In just a month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in movie theaters.

In October 1999, my life-long fandom and involvement with the popular Star Wars website TheForce.net landed me at a lunch on Skywalker Ranch which lead to my recruitment to take over the efforts at StarWars.com. I picked up my family, moved to the Bay Area, and for seven years was part of Lucasfilm’s marketing team through the remaining Star Wars prequels. I look back at that time as the best professional experience of my life for many reasons, but most of all the sheer uncompromising excellence of every person I had the pleasure of working with.

In 2006, I was burned out, missing my young children, and facing the gauntlet of Indiana Jones 4 with no further Star Wars in sight. I left my position at Lucasfilm to move back to Canada and start new life chapters.

In 2012, it was announced that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and that a new wave of Star Wars films would be made. From my desk in Calgary, I had decidedly mixed emotions. As a fan, the prospect of a breath of fresh air in my beloved franchise made me giddy. On a professional level, my heart sank. There will be more Star Wars, and I will not be involved.

In the months that followed, many Lucas friends and colleagues ended up losing their jobs as Disney consolidated operations. I consoled myself that, in all likelihood, I would not have kept my position in the new efforts even if I had stayed. That said, a handful of those I worked with closely kept their positions and continue to guide the company and the story. So… maybe I could have done the same? I can talk myself into either possibility, depending how I want to feel about it.

I am proud that there are hints of the legacy of what I was trying to accomplish with the online marketing that have carried forward, even if such hints are in my mind only. I am proud of the team that I fought alongside who are still at Lucasfilm making a difference.

I am sad that the trivial blips I was able to contribute to official Star Wars lore were swept away in the expanded universe reboot… even though I am strongly in support of that housecleaning. (And advocated such a move while at Lucasfilm.)

I worry that the new Star Wars films will be amazing, and my time with Star Wars will be further tainted with some kind of asterisk because I was on board for the bad films.

If I could sum it up best, I feel like the girl who said “see you later” to Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi and now stands in the concert crowd looking up at the guitar-playing Star Wars that I turned down.

That said, I will never be able to experience Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith as a fan. I will think of the scenes I was off camera for. I will remember scene development and behind-the-scenes turmoil. I will remember alternate edits and creative choices. I wouldn’t trade it, but it’s something I can’t experience purely even these years later.

And so, with a month left to The Force Awakens, I’ve decided to make the most of it. I’ve avoided much of the speculation and spoilers. The day-to-day news. I’m avoiding all the new footage in commercials.

When I walk in to the first showing (not even a special screening) in my city on opening night, I will do so as a regular fan. Enjoying my trip to a galaxy far, far away just as the creators intended. Where I began.

3 thoughts on “I’m happy for you, Star Wars. I am.

  1. You summed up a lot of my personal feelings, my friend. I haven’t had a chance to write about it myself but I’m optimistic about the film yet disappointed at the marketing. But I’m still too close and need to take George’s lesson, from the films and personal life, to let go…

    Like

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