The “Star Wars” universe started taking on this awful weight, and I started sinking under the hype surrounding it. I stayed home from Episodes I, II and III. The clips I’ve seen since — of senate hearings, awkward love scenes and long-eared Gungans — haven’t changed my mind about catching up.
Since then, it’s only gotten worse. “Star Wars” is more than a marketing phenomenon. If you believe census figures, there are hundreds of thousands of people who consider their religion “Jedi.” Auctions of “Star Wars” action figures — pieces of plastic manufactured for pennies back in the day — go for tens of thousands of dollars. Fans wind themselves up into states of Dark Side fury over perceived tweaks in characters and storylines. “Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams is probably getting ready to hide in a fallout shelter.
Even Lucas, who birthed the whole thing, has been taken aback.
In a 2012 Hollywood Reporter interview, he tried to tamp down the fever he’d seen from fans.
“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie,” he said. He’s made similar remarks with the coming of “The Force Awakens.”