and as soon as the microphones were turned off, Jeremy turned to me and said, “Maul is alive.”
WHAT??? How could this be? Then it hit me: Anakin lived on despite losing most of his parts! So of course, Darth Maul could also be reconstructed and live on! Jeremy went on to explain that the character exists, short the “Darth,” in the animated series Rebels, which I have never seen.
Then I had another realization: I had just revealed my Star Wars ignorance on the USW podcast, for all to hear. I imagined “true fans” out in the universe listening to my error and cursing my stupidity! I’ve always been very open about being the novice of the USW staff, but would the public forgive me? Or would they believe me to be something much worse than ignorant? Something such as … a Star Wars poser (GASP!)
What Is A True Fan?
I was sharing my shameful story with a close friend and true Star Wars devotee a few days ago – we’ll call him Greg. After listening to my troubles, Greg told me that he and his wife had just been in an argument about Star Wars and what it means to be a “true fan”. Greg’s wife “likes” the movies, and as an English teacher, she appreciates the literary elements and the cultural symbiosis of the Star Wars epic. But to Greg, Star Wars “means so much more”. Apparently, their discussion got heated and his wife was left in tears insisting that “Star Wars can mean many things to many people!” She wanted him to know that it isn’t just his thing. For Greg’s part, he maintains that he is still the only “true fan” in the family.*
Wow. The debate over the meaning of “true fandom” can get pretty intense I guess. But it begs the question: What is the measure of fandom? Is seeing all the movies multiple times enough to qualify? Does it require ownership of several pieces of Star Wars memorabilia, or is one Darth Maul coffee mug sufficient? Must I watch Rebels and read the novels to demonstrate my devotion to the franchise? Clearly, there are varying degrees of fandom. I’d like to think I fall somewhere in the middle – or maybe to the right, after all, I play Star Wars RPGs. But maybe, just maybe, we are all posers compared to the guy with the Death Star tattoo.
*p.s. Greg was also unaware that Darth Maul had survived, having never seen Rebels. I am now vindicated.