Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Like a proton torpedo right in the old thermal exhaust port

They really know how to hit me where it hurts. "They" in this case being the Disney overlords, specifically the ones presently responsible for making Star Wars something I can feel some legitimate excitement about again. I don't think I mentioned it hereabouts specifically, but I did geek out pretty hard when the Episode VII trailer debuted a while ago. As someone who loved the original Star Wars trilogy as a kid, and was disappointed by the prequels but not so much that I forsook my earnest childhood fandom entirely, I was initially skeptical about the announcements that the saga would be extended by yet another triptych of movies. But the trailer (ok, specifically the sight of the Millennium Falcon engaged in a dogfight) stoked my inner nine year old something fierce, and my inner grumpy disillusioned cynic has settled into a wait-and-see pattern which basically gives the kid free rein.

So the new movie comes out this December and I'm genuinely looking forward to it, what could be the problem? That would be the recent announcements of a little project called "Journey to The Force Awakens" which apparently involves a multimedia assault with two ostensible purposes. The first and most glaringly obvious one is to monetize the anticipation for the first new Star Wars movies in over a decade. Can't wait for the big theatrical debut? Tide yourself over by purchasing this character encyclopedia, these sticker books for your kids, and more, more, more! Hey, I get it, this is America, Disney's never demonstrated any particular aversion to money before, so it goes. The second purpose of Journey, though, is a bit more insidious. The Force Awakens takes place some time after Return of the Jedi, but not immediately after. In real-world terms, the fact that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will be reprising their central roles and have aged thirty or so years in the interval means the new stories have to take place at leas that much later. But what, one might wonder, happened in that galaxy far, far away during the corresponding narrative gap?

Well, you might not wonder all that much. Or you might be perfectly content to pick up the gist of what happened based on context clues within Episode VII when you sit down to watch it on opening night. (We're all going to the midnight showings, right?) But for a certain completist mindset, you might have a greater hankering for deep knowledge about things that will be glossed over on the big screen. And, wouldn't you know it, Del Rey is going to publish a trilogy of novels to answer those very questions, not mere tie-in informational companion books but actual in-continuity stories, the kind that would really appeal to Star Wars junkies, lifelong or reformed or relapsed or whathaveyou.

So, of course I'm going to pick up Star Wars: Aftermath right when it's published. This is the kind of no-brainer that "I mean, come ON" was coined for. Yes, I feel target-marketed, and possibly even exploited, but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the books' existence. I will not feel right sitting down to watch Episode VII if I haven't read the book by then. Or books? The one thing I'm not clear on right now is whether the entire trilogy of novels will come out this fall, like a book every few weeks, which means it will just take over my reading list for months as I remain helpless to resist it and December looms closer and closer. Or if it's one book this year, and subsequent volumes in future years, potentially with each installment of the novels revealing more secrets and foreshadowing more developments important to Episode VII and then VII and finally IX. I'm not worried about it, though. I'm sure Disney will make it abundantly clear when and where the books are available so that I can dutifully scarf them up.

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