The Life Cycle of a Saga

Albin Johnson | August 1, 2012

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With Star Wars Celebration VI just weeks away, it got this fan to thinking. Star Wars turned thirty-five this year. The 501st Legion turns fifteen. I mention the Legion because you write what you know, and the Legion is a ‘child’ of Star Wars so it lends some interesting contrast. It’s been fun watching the Legion grow from nothing and it’s always fascinating to me watch Star Wars evolve during most of my life. As a forty-something with five daughters, one of them sixteen, it made me look at these two entities in a different light.

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What if Star Wars and the 501st were actual people? There’s Star Wars, no longer a zippy twenty-something able to get away with partying all night, having to hide its tattoos at the office, holding down a job and worrying about a mortgage and kids. And there’s the Legion, one of Star Wars’ many kids, a surly and emotional teen who thinks it knows it all.

Luckily dad invested heavily in his youth and kept his good looks, so tattoos and partying are still on the table. And because dad is cool he’s loaned the keys to the car to the Legion and her siblings and let them have some joy rides. Pretty cool family!

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Obviously pop culture entities like movie franchises and clubs don’t age like people. If anything they typically age a lot faster. The shelf life of most movie franchises is pretty short, and nowadays it gets shorter and shorter. Movie studios rush to capitalize as much as possible between theatrical release date and DVD release date. After that it’s pretty flat.

But not Star Wars, it shows no signs of slowing down. It’s all been said before: timeless tale, modern-day mythology. Star Wars hit at just the right time and with just the right ingredients to secure its spot in the collective consciousness and stay relevant. So when it throws a birthday party at thirty-five: watch out! This ain’t ‘over the hill’ signs and black balloons. No sir. The other franchises may turn in before sundown, but Star Wars rents out an amusement park for an all-nighter and invites the kids and all their friends!

I’m jazzed about Celebration VI. If you’ve never attended one then there’s no better time. Pop culture has taught celebrities that fans love them, so now your favorite actors show up to say ‘hi’. Can you imagine shooting the breeze with Boba Fett? They’ll have TWO of them!

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Regular fans have built robots and props and sets that rival the stuff from the saga – and you can touch them! There’s Stormtroopers hunting droids, pretty girls lounging around Jabba, swag affordable for everyone (even a father of five), and speaking of tattoos they’re doing those too!

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Yup, it’s a good time to be friends to a hipster thirty-something who knows the force and owns a lightsaber. I just wish he’d loan me the keys to the Falcon

Albin Johnson was a lowly stormtrooper on Detention Block 2551 before Lord Vader lost a bet and allowed him to found the 501st Legion “Vader’s Fist”. He’s also man-servant to R2-KT “the pink Imperial droid with the heart of gold”. You can learn more at 501st.com and r2kt.com or follow Albin’s off-duty antics at albinjohnson.com.

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