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.
What originally got you into Star Wars?
I saw a couple gifs of the show The Clone Wars on Tumblr and decided to watch the show, and then my friend Sophie showed me the movies.
What about The Clone Wars initially drew you to it?
The animation, definitely. I’m an art student, mainly, so that sort of aesthetic and animation was just MY THING. The music was another plus, since I’m also a music student. And the character design was just interesting as well. So mainly the appearance. I AM A SHALLOW FAN OK.
As a younger fan, which areas of the fandom do you feel most comfortable in?
Actually, to be honest, I don’t exactly feel comfortable in any area of the fandom. Due to most of the people being older than me and having been fans longer than me, some of the topics they talk about are darker and just not my speed.
I can imagine you’re not fond of the way Ahsoka was often sexualized by older fans?
I’m not a fan of any sort of sexualization. But no, I am not a fan of her being sexualized by older fans, at all. She’s an inspiration to younger girls and she is a role model, and to see her being reduced to little more than a sex tool is enough to make me want to go dark side.
Being a fan of The Clone Wars characters like Ahsoka Tano and Riyo Chuchi, how much do you think the number of female characters affected your love for the show?
Ahsoka definitely grew on me and I grew attached to her as the series progressed. I mean, I also grew attached to the other characters, but the females really had an impact on me. I mean, when Ahsoka left, so did some of my interest in the show, but I still loved the other characters so I didn’t stop watching.
Are there any Star Wars characters you identify with in particular and if so, why them?
I actually identify with Anakin, sadly enough. He struggles with doing the right thing, with his emotions, with his anger. I struggle in the same way, although I’ve never committed genocide. He’s constantly pushed down by someone in a position of power, and even when he’s feeling alright, its not hard to see just how much of his confidence is fake, and how much he just doubts himself and his abilities. I can relate to that and I know how he feels.
Which era would you consider “your” era, and do you think your age is a factor in this?
The Prequels, definitely. My age probably has a factor in it as most Prequel fans are around my age and most OT fans are…Purists??
As someone who didn’t grow up a fan of the Original Trilogy, what are your feelings on it?
To be perfectly honest, I love the OT, but, I have to say I love the PT a bit more. BLASPHEMY RIGHT? I mean, I love the PT for the characters, the destruction of morals and for the fact that we see the effects of war, not only on the people fighting, but on the citizens. I love the PT for showing us more of the galaxy beyond Alderaan, Hoth, and Tatooine. I love the OT for that story of hope and the defeat of evil.
Are you excited for the The Force Awakens and the Anthology films, or do you have reservations about what’s to come?
Oh definitely. I love continuations. I love seeing how stories continue, even if there are no open plot points. I love seeing characters becoming old characters and the introduction of new characters, like the introduction of new fans. I love the fact that there will be a generation that grows up with this trilogy and this series.
What do you want to see the most from the New Canon?
More females? How about more depth into the Jedi and the Force? I want to see the story develop even more, and I want to see these new characters grow and develop, like we did for the OT and PT.
What can older and more established fans of Star Wars do to make the fandom a safer and more comfortable place for newer and younger fans like you?
Uh, a little bit less sexual content? A little less focus on sexual relationships I guess? I want to see the focus on friendships, on close bonds, sexual or not. The focus on hope and those lessons that the series taught us. And maybe a bit less looking down on us younger and newer fans would be nice.