Who Is Star Wars Geared Towards? It Depends Greatly On Your Own Point Of View!
by Barb Brown
Since the release of The Last Jedi in December of 2017, we, as Star Wars fans, have experienced a variety of reactions to the direction that Rian Johnson, and Disney as a whole, has taken the Star Wars saga. I, for one, loved TLJ and feel like it was a refreshing new story line that brought a new light to the Star Wars galaxy, and I can’t wait to see how Abrams concludes the Skywalker saga.
Yet one question that has been posed to me is what audience are the new Disney Star Wars movies geared towards? Are they meant to appeal mostly to the younger generation that didn’t grow up with the original trilogy as those of us born in the 60s, 70s, and 80s? Or are they meant for those Star Wars fans that have been waiting for a sequel trilogy since ROTJ in 83? Who are they meant for?
I’d like to attempt to answer that question from my own point of view by posing another question: Do they need to appeal to just one audience, or can they reach every person that decides to buy a ticket at the box office? Is it possible for the Disney Star Wars movies to reach the kids of today, seasoned Star Wars fans who saw the original in theaters in 1977, and everyone in between from the casual movie goer, down to the hardcore fan?
How old were you when you saw your first Star Wars movie? My first memory of seeing Star Wars was in 1983. I went with my brother for his 8th birthday, I was 4 1/2, and saw Return of the Jedi in theaters. My brother was the quintessential early 80s boy who loved everything Star Wars; he had the Kenner figures, the Millennium Falcon and even the ESB bedsheets! All through the 80s we would watch the Original Trilogy over and over. My brother was a fan, and I became a fan through him. My point in sharing this is that from my experience with Star Wars, it was and has always been geared towards kids.
However, my experience as a child grew into a deeper understanding and appreciation for Star Wars, and then as a young adult when the prequel trilogy was released, I got to experience Star Wars in a whole new way, and I loved it! Now, in my late 30’s, I’ve been able to experience the sequel trilogy and stand alone films from a completely different perspective. Guess what… I absolutely love them!!!! And here’s the thing, my kids love them too! I realize that their experience and perspective of Star Wars is vastly different than mine, but they still enjoy it, and that’s what counts.
While that has been my experience of Star Wars, I realize that there are many fans out there with different experiences. Some have fond memories of the Original Trilogy, but their fandom of Star Wars has stopped there. Others may have loved The Force Awakens, but have not been able to get past the direction the story went in The Last Jedi. Wherever you fall in this crazy world of Star Wars fandom, everyone’s experience is different, and therefore, our opinions of the Disney franchise movies will inevitably be different also.
It all comes down to expectations. As a Star Wars fan do you expect the movie to be just for you, or for everyone to enjoy? To put the movie in a box and say that they’re for “this” specific audience, takes away the potential for these movies to be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and ages. One thing I love about Star Wars is that it’s a timeless story that touches on themes that can impact young and old alike. It impacted me as a child, influenced me as a teen, and has continued to touch my heart and intrigue me as an adult. I can’t wait to see where Episode IX and the rest of the Star Wars movies will take us, and hope the Star Wars audience continues to be as diverse as the world we live in.