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Starlog Archives: Is Star Wars Fandom Dead?

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Earlier this week, We looked at an interview with Sigourney Weaver from the August 1996 issue of Starlog magazine.  The cover prominently featured a picture of Weaver as Ellen Ripley from that summer’s sequel, Aliens.  But what caught readers’ eye was a blurb that seems unthinkable twenty years later.  Starlog magazine, a haven for sci fi geeks of the eighties, asked the question “Is Star Wars fandom dead?”

Twenty years later when a steady stream of new movies and merchandise are flooding the market, such a question seems absurd.  But a few years after Return of the Jedi was released, the franchise went dormant for a few years.  Here is a reminder of those dark days.

As you can imagine the Star Wars fans of the mid-eighties didn’t like hearing that their childhood obsession was over.  Fans wrote letters protesting the premature eulogy for Star Wars.

… It was very timely for me to receive my August
issue of STARLOG and first notice on the cover
“Bulletin: Is Star Wars Fandom Dead?” Just the
day before, I was wondering the exact same thing
as I sat down to send away for some of the Star
Wars toys we don’t have.

Obviously, George Lucas wants to branch out
into other areas of movie making and I ‘m sure no
one can blame him for that. My daughters and I
will be interested in any project put out by
Lucasfilm since we trust Lucas’ reputation for
“interesting” ideas. I would hope Star Wars
movies will be in his future plans, but I honestly
couldn’t blame him if he wanted a name change
when they are made.

Isn’t anyone besides me tired of hearing the
term “Star Wars” in reference to Reagan’s SDI
program? I know Lucas lost a lawsuit in trying to
halt the use of that name, and I was very sorry to
hear it. It’s sad for kids (the ones who actually
play with the toys instead of just collecting them)
because now they’ll have Luke as the good ol’
American boy who tries to blast the Russian
Darth Vader.

 

. . .STARLOG #109 says Star Wars fandom is
dead. I totally disagree with that statement! I
believe millions of fans still love the trilogy. In my
opinion, Star Wars is the greatest saga of our
time. We can’t let it be forgotten!

Lucasfilm should do another six movies. If
they don’t do any more, they should let someone
else take over.

 

… I really miss Star Wars movies. I just can’t im-
agine Star Wars being gone forever. It has always
been a part of my childhood. I grew up with them.

I can remember that great summer day in 1983,
the first time I ever saw Return of the Jedi, sitting
in the theater, crowds cheering, clapping and ap-
plauding for my favorite heroes. The tears drip-
ped from my eyes at the end.

I could never turn my back on Star Wars and
leave it forever. It has given me too much — six
wonderful years of adventure. The love that I
carry for Star Wars will be with me always.

 

Farewell, Star Wars. Farewell to the Force,
farewell to romance, farewell to Luke, and
farewell to a childhood.

 

The ending of the Star Wars comic book and
Fan Club might seem to be the end of the fandom ,
but they are not. They were only vehicles of the
fandom and the fandom continues.

We are sure that every Star Wars fan
remembers standing in line waiting with anticipa-
tion to see any episode of the saga. Those were ex-
periences that no true Star Wars fan could ever
forget. The friends made are proof of that.

It is understandable that the enthusiasm would
wane when the movies seem to be on indefinite
hiatus. But this does not mean that the people are
no longer fans. Star Wars lives on in the hearts of
the true Star Wars fans.

In the (almost) words of Thomas Paine: These
are the times that try fans’ souls. The summer Jedi
and the sunshine knight will, in this crisis, shrink
from the fandom; but he that stands it now
deserves the title of true fan.

May the Force be with you!

 

. . STARLOG # 109 hit a nerve and I’m compell-
ed to reply to the glaring cover blurb: “Is Star
Wars Fandom Dead?” The answer, despite the
generally gloomy report in Fan Network, is a re-
sounding and unequivocal NO! What we are is
unorganized. The Official Star Wars Fan Club
never actively encouraged the organization of
local fan clubs and there has never been, to my
knowledge, anything like the Star Trek Welcom-
mittee or Star Trek Directory for Star Wars fans.
I would like to announce the formation of the
Star Wars Fan Alliance, dedicated to com-
munication and community within Star Wars
Fandom. I invite all interested parties to send a
long SASE for information on our first project.

 

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Posted on August 7, 2016, in Movies, Star Wars, Starlog Archives and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. jeffthewildman

    A year later Mel Brooks would spoof the Star Wars films and universe with Spaceballs. Indeed, it’s easy to wonder if maybe he read this and set out to spoof as a way of making it relevant again.

    Like

    • Based on Spaceballs, I don’t think Brooks cared much for Star Wars. With Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein you could feel Brooks’ affection for the genre. In Spaceballs, he seemed more interested in spoofing The Wizard of Oz. I remember when Spaceballs came out, it was criticized for being late to the party.

      Like

    • That may have been Brooks’ intent, although as lebeau says it’s far from certain, but I don’t recall that it had that effect.

      Like

  2. The Marvel Star Wars comic may have fizzled out by 1986 but at its peak during 1978 – 1979 it was literally Marvel’s biggest selling comic book, and by a huge margin. Marvel’s 2nd biggest title Amazing Spiderman was selling somewhere around maybe 200,000 copies per month; at the peak of Star Wars mania the Star Wars comic was selling upwards of over 1,000,000 copies per month.

    In the mid to late 70’s Marvel was in terrible financial shape and there was even talk that Marvel could shut down. Former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter has stated in interviews that the Star Wars comic saved Marvel from closing.

    Like

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