Many people know me as a geek, and if they were to guess that I was a fan of science fiction, they’d be making a logical inference. In fact some people know that at 11 years old I was winning Star Trek trivia contests, at Star Trek conventions, wearing a Starfleet Uniform (Thankfully there are no digital pictures of this). But many are surprised to learn that until this week I’d never watched Star Wars. Not just the prequels, or V or VI, no – I’d never watched any of it. Until now.
First let me answer a few common questions that I always get when I mention my lack of Star Wars viewership:
- No, I’m not one of those guys who thinks Trek is way better and thus shuns the entire Star Wars Universe. Nor do I think it’s “too commercial” or “too mainstream”.
- Yes, I know what happens in the movies despite not having watched them. Pop culture has not allowed me to be ignorant of that. I just said I hadn’t watched the movies, not that I wasn’t intimately familiar with the story lines, characters, and analysis. I’ve read the Wikipedia entries on all the movies.
- No I didn’t have horrible parents or friends who stopped me from watching it.
So why haven’t I watched the movie until now? Well it’s actually rather mundane – I just never felt like it, coupled with the fact that no one around me has ever insisted that I watch it (Of course many probably would have if they knew I hadn’t watched it!).
Growing up, my dad liked Star Trek, and I think he and my mom had watched Star Wars at some point when it came out, but they never felt like they needed me to view it. And my friends… well let’s just say that not many ever told me that I had to do anything – being a bigger kid, only child, and relative loaner meant that I didn’t really associate with any Sci Fi nerds, like some might expect, and I was certainly more of a leader than follower thanks to my relative inexperience hanging with kids. My best friend, Steve, preferred Spaceballz much more than the actual Lucas-written movies, so that’s what I did watch. The first of many, many, many retellings of Episode IV that I’ve watched.
And that’s probably why I never bothered to watch the full thing until now. I’ve seen Family Guy parody Star Wars, I’ve seen Robot Chicken, Mel Brooks, and dozens of other full-length and short clips of parody over the years. And honestly watching the real movie didn’t feel “new” to me at all – it felt completely familiar, thanks to Pop Culture. And that’s why I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the others – they’re in the Netflix queue, but I don’t honestly know if they’re worth my time (Friends of mine know that I don’t watch many movies in general because I consider committing 2 hours of my time to something a major commitment). And I honestly don’t know why now I decided to rent Episode IV. Maybe I was just bored when browsing Netflix a few months ago.
So there you have it – I’m a 30 year old tech geek professor with a PhD who owns a frickin’ laser that looks like (and is almost as damaging as) a light saber, and I’ve now watched Star Wars for the first time. Maybe I’ll watch the rest of the movies, if the force compels me to. Or maybe I’ll stop here while I’m ahead. What do you think? Should I continue on?