Why We Love Star Wars: An Open Letter to Fandom
Dear Star Wars fan,
My first Star Wars memories were watching A New Hope (before it was called that) on HBO; playing with 3.75” Luke Skywalker and Han Solo figures in my backyard; making lightsabers out of paper towel rolls; and picking my jaw up off the floor when I was given a Tie Fighter for Christmas. I never had the privilege of seeing the Original Trilogy in theaters (we weren’t a movie going family), but I shook with unbelief when Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back . And when I finally got the chance to see the Rebellion defeat the Emperor in Return of the Jedi, I was both satisfied and saddened. I believed my Star Wars journey had ended.
I’ll never forget sitting in a movie theater in the late 90’s when the iconic Lucasfilm logo came up on the screen and the trailer for The Phantom Menace began to play. I was taken, once again, to a galaxy far, far away. But even more than that, I was transported back to a simpler time when the good guys were good, the bad guys were bad, and it was easy to tell the difference. But Star Wars grew up with me. In Attack of the Clones, I couldn’t believe it when the Stormtroopers of the future were revealed to have been the descendants of the Clones from Ben Kenobi’s war. And I wept when Anakin Skywalker shouted “I hate you!” to his Jedi Master turned brother. But again, when the credits rolled on Revenge of the Sith, I was convinced that my Star Wars fandom would be relegated to DVD’s and Expanded Universe novels.
It was during the Prequel Trilogy that my two sons, Samuel and Nathan were born. They were both too young to see the Prequels in theaters with me. And I always had a wish, buried deep within me, that I could someday see Star Wars in theaters with them. When the animated feature, The Clone Wars, was released, they both dressed in Clone Trooper Halloween costumes and carried their own blasters to the theater. But as much as we loved seeing Star Wars on the big screen, something wasn’t the same. It wasn’t Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie. And if I’m honest - neither of them really “got” my Star Wars obsession. They humored me when I’d insist on “Machete Order” marathons for my birthday. We tried watching Star Wars: Rebels a few times. But Star Wars was “Dad’s thing.”
And then on Thanksgiving Weekend 2014, the teaser for The Force Awakens broke YouTube, and something awakened in Sam and Nate. I watched their faces when Finn stood up in his Stormtrooper armor; when Rey sped across the sands of a planet I was convinced was Tatooine; when Poe flew his X-Wing just feet across the water; and when Kylo Ren ignited that insane crossguard lightsaber. They were in awe. But when they played that teaser again… and again… and again, I knew that the Force was in them.
We went back to try Rebels a second time. We fell in love with Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios, Chopper and Ezra Bridger. The Force is strong with the crew of The Ghost.
Nothing could have prepared us for the adventure in store. We laughed and cried when Han said, “Chewie, we’re home.” When Darth Vader made his reappearance in Rogue One, we cheered and pumped our fists. And when we were given the honor of sitting on the stage at Star Wars Celebration Orlando to watch Warwick Davis interview Anthony Daniels at the 40 Years with Threepio panel, we were 100% sure our fan-experience had reached its zenith.
We couldn't have been more wrong.
In December 2017 (after a failed YouTube show attempt), we plopped a Yeti Blue microphone onto our kitchen table of our townhouse in California and recorded the first episode of Tatooine Sons: A Star Wars Podcast. A few weeks later, we were invited to IMAX Headquarters in Hollywood for a special screening of The Last Jedi with 100 other fans, followed by a Q&A with the film’s writer/director, Rian Johnson.
When BB-N8 (Nathan) asked Rian: “What’s the name of the porg on the Millennium Falcon?” our Star Wars fandom was launched into hyperspace.
Since then, we’ve had the honor to tour Lucasfilm Headquarters in San Francisco, interview some of the most amazing actors and authors, and see Terbus the Porg canonized in the all ages comic series, Star Wars Adventures, Issues 27-29. And there’s so much more coming!
But more than all of that, this Star Wars adventure has brought Sam, Nate and I closer together. It’s given me a natural way to share stories of good and evil, right and wrong, life and death - to restore the balance of the Force - with my sons.
It’s also brought us together with you. The memories we’ve made with you at podcast meetups, Star Wars Celebration, eating bad bar food and loving every bite at Scum and Villainy Cantina, hanging out at WalMart for Triple Force Friday, or trying to peer through the crowds to catch a glimpse of Mark Hamill on Hollywood Boulevard are cherished, and will be for the rest of our lives.
To all of you who are already a part of our Star Wars experience - we love you. Thank you for the love you’ve shown us.
To all of you we’ve yet to meet - welcome to the Tatooine Sons family. We don’t take you for granted. You could listen to any of thousands of other Star Wars podcasts. We promise to always keep our corner of fandom positive and full of HOPE.
With The Mandalorian, Cassian Andor, and Kenobi on the horizon, the High Republic poised to captivate our imaginations, and a new trilogy coming in 2022, the future of Star Wars is bright. We can’t wait for you to take this journey with us.
May the Force be with you,
David “The Bow Tie Jedi Guy” Jesse
Tatooine Sons: A Star Wars Podcast is an intergenerational conversation teaching character and values through the lens of Star Wars.