Robotical712’s note: I started writing this back in February, before everything went sideways. Apologies for the lack of activity.
It was December 23, 2015 that robotical712 was born and joined the then small community of r/StarWarSpeculation on Reddit.
This was not my first foray into Star Wars. In fact, I first saw it when I was eight and fell in love with it. For a time in the 90’s, I tried to read every novel in the then nascent EU and poured many hours into the games. Those years before the prequels was a Wild West of stories where it was sometimes questionable whether a given story even shared the same genre as the movies. It didn’t have the structure of the later years, but it was still a lot of fun and produced some of the most memorable (and sometimes reviled) characters and ideas in the franchise. With the prequels came far more oversight from Lucasfilm and the promise of an actual narrative for the books.
I, like many fans, cheered and rushed headlong into the New Jedi Order era. Alas, as such things tend to happen, my interest drifted in my Freshman year of High School and I found other hobbies to occupy my time and imagination. I still enjoyed Star Wars and watched the prequels as they were released, discussing their merits with friends, and occasionally played the latest game. Sometimes, I’d even pick up a book, including reading the final entry of NJO, but my relationship with the franchise was mostly casual.
Even so, I periodically checked into what the Expanded Universe was up to. To my dismay, the post-RotJ stories seemed to have fallen victim to runaway sequelitus. The books were unable to shift away from the original characters to the next generation. Alas, in the quest to keep the old characters challenged, the next generation was steadily consumed. At the same time, the events of the movies became dwarfed in significance by each succeeding book series as authors competed to leave their mark on the setting. Meanwhile, the line of media started by Knights of the Old Republic had wandered off and founded its own sub-franchise.
A Sale Foretold by No One
The sale came as a shock and my initial reaction to the announcement of a sequel trilogy was one of trepidation. I knew it wouldn’t be an adaptation of the EU as many fans hoped, but at the same time, I was concerned it would lose the ‘magic’ the Lucas films had under Disney. I would remain apart from the fandom over the next couple of years, watching the developments with interest, but not engaging. The creation of a Story Group brought hope the new era would have some measure of discipline. My reservations were further muted when it was announced the EU would be replaced by a unified and carefully managed Canon (I did and do think they should have done one more book to tie up the EU arcs though. Just ending it like they did was a needless slap in the face for people who had been loyal for years).
It was the first TFA teaser that truly got my interest though. The teaser was beautifully done and, most importantly, looked like a Star Wars movie. It would be another year before The Force Awakens hit theaters, but my excitement built with every teaser and sign of the movie. I figured Rey would be the main character and likely Han and Leia’s daughter (due to a chance exposure to an early ‘leak’ I thought Adam was playing a pilot – I wasn’t following the leaks scene before TFA). Finn looked great and seeing Harrison Ford playing an aged Han Solo was thrilling to someone who had given up on there ever being a Sequel Trilogy a scant four years prior.
The Force Awakens finally hit theaters and, being the father of two young children, I had to settle for reading about it online for two weeks (and overhearing my cousins discuss it over Christmas dinner). Overall, people loved the movie and it was the talk of the internet with intense speculation over the movie’s many unanswered questions. It was too much for me to continue lurking and I joined in. Surprisingly, Rey was not revealed to be anyone’s child, though the online consensus was she was Luke’s. By the time I actually saw the movie, I pretty much knew it in detail, but it was an exhilarating experience all the same. From then on, I was a frequent participant on the StarWarsSpeculation sub. After nearly fifteen years, I was a dedicated fan again and in the thick of it.
The fandom was mostly united, excited and deep in discussion over what was to come. It wouldn’t last.