Look, I loved Star Wars as much as the next guy.

zahnI had the Star Wars bedsheets. I built an Ewok village in the woods behind my house. My love for my Uncle Dale is based largely on the fact that he bought me a snowspeeder one Christmas. I remember vividly seeing Return of the Jedi in theaters with my Mom. I was 7.

But, I dunno, I kind of drifted out of it in high school. I recall rewatching Empire Strikes Back on TV — the good one, right? — and thinking “this dialog’s a little stilted.” And I did not have especially good taste as a teenager.

I sold almost all of my action figures to my biology teacher around 1993 … yep, only a few years before they might have been worth something.

I caught the first of the reissues in college, but I skipped the second two. Count me as a “Han shoots first” partisan. My primary experience of the original trilogy is a VHS set of the original, unfucked version. Those tapes don’t show a lot of wear.

And yeah, I saw the prequels. I can tell you the exact moment I sat up during Episode I and said “That was bullshit.” It’s when Qui-Gon and Darth Maul have a desultory fight on the ramp to the silver shuttle, and Qui-Gon just jumps aboard. It’s two swings and it’s over. We missed a cool lightsaber battle so we could watch a space rastafarian step in space poo.

It’s not that I can’t enjoy Star Wars. I caught the first season of the Clone Wars show on the Cartoon Network … I think Kevin Church referred to that series as the last time he sought out a Star Wars piece and actively enjoyed it. That’s about right.

But the nail in the coffin was something I actually really liked: Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. I devoured the whole series in about five days in 1998, losing basically a whole week of work productivity. I remember sitting in my car between assignments, anxiously reading the book. It’s expertly plotted, epicin scope, and brings the sci-fi action. Most notably, for the first time it gives an idea of the philosophy of the Imperial Navy.

Then I read the Dark Empire, an early 90s comic series from Dark Horse. It’s a standard GvsE with the Emperor returning in clone bodies, him tempting Luke for some reason, and friggin’ planet crushers.


The Zahn books are a hell of a lot better, but Dark Empire is a lot more Star Wars.

I’ll always be a fan of the original series, and I’ll watch new stuff if I have reason to believe it’ll be good. But I’m far from a fanatic.