Here’s how to reawaken the force of your own love for the franchise.
We’re mere weeks away from one of the most anticipated films in recent memory, and many fans are feeling the full force of the Star Wars marketing machine. We’re on the Star Wars hype train and there’s no sign of stopping—but what about people who need to make a pit stop along the way, or get off the ride altogether?
The excitement surrounding The Force Awakens has never been greater. We’ve seen less than 10 minutes of footage, but the four trailers and various TV spots still demand our attention. Over the past few weeks, The Force Awakens‘ press tour has gone into hyperdrive. We’ve been bombarded with mostly uneventful but well-hyped cast interviews. Star Wars is turning up everywhere from late-night comedy to the AMAs, with Star Wars Battlefront invading the first-person-shooter community. And then there are the commercial tie-ins, from the intriguing to the faux-incendiary. And if early box-office predictions and early ticket sales are any indication, we’ll be getting new Star Wars films for a very long time—and a new marketing onslaught with each one.
Are you exhausted yet?
It makes sense that Lucasfilm and Disney are pushing so hard: this is the first Star Wars film in more than 10 years, and its success will likely determine the extent of future films in the franchise. The studios know fan burnout is a possibility and have put in place an “extremely deliberate” marketing plan in order to avoid Star Wars fatigue.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Some fans want to enter theaters knowing almost nothing, while some want to find out every detail well before the movie is officially released. For every fan who can’t get enough of it or wants to see even more footage, there are those who might end up feeling bitter if they saw a spoiler. No matter your feelings on The Force Awakens‘ rollout, we feel your pain.
Luckily, there’s hope out there for everyone to enjoy the movie at their own pace and return joyously to the Star Wars universe.
So where do you fit in? Just answer one question: At this moment in time, how sick are you of seeing Star Wars marketing everywhere you go?
Pick your answer from our fan burnout levels below and then read our tips for how to shore up your love until Dec. 18 arrives.
HELP: I don’t like Star Wars and it’s taken over the Internet! / HELP: I’m about to be spoiled!
Ironically, these diametrically opposed stances put you in exactly the same position: you don’t want to see another thing about Star Wars when you’re completely surrounded by it. That’s rough. You basically have to ignore the entire Internet and most media—an unrealistic option—or take matters into your own hands. And even then, you can only hope for the best. Here are our tips for giving it your best shot.
1) Install the Star Wars Spoiler Blocker extension
While this spoiler-free existence might seem ideal, there’s a huge downside: you can’t whitelist any websites. According to its reviewers, potentially vital sites like Gmail and Amazon get blocked along with everything else (including the extension’s own website). So if you need to be on a page that could potentially have a Star Wars spoiler, it’s all or nothing—which might be exactly what some fans want.
2) Mute your Twitter feeds
With Star Wars news making the rounds every hour for The Force Awakens, simply unfollowing accounts isn’t realistic anymore. To weed out that Star Wars content without quitting Twitter altogether, the Mute feature is your friend.
In TweetDeck, the process is simple. Head over to the wheel on the bottom left side of your screen and select “Settings.” From there, hit the “Mute” feature, where you’ll be able to type in any keywords or accounts you want hidden from your columns.
The Twitter website won’t let you mute keywords or hashtags, but you can mute accounts that are then also muted in TweetDeck. In order to mute an account, select the ellipsis on any of that account’s tweets and click “Mute,” or go to the user’s Twitter page and select “Mute” from the settings wheel.
To access those muted accounts later, click on your avatar in the top right corner, select “Settings,” and navigate to “Muted accounts.”
3) Use Unspoiler to navigate the Web
Unspoiler is another Google Chrome extension aimed at hiding spoilers, but instead of blocking an entire page it blocks individual words while still giving you the option to see the spoiler anyway. Unfortunately, it won’t work with Facebook trending topics, but pretty much everywhere else is fair game.
4) Tumblr Savior is your Tumblr savior
As for which words to block on any of these extensions and apps, here are a few suggestions, although we can’t say this is a comprehensive list.
- Star Wars, StarWars, @starwars, SW
- The Force Awakens, TheForceAwakens, TFA
- Character names: Finn, Rey, Han Solo, Leia, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, Maz Kanata, Captain Phasma, Supreme Leader Snoke, General Hux, R2D2, C-3PO, BB-8 (apologies in advance to anyone who shares a name with a Star Wars character)
- Places, things, and concepts: Tatooine, Jakku, Jedi, Lightsaber(s), , Resistance, First Order, Star Destroyer, Stormtroopers
- Cast and crew: J.J. Abrams, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis. (Any of their Twitter accounts are fair game as well.)
