I’m a nerd. I’ve been one since Pokemon first aired in little ol’ Aotearoa and I tried to make Pikachus out of modelling clay with my mum. The attempted Pikachus melted, I still loved them.
Much of my childhood was dominated by Pokemon, to the point that I would actually say my childhood was defined by it, as well as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. These franchises helped me form strong friendships, find a love for the creative, and explore an interest in books and film. Most of all, these things helped me encounter joy in hard times. Being a nerd is as much a part of me as my love for food.
Recently, cynicism has been everywhere. Or, has it always been? It seems that whenever enough people love something, a vocally negative group pops up to disagree. So let’s talk positive:
There have been three defining moments for me recently that sparked something inside me. As if, for just a second, the clouds had parted and sunlight had shone down upon me. Weird, right? Who even remembers what happiness feels like these days? Not me, apparently.
Wait, didn’t I say I was going to talk positive?
For some, Star Wars is a hobby. For others, it is their life. This goes for people of all ages from all backgrounds, regardless of gender, race, or age. Something truly beautiful about the saga is how it can bond people—from friends to family to complete strangers.
My latest interviewee is a friend found through our mutual love of Star Wars, thanks to a network on Tumblr. Her jokes about Darth Wheezy were what initially made me think she was Too Damn Cool (and really, her jokes are hilarious).
A twenty-year-old who speaks her mind, Mára Kuryt:nîk grew up in various locations in Canada. Her native tongue is French-Canadian and her second language is English. Her mama is of Ukrainian descent and her papa is of Mohawk and Māori descent.
Until she was eight-years-old she thought Star Wars was real and had happened in the past, and had to see someone for about two years before finally accepting the truth. Life just hasn’t been as fun since. You can find her on Tumblr, and hear her A+ mixes on 8tracks.
Something that is unique to Star Wars is the generational shifts that have occurred over the past near-forty years, from the older fans, the ones that grew up with the Original Trilogy; the fans like me, who first experienced Star Wars on the silver screen through the Prequels, whose childhood crushes were the Padawan Obi-Wan; and the kids who were introduced to the GFFA through the animated series of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Soon enough will come the generation of the Sequel Trilogy and the Stories.
We are a fandom split across a massive time span. Each generation of fans has a different take on the saga, their own individual part of the galaxy they are drawn towards. I tend to the younger side of my fandom circles, and even then I’m an Old Fart compared to some of my other Star Wars buddies.
Even though I’m relatively young, I notice that voices that are younger still are often ignored, or aren’t given a proper platform to speak about their own experiences with the series and the fandom. Thus I am doing a series of interviews of younger fans, each under twenty years old, to try and capture the opinions of the younger generation—the people that will one day inherit this saga and make it their own.
My first interviewee is the lovely Liza, known as Bookybarnes on Tumblr, a sixteen-year-old student currently living in the States who is a relatively new fan of the galaxy far, far away. Introduced mainly through Tumblr and The Clone Wars, Liza embodies the generation being brought to Star Wars through the animated shows and internet culture rather than the films themselves.
One of the first characters I ever wanted to be was Leia Organa. Or Supergirl. A force-sensitive princess, a super-powered alien gal — they were both basically everything a four-year-old Saf could ever have dreamt of being. And while I didn’t know it at the time, they were the first characters I ever felt the urge to cosplay.