Was it as sad as this article makes it out to be?
A convention almost killed 'Star Wars'
Cheesy merch, bad music mar movie's 30th anniversary
By Robert Morast
Published: May 31, 2007
Sitting in a dark convention center hall in Los Angeles with thousands of fellow "Star Wars" nerds celebrating the film's 30th anniversary, it became clear that "Star Wars" is dead, and I was attending its funeral.
A mediocre pianist played mournful renditions of "Star Wars" score music, while a pack of D-list actors propped up as stars because they once wore an X-wing Fighter outfit or squeezed into an Ewok costume ate cake in honor of the film's birthday party-cum-fan convention wrongly dubbed "Celebration IV."
Despite Jay Laga'aia - another "Star Wars" D-lister - singing "Celebration," it was a sad affair that spiraled into depression when the convention workers gave each crowd member a piece of cake that tasted like stale bread spread with butter.
After years of devotion "Star Wars" creator George Lucas - absent, save for a taped video message - said "let them eat bad cake." And sadly, the fans swallowed it with the same blind devotion that allowed them to devour the franchise's disappointing prequel trilogy.
It's obvious to anyone who walks through a store's toy section or visits the myriad fan videos posted on YouTube, that "Star Wars" is far from the death bed. It's still a cultural - and economic - force.
But as we reflect on 30 years of this mind-expanding film, it's worth wondering if the vitality and imagination that made "Star Wars" a rite of passage have evaporated.
Wandering around a convention that asks you to pay $20 for an autograph by a guy who played a storm trooper in snow gear and that presents seminars encouraging vacant thought on whether Greedo shot first, it was difficult to remember that this is a film that shaped my life.
As a child streaked by the dirt of cowboy country, the magic of light-speed space flight and towering, benevolent hairy beasts fighting for justice informed me of a level of thought that escaped reality. I was an acolyte who spent hours playing with action figures and laid in bed trying to flip the light switch with my mind a la any force-wielding Jedi Knight.
Leaving Los Angeles, I wondered if I also was leaving behind the part of me that still found wonder in a galaxy far, far away. Because in my heart, "Star Wars" felt dead.
"It's kept alive by the people who love it," director Kyle Newman said during a panel previewing his upcoming "Star Wars"-centric "Fanboys" film.
Perhaps. But these days, the fanboys have blind devotion to "Star Wars." Their questions don't presuppose change. And the franchise's gatekeepers discourage criticism that defies the strictures of "Star Wars" canon.
With that realization, I was ready to trade in my Luke Skywalker T-shirt for a plain black shirt and mope like a melancholy Imperial officer.
Then, like a message from Yoda, The History Channel saved me.
I returned home Monday evening just in time to view "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed."
Watching a pack of cultural thinkers ranging from collegiate theologians to Newt Gingrich, I was reborn by the glow of The Force.
In this two-hour program, academics tied "Star Wars" plotlines to mythological archetypes. R2-D2's and C-3PO's droid humor was compared to Laurel and Hardy routines. And it reminds us that the wonder of "Star Wonder" is that it uses fantasy to set up core moral values or explain the desires of our id.
Flying into the hyperspace of "Star Wars" is a deeply human experience translated through alien worlds. And that's what keeps the franchise alive, not some myopic offering of "Star Wars" celebrities and movie props.
I was a fool. "Star Wars" is far from dead. But as we enter the film's 30th year of life, I have to wonder if the franchise's founding father has any life left. Because in recent years, his offerings are far from the cultural force "Star Wars" was and is.