- For extra-safe measure: George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm, Jar Jar Binks (you never know.)
HELP: “I’m already burnt out from Star Wars and I haven’t even seen it yet!”
When Star Wars news was scarce, you gobbled it up. You watched the trailers multiple times and duked it out for movie tickets. But since then you’ve hit a wall—the endless buzz has transformed from a favorite song into an annoying earworm. Whether you need a break or just a different perspective, here’s a rundown on how to re-awaken your inner fan.
1) Rediscover why you fell in love with the films in the first place
Each of the Star Wars films is magical in its own way. The characters, the story, the fantasy of that galaxy far, far away—they hooked you the first time around. So I’m going to suggest doing something completely ridiculous to combat your Star Wars fatigue: watch more Star Wars.
To freshen the experience, try varying the watch order. You could watch by release order or numerical order. You could try Machete Order, in which you watch Episodes IV and V, get to the Darth Vader reveal, then go back and watch Episodes II and III (skipping The Phantom Menace), and end with Return of the Jedi. Or you could just mix it up. Watch only the original trilogy, or just the prequels. It’s up to you!
Sit back, put away your phone for a few hours, and get hooked again in 12 parsecs. Maybe you’ll find even more evidence to support that Evil Jar Jar theory. Or dig out your old Star Wars toys to reenact those big battles—because when we watch Star Wars, we’re all kids again.
Although the existing Star Wars films don’t have many female characters or racial diversity—something Abrams and Lucasfilm made sure to improve on this time around—their stories hold up considerably well, even if some of the visual effects don’t. The movies are rich, they’re timeless, and they’ve got compelling characters to root for and against. Even Darth Vader, a terrifying villain in his own right, isn’t completely black and white. And even if rewatching doesn’t completely recapture the magic, you’ll have a fresh memory of all the potential plot points that could come up in The Force Awakens.
Bonus: It’s the holidays, so if you’ve got a young family member who hasn’t seen Star Wars yet, sit them down and jump-start their journey. Their sense of wonder upon being introduced to the saga will be infectious, and their reaction upon seeing the Darth Vader reveal alone will be worth the investment.
2) Remember that we’re getting BB-8 and that’s a great thing
Many of us weren’t around to experience the initial hype around Star Wars—and beloved droid R2-D2—when the film was released in 1977. But we imagine it might have been something like discovering BB-8, the new darling of the Star Wars universe.
Introduced in the first trailer and in vintage-looking character cards last year, BB-8 was a soccer ball of robotic mystery until he was introduced to a roaring crowd at Star Wars Celebration. While he was controlled by puppeteers during filming, the model that debuted at Celebration is a moving, fully functional robot. No CGI here, not even to take out guide wires.
BB-8’s debut practically guaranteed that the droid would be the hottest toy of the holiday season. So if you have a BB-8 of your own, take a good look at it. If you have Sphero’s version of the droid, play with it. Pull up a video of dogs and cats reacting to it, or better yet, let your own pet play with it. Let the joy flow through you—and appreciate that, if nothing else, we now have a GIF of Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam playing David Beckham kicking the droid.
BB-8 is a beautiful cinnamon roll until we learn otherwise.
3) Take a break
There’s no shame in admitting that you need to step away from Star Wars fandom for a bit. You need a breather, whether it’s for a few hours or a few days. Part of that comes with installing any of the aforementioned blockers.
But as much as it feels that way, Star Wars isn’t the only thing on the Internet right now. This is a great time for TV: Jessica Jones and The Man in the High Castle debuted on streaming services a few weeks ago, and there’s still plenty of time to binge-watch them, not to mention everything else that Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Now, and Hulu have to offer.
Have you listened to Adele’s new album lately? It’s saved holidays! And the cast recording of Broadway mega-hit Hamilton recently became the #1 rap album in the country! In it, Alexander Hamilton’s wife urges him to take a break from obsessing over his passion, inviting him to come outside and get some fresh air with her for a while. He ignored her, and look what happened to him.
Don’t make the same mistake as Hamilton. As silly as it may seem, going outside or spending more time with your family could be enough to inject a little perspective into your day before you dive right back into the Star Wars insanity.
HELP: I’ve got a fever and the only thing that will cure it is more Star Wars!
Whether this is your first real run-in with Star Wars fandom or you’re an old pro, almost nothing compares to the excitement right before the release of a Star Wars film. (Yes, even that one.) Your problem is the opposite of the one facing most fans on our list: you need more and you need it stat. Luckily, there are so many dimensions of the Star Wars universe for you to explore, both in and out of canon, that there’s always a way to ramp that excitement factor up to 11.
1) Read the comics
Star Wars comics have long been a tradition for fans. The series resided at Marvel from 1977 to 1987, was published by Dark Horse Comics from 1991 to 2014, and returned to Marvel in 2015 when Disney, which also owns Marvel Entertainment, purchased Lucasfilm.
The current run of comics bridge the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars and Darth Vader are the two main ongoing series—available through Comixology and in trade volumes—but Marvel has also released limited-run series focused on Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca; another mini-series starring Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi will begin early next year. (A C-3PO one-shot comic, to be released in February, will explain how the droid got his new red arm.)
Kanan: The Last Padawan, another ongoing series, stars a familiar face from Star Wars Rebels, and the four-part Shattered Empire event gave us hints about The Force Awakens and introduced us to Poe Dameron’s parents, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron. And if you’re a fan of Expanded Universe elements like the game Knights of the Old Republic, you have even more to choose from among the non-canon comics now branded “Legends.”
2) Build a Star Wars Lego set
We love Star Wars. We love Lego. Naturally, when the two come together, it’s a match made in consumer heaven. You may be well outside of the recommended age group for any of the Lego Star Wars sets, but they’re still just as fun for adults, even ones who haven’t built sets in years. We recommend the newest Millennium Falcon set, but any of the sets offer the joy (and hopefully none of the pain) you had as a kid.
3) Watch The Clone Wars and/or Star Wars Rebels
While we haven’t had a film in over a decade, Star Wars has been killing it since 2008 with two separate animated TV shows, the Emmy Award-winning The Clone Wars (2008-2014) and the newcomer Star Wars Rebels (which premiered in late 2014). Both shows are set during noted time gaps in the Star Wars film saga. They each feature character depth, political intrigue, and big reveals that will change how you look at fan-favorite characters. Plus, many members of the film franchise cast have returned to reprise their roles.
The Clone Wars follows Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Anakin’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano in the three-year war between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Despite hearing about the Clone Wars as early as A New Hope, we never really got to see much of the Clone Wars in the prequel films, but the animated series delivered plenty of backstory and insight into a crucial time in the history of the Star Wars universe. The feature-length film that introduced it all, as well as the six seasons that followed, are all available to stream on Netflix.
Star Wars Rebels takes place five years before A New Hope (and 14 years after The Clone Wars) as the Galactic Empire hunts down the remaining Jedi Knights while fighting off a burgeoning rebellion. The series stars a Jedi who survived Order 66 as a Padawan; a young, Force-strong street urchin; a former bounty hunter and Imperial cadet; a talented pilot and rebel captain; and an alien who served in his planet’s honor guard until the Empire wiped out his species.
Rebels has gained a devoted fan following for its emphasis on well-developed characters and gripping plotlines. And with The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni executive-producing Rebels, and other creatives involved in both series, there are many links between the shows. So if you haven’t watched either, you might want to watch The Clone Wars first.
4) Pretend you’re bathing in blue milk
Many of us remember blue milk, which first makes an appearance in Luke’s home in A New Hope. Recreating a physical version is a bit more difficult than just adding food dye to milk, but we can use our imaginations by adding a Lush bathbomb (such as Intergalactic) to one tub and soaking in some blue goodness.
You may have a long wait when you finally get to the theater for The Force Awakens, so relax before standing in line for hours (unless you managed to score tickets in a theater with assigned seats).
5) Share your enthusiasm with other fans
Sometimes all it takes to lift someone else’s moment of burnout and revive their love for the franchise is a nerdy chat with fellow fans. So if you’re one of those fans who’s still riding high on your own passion for the series, don’t be afraid to let it show! Plenty of fans around you are also in varying stages of Star Wars fatigue. You probably shouldn’t flog them over the head with trivia they’re sick of, but don’t be afraid to remind them how much there is to be excited about. A little enthusiasm from friends can go a long way—and you’ll be keeping your own engine burning in the process.
Illustration by Max Fleishman