(Via Guest Writer Travis Crafts)
Star Wars is now a theme park.
Or, to be more precise, Star Wars is now a bona fide land at Disneyland with the East coast branch opening in August at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
There seems to be two different trains of thought concerning this.
On one side of the force there is is the concept of actually walking around in the universe that George Lucas created all of those years ago. Ordering a drink in a cantina while looking at the repurposed IG-88 heads behind the bar is almost too good to be true. Sitting in the Falcon’s cockpit, chatting with a First Order Stormtrooper and, I assume, shooing a Jawa away as they eyeball your cell phone with greedy intentions, are all now possibilities thanks to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Then there is the dark side of things…
In the Sylvester Stallone movie DEMOLITION MAN, Dan Cortese played a lounge singer at a Taco Bell in the future. He was belting out old commercial jingles as if they were Sinatra tunes.
“Down in the valley of the jolly green giant”.
Just like Mozart, huh?
Why bring up such a horrible bit of movie history? Because in the DEMOLITION MAN world, having those jingles performed was a nod to times gone past. Something that was once hip and cool, repackaged for those who were not around the first time. Mass market nostalgia for both aficionados and the layperson. Sound familiar?
By having a tribute, be it a musical rendition, theme park or Hollywood remake, the chance exists for the very thing that is being exalted to be made a parody of.
Is this reading too much into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Maybe. This franchise has weathered a 16 year cinematic drought with only a handful of books and video games to keep it afloat. It survived incensed fanboys, embarrassing themselves as they stuttered and stammered over gender. It navigated a path through the Holiday Special. If anything, Star Wars is tough.
However, now there is a barometer. A gauge in America that will let us know when Star Wars starts to slip -when it becomes too big for its own good or too polluted to maintain the purists in its fan base. A theme park attraction is the pop up timer in the turkey that is pop culture. When it goes off – that’s it. Times up. Ask Disney’s epic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea about running out of time in the public’s eye. While you are at it, how is Captain Eo doing lately? Has to be doing better that Mr Toad on his wild ride.
Whatever the end result is, Star Wars is a whole different beast than it was 10 years ago. As demonstrated with Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars will continue to grow and evolve, bringing in new fans and, quite possibly, losing old ones. The hope is that the end product is pure and continues to capture the hearts and minds of those looking to escape from their day to day grind.