Okay, let me set the stage for you:
It’s 1999. The day that I had been waiting for for so many years had finally arrived. I mean, I had been a Star Wars fan for so very long. I had collected dozens of action figures and wore them out from sending them on my own adventures. I had been reading Star Wars novels for years, reveling in the many new characters and scenarios that were being spun by masters such as Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, and Kathy Tyers. I had consumed most of the PC games that were set in that universe. And now finally, finally, finally, we were about to have a new movie set in that wondrous universe from so long ago and so far away. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was going to be released, and I was stoked.
Let me put it this way: I was so anxious to see this movie that I actually purchased a ticket to go see some Will Smith movie about spies (no idea what the title was) just because I heard a rumor that a trailer for Episode I was going to be shown beforehand. I didn’t care one whit for the actual movie. I plunked down my hard earned money just to see the trailer. I do remember sitting through the movie and kind of enjoying it, but that was a bonus.
Boy, life was tough before YouTube came on the scene.
Not the point, though. When May 19, 1999 finally rolled around, you can bet I was planted in my seat, ready to go.
And as much as it pains me to admit it, my immediate and visceral reaction was as follows:
I loved it. Every goofy, poorly written moment of it. Weird backstory about taxes and politics? Who cares! Look at the pretty CGI! Marvel at the photorealistic Gungans fighting