When Disney purchased the Lucasfilm brand, I was ecstatic. Finally, after over a decade of waiting, new Star Wars movies were going to be coming to theaters. But what made my little nerdy heart skip a beat was not the announcement of more films. No, it was the announcement that the Expanded Universe was now “Legends.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the EU. In fact, some of the stories that it tells are great. And I know for some people, that is their Star Wars, so losing it was hard. However, for me the bottom line was that there were far too many books for me to ever catch up and know “everything.” Each time I waded into the pool that was the EU, I felt like I was drowning because the wave of books I would have to read was monstrous.
I was all or nothing when it comes to Star Wars storytelling. I wanted to read it all, see it all, hear it all, and explore it all. But I had a time in my life when I slipped away from Star Wars, so jumping back into a universe with hundreds of books to catch up on was not as exciting as I would have liked it to be. Having a new timeline meant that I got to press the reset button, and I actually could know it all.
Until I realized that I couldn’t.
The truth is that the galaxy of Star Wars is just too big to be able to take it all in. There are movies, which obviously are the necessity. Then there are comics, novels, junior novels, YA novels, television shows, short stories, and, and, and.
All of a sudden I’m drowning again. And something needs to be done about it.
It seems there are a few options. One, I could doggy paddle my way to trying to read, see, and hear everything that I can. Via this approach, I could probably intake everything Lucasfilm has to offer, but would I really be digesting it? Doubtful. Another option would be to just throw my hands up, walking to the shore and away from Star Wars all together. We both know that that is not going to happen. I made that mistake once already, it is not going to happen again.
So what is left? Well I guess I’ll just have to learn to swim.
And what is key when you’re swimming? Form, pace, and breathing. The same is true with keeping up with all the Star Wars content that is coming out. Form: find what you like and enjoy it. Pace: keep up with what you can, when you can (and avoid as many spoilers as possible so as to really take in the story from your own point of view). And most importantly, breathe. Don’t let it overwhelm you.
You are not going to be able to know it all. And that’s okay.
Star Wars is a big galaxy. Between all the shows, books, comics, and more, Star Wars is the biggest intellectual property in the world. Moreover, it is the most detailed property ever known to mankind. Every character, no matter how background, has a name. Every ship a model. Ever blaster a set of specifications. It’s a lot to keep up with.
Back in the day, be it the original trilogy era or the dark times, people were starving for more Star Wars. There was no internet, which means there were no blogs, websites, podcasts, social media, or any other way to invest in Star Wars with a worldwide audience. So the best thing to do was to learn every minute detail you could so that when the opportunity to talk or play Star Wars became available, you were ready to go.
Nowadays, it’s like drinking water from a fire hydrant. Content is continually coming out, at a pace most fans (myself included) never imagined possible. It is phenomenal, but daunting all the same. If you try to know everything, you will die trying.
So allow yourself to just enjoy the fandom. Read the books you want. Watch the shows you want. But at the end of the day, just have fun. That’s what Star Wars has always been about anyways.