I’m a nerd. Say anything about any book, movie, or TV show and I’ll probably have some complicated comment or explanation about it. When you’re a nerd, it’s sort of assumed you love Star Wars. Well, it’s true. I love Star Wars. I’m a huge Star Wars fan… well, I thought I was before I went to Star Wars Celebration.
I was feeling really good about going to the convention. It was a spontaneous trip (and by spontaneous I mean we only had a little over a month to plan) to Orlando all because it was rumored that the Last Jedi trailer was going to be announced on the Friday of Star Wars Celebration.
Now, I joined the Star Wars bandwagon late in life. I didn’t grow up on the movies, but as a kid, I always had a general knowledge of them and the Star Wars universe. In today’s world, there’s not one kid who doesn’t know that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad or what a light saber is.
I do know a lot more about Star Wars than that. I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy. Empire Strikes Back has been one of my all time favorite movies for a while now, and I can easily quote multiple scenes from it. The same goes for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
I thought that I was a big Star Wars fan. I thought for once, I was finally going to fit in somewhere and be able to talk nerd-shop talk about Star Wars. I was finally going to a place where everyone loved Star Wars as much as me.
Well, most of them loved it more than me.
The issues began before we even got to the convention. My best friend and I were only going to the convention on Friday because as broke college students, we couldn’t afford a four-day pass. I did happen to have a four-day press pass, but I wasn’t going to abandon my best friend and go to her dream convention without her.
We had a layover in Atlanta for a few hours. That layover was when we started to notice the fans coming in droves. Half of our plane from Atlanta to Orlando was filled with Star Wars fans already wearing their gear or their badges for the convention. The convention didn’t even start yet and people were all ready for it.
In the airport, my best friend and I started talking to some clear Star Wars fans. In a matter of moments, I realized I was the odd one out.
I wasn’t sure if it was my lack of coffee or the fact that I wanted to just keep reading the book I was finally getting into, but every name and word out of our new acquaintance’s mouth was foreign to me. Part of me was wondering if we were still talking about Star Wars anymore.
We were, in fact, still talking about Star Wars. I knew that I was behind in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, but there was apparently an entire part of the culture that I was missing.
The girl rattled off names from books and video games. She talked about the landscapes of new planets and destinations. As she and my best friend continued to talk, I tried to follow along and pretended I knew what these things were.
She could see through me though. She knew I was clueless about the Star Wars Extended Universe (or the EU as she kept calling it). This was the first time I felt like I wasn’t a Star Wars fan.
The girl, who I thought was really nice, talked over me after she figured out that I didn’t know anything about the “EU.” I sat between her and my best friend and while I tried hard to focus on my book, I couldn’t help but feel left out.
Here I was, traveling all the way from Wisconsin to Orlando, just to go to this Star Wars convention and I couldn’t even tell you any of the main characters in Rebels except for Ahsoka Tano, which I don’t even know if she’s the main character of that series or not.
I felt like a fraud. I wasn’t really a fan. I knew the originals, I saw Rouge One twice in theaters and I could give you an extensive detailed version of the relationship between Anakin and Padme from the prequels.
But here I was, not even at the convention yet and I was already twenty steps behind.
To be a Star Wars fan, I thought, meant a lot more than just loving the movies like I did. The original trilogy, starting with A New Hope, were some of my favorite movies. That didn’t make me a Star Wars fan though.
To be a Star Wars fan, you have to know the movies inside and out. You have to know the little facts that the general public doesn’t know about the movies. You have to be able to list almost every single actor in all of the movies and TV shows and know their characters. You have to be completely up to date with Clone Wars and Rebels. You have to know the storyline of the video games. You have to know the canons, the theories and literally everything that could possibly be traced back to Star Wars.
This drove me crazy. I was traveling all this way to feel left out. Through the next two days, I felt myself get less and less excited about going to the convention. I realized I wasn’t cut out to go. I felt like I didn’t deserve to go.
On the morning of the convention, I found that my excitement was really low. I was sad because I had just been at Walt Disney World the night before, which is my favorite place in the whole world. I was also frustrated because I slept in a little and I knew my best friend would be mad that we were getting to the convention later than we planned.
True Star Wars fans are dedicated. To get into the Last Jedi panel, a lot of major fans slept overnight in the convention center. Not all of them could get into the panel to see the trailer.
We got to the convention three hours before it opened. We had missed out of the Last Jedi panel (We knew we weren’t going to get into it when we read a tweet the day before that people were already lining up to get in the line) and the Carrie Fisher Tribute from Mark Hamill.
I felt guilty for multiple reasons that morning: I woke up late, resulting in my best friend waking up late, resulting in us not getting into any panels and that in complete honesty, I didn’t even want to be there anymore.
It’s extremely discouraging when you feel like you’re not good enough. It’s more heart wrenching when you realize you’re not good enough to call yourself a fan. That’s how I felt as I stood in line for three hours, waiting to get into this convention. I wasn’t good enough to call myself a Star Wars fan.
Looking back, now that the convention is over, I realize how silly it was for me to feel that way. Once we got into the convention, things started looking up for us. We got into the Heroines of Star Wars panel (which turned out to be amazing), saw Anthony Daniels just walking around the convention, (the guy that plays C-PO), I wasn’t quizzed once about my knowledge about the EU and we somehow got into the Carrie Fished Tribute panel by sheer luck and determination!
I realized as I walked around the convention floor that there was no true Star Wars fan. Star Wars fans are a whole bunch of people. They’re the people who saw A New Hope in theaters before it was called A New Hope. They’re children who love Star Wars Rebels. They’re women and men and people who just love Star Wars.
I realized that even though I don’t know everything there is to know about Star Wars, I can still be a fan. I can still love Princess Leia and Han Solo and their third-wheel, Luke Skywalker. I can still tell people cool facts about the movie. I can talk about how I was there on the convention floor with hundreds of fans as we all watched the Last Jedi trailer for the first time and how I was in the room with Mark Hamill as he recounted some of his most treasured memories of Carrie Fisher.
I realized I can still call myself a Star Wars fan.