The Escapist Magazine
Issue 156
Star Wars
A long time ago ... a single film spawned a media empire, and it hasn't stopped yet.
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

"The Star Wars movies are rarity when it comes to sci-fi; not only do they appeal to the hardcore geeks of the world, they've also managed to make hardcore fans out of many a skeptic (myself among them) through their combination of strong stories, powerful visuals, and a romantic sense of adventure.

"For those in the creative industry, however, the Star Wars films offer something more. Science fiction authors from around the world struggle for the honor of contributing to the Star Wars Expanded Universe; and those who work in the games industry try to leave their own mark, often creating critically acclaimed, best-selling games in the process - which brings us to Drew Karpyshyn."

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"The marketing genius didn't stop there. Multimedia was the next frontier, the next section of the Outer Rim to conquer in the name of the Empire. Writers created new adventures spanning books, comics and videogames. The media invasion gave other talented artists and storytellers a chance to inhabit the universe and create their own piece of Star Wars fiction. That Lucas allowed fans to create new stories and mythologies is both the greatest triumph of the Star Wars saga - and its undoing."

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"Of course, Star Wars was popular when it was first released. But it wasn't the sudden, galaxy shattering event we like to remember. It was a good kids' movie that everyone could enjoy; the revolution came much later. In fact, I'd argue Star Wars didn't really happen until The Empire Strikes Back.

"And for me personally, it wasn't even the sequel that cemented the Jedi mythology in my consciousness. It was the licensing; the merchandising phenomenon that actually paid for the next two movies and recouped the costs of the original. That's what really spread the Skywalker name across cinematic history and drew me toward the Dark side of Star Wars obsession at such a vulnerable age."

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"In October of 2007, in honor of Star Wars' 30th anniversary, the space shuttle Discovery carried into space a prop representing the franchise's success; not a Jar Jar Binks tongue lollipop, but the lightsaber used by Mark Hamill in 1983's Return of the Jedi, an icon rich in symbolism. Without its young hero and his lightsaber, Star Wars might have been just another Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, a tall glass of pulp filled with blasters and space ships, robots and aliens, lacking the central, mythic story arc that made it so memorable.

"This was nearly the case."

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"My parents' generation was informed by great and powerful things. By the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the deaths of John Kennedy, his brother Robert and Martin Luther King. Before them, my grandparents were raised on dirt, suffering through the Great Depression with a grim determination to do it better for their kids. Me? I grew up making six-inch-tall replicas of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher have sex in the backseat of a toy space ship. Now I write about games for a living. Perhaps a little struggling is good for the soul. If I have children, they'll eat dirt."

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