Star Wars and I broke up a little over four years ago.
I wasn't shy or quiet about it. I told everyone I knew that I was done with it. We were through. No more! You know: fool me once, shame on you -- fool me three times with a series of increasingly disappointing prequels, shame on me. I had touched the hot stove and I hard learned to not touch it again. Apply the additional metaphors of your choice here. Truth be told, I was a real jerk about it (and still am, if we're going to be honest with each other).
I haven't watched a Star Wars movie since 2008. I sold my DVD box set. I put my VHS tapes into storage. I turned down countless invitations to watch the films when they hit Blu-ray. I was out. I was done, I was finished and all kinds of further etcetera.
Which is why I'm still trying to process my feelings for Star Wars: Episode VII. There's no point in lying: I'm excited about it. And yes, I feel a little gross and yes, I feel a little guilty and yes, I can't help but think "But the stove won't be so hot this time! I can trust again!"
So I've been easing myself back into the Star Wars universe. I haven't revisited the original trilogy (not while only the special editions are available in high def) and I certainly haven't revisited the prequels, but I have dipped my toe into the unhealthiest pool of them all: merchandising tie-ins.
It was with a certain amount of shame that I picked up the first two issues of Dark Horse's new Star Wars comic series and Fantasy Flight's Star Wars: The Card Game, and there was even more shame when I found myself falling in love with them. However, the more I think on it, the more I realize that this comic and this game understand the appeal of Star Wars more than anything else in recent memory and may even indicate how Disney and J.J. Abrams can return this franchise to its former glory.
The first thing you'll notice about both the comic and the game is that there is nothing from the prequels in them. Literally nothing. They act as if they never existed. All of the imagery and every character is derived from the first three films. After a decade of Clone Wars junk, it's refreshing to see the rusty, worn-in world of the original trilogy return, even if its just in the art of a very fun tabletop game. After so many stories about galactic senates and trade regulations, it's refreshing that the comic is telling an exciting, kid-friendly adventure tale loaded with humor and intrigue.
The comic takes place between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, letting characters we love deal with the events of the first film (if you've ever wondered how Leia ultimately processed the destruction of home planet by the Death Star…). Sure, it's ultimately fan fiction, but writer Brian Wood transforms it into vibrant, exciting fan fiction that captures the voice of the original films. Now that I've seen a third party capture the tone of the first trilogy so well, I know that all of this isn't some kind of lost cause. It is possible to capture what made Star Wars so special! Now they've just got to do it on film and in canon with the Lucasfilm logo before the finished product.
Am I fool to be excited? Maybe. Probably. Yes. But we genre fans are a tough breed. We've been burned so many times that we've developed thick calluses. We'll live, even if Star Wars: Episode VII is yet another hot stove. All I know is that I can now think about this universe without cringing; that the long ago, far away galaxy that I once loved is still out there. The mere possibility is enough to give me faith.