A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
I ended up in front of a computer as the great battle unfolded. I could leave nothing to chance and would rather have twice as many tickets as I needed than none at all. I immediately logged on to Fandango to find… nothing. A white screen glared at me. What was this? What the hell happened??? I refreshed! Nothing! Here in our moment of greatest need, the technology we loved and took for granted was failing in front of us. The blank screen stared at me as a white flag frighteningly being waved in surrender to the oncoming masses of fans in search of Star Wars tickets. I tried my phone. No luck. I downloaded the Fandango app. It would load but did not have the available times for Star Wars yet. Technology failed us. It failed us all.
Ok, let me back up a minute. It was actually ten years ago in a movie theater only 20 miles from where I currently sit, that I last got to see Star Wars on the big screen. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the original trilogy on VHS and have always had access to the films, but seeing them in a full fledged theater with a screen the size of my house and a sound system to boot is a different experience all together. I jumped at the chance on my tenth birthday to see the original Star Wars in theaters for the first time. Yes, it was the special edition. I never got to see Empire in that way, but I did see Jedi that year. So when Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005, I wanted to see it over and over again as I thought it was my last chance. You can say what you want about the prequels, but I love Revenge of the Sith. More importantly, I love Star Wars and wanted to experience it on the big screen the way it was supposed to be, larger than life, while I still could.
We currently sit at less than two months from the first new Star Wars movie in a decade (I’m not counting Clone Wars because it was clearly a rushed edit job of the first five episodes and not a movie itself). To say a new Star Wars is causing us nerds to be excited is an understatement. There is a countdown on my phone to the minute the show begins. I traveled to Anaheim earlier this year to be at Star Wars Celebration, just to run around in costume with other Star Wars fans, hold lightsaber duels, meet the stars and just to see our first glimpse of the new movie all to celebrate our adoration of the franchise that has changed the world like no other film. (Go ahead with that debate. I’m listening.) I’ve watched the films several times this year and in fact, the last time the Empire destroyed Alderaan, it blew up my subwoofer too. Damn Empire is always ruining everything. I’ve watched the trailers more times than I know. I’ve read more expanded universe books this year than any year before. Currently, there is one thing being played in my truck, John Williams! That’s it.
We are living in the awakening of a new generation of fandom as younglings are exposed to the ways of the force through new media like Clone Wars and Rebels and new video games like Battlefront. Fandom is starting to rise to new levels as even the non-force sensitive people are beginning to feel the excitement, which is exactly what lead to this Monday.
See, Disney and Lucasfilm already know that people like you and me are going to buy a ticket. They sold me one as soon as they announced the idea of a new trilogy years ago. We, the nerd community are a guaranteed ass in seat. So this Monday they did something incredibly bright for the marketing of the film. On Monday, they saved their greatest trailer to date for the biggest crowd to gather in front of a screen on Monday nights. They went for the Football crowd, because they knew even there, there would be another awakening.
Star Wars reaches beyond all walks of life. It’s the story of all us as we search on into the world hoping to be a part of something greater than ourselves. As Luke stands on the sand dune staring off into the double sun, he is all of us who wished for so much more, who wished for a life of consequence, who wished for a life of meaning. Luke is all of us as we live vicariously through him as he destroys the Death Star symbolically obliterating the oppressors of our own lives and defeating evil to allow good to reign.
In the time between films, people like me may be looked at strangely due to an obsessive fandom over something that “isn’t real” (because those lines they run the football across are “real” or the points they score or victories mean anything at all…), but even the haters can’t deny the magnetic appeal of the franchise when a new movie is out. I remember being made fun of in High School for my excitement but then seeing the same jock who mocked me at the opening night. When I worked for a rural Fire Department, I was bullied by some individuals whose neck showed certain red vibrancies, due to my love of the Wars, but in secret the biggest bully would tell me that he enjoyed the films too, but was too afraid to say anything in front of the others. My point is, even those who deem them lame end up paying their hard earned money for the viewing pleasure of Star Wars. Even the bullies can see attraction in the force when they don’t want anyone to know that they do.
So Monday night was more for the common fan than it was for me. Disney and Lucasfilm were reminding the largest audience in front of a television whether they be die hard fans like myself, the causal viewer who enjoys the films occasionally, to even those who don’t publicly admit they enjoy the films, that Star Wars is back in a big way, and what a trailer they used. Magnificent. See Kyle’s post from earlier this week for a break down of this wonderful minute and a half. This was followed by the biggest battle for tickets in … I don’t even know when.
The plan had been forged. Many of us at Nerd Union were indisposed or not able to guarantee to be near a computer to purchase tickets at the time of the great unleashing. It came down to Kenny. If you are a regular reader of the site, you may notice a recurring joke about free steak, by the way I still want mine medium rare Kenny. You may have seen a recurring hashtag #kennyisalwayslate. Well, as he stated in his post earlier this week, he wants to be the one to tell you that story, but all you need to know is that I had … concerns about the follow through on this. This isn’t just any movie. This is Star Wars! There is no room for error here and all faith fell on a man that has a heart of gold, but is certainly not the most punctual.
So I luckily was able to get to a computer at that time. Two people fighting for tickets for our group means twice the chance, but as I stared breathlessly at the frozen screen I called Kenny. No answer. “WTF Kenny!”
I texted Kenny. No answer. “WTF KENNY.”
I Facebooked Kenny. I GroupMe’d Kenny. I sent a raven with a scroll attached to a lightsaber to Kenny. No answer. “DAMMIT KENNY!!!!!!!!”
I refreshed again and again to no avail. Eventually a message came up saying something had gone wrong. That was as well received as being told that the chances of successfully flying a ship through an asteroid field is 725:1.
Kenny finally called me. He was trying also. He had had no success either. What else could we do?
Kenny was near the very IMAX theater we had planned to visit and he had the most ridiculous plan ever. He would actually leave his house, and drive to the theater. He would make actual human contact with someone and physically buy tickets. It was insane. Leave your house? We’re millennials! I don’t remember the last time I went somewhere to buy anything. That’s what Amazon is for, but this idea was so crazy it just might work.
Like an Ewok scurrying off to steal a speederbike, he made his way to the theater in what seemed like a guaranteed futile and hopeless hail mary. I would stay in front of my computer to keep refreshing, sacrificing my sanity to the repetitive mockery of a white screen denying me the one thing I desired. I was Han Solo in the Falcon with a broken hyperdrive that just won’t be fixed. With each passing second I could sense the tickets disappearing one by one. There would be none left for us by the time the site fixed itself. Our doom approached like Darth Vader on Luke in the Death Star Trench run, we could feel the lasers targeting us as the tickets were disappearing without our access.
“YEEHAW!” a text read across my screen as my own scoundrel friend showed up out of nowhere to save my ass and completely redeem himself proving his faithfulness and accountability was there all along. Ok it didn’t actually say yeehaw, but dammit that’s how it felt! Kenny would actually come through for us in the great battle for Star Wars Episode VII.
Kenny saved all our asses that day.
Kenny was a hero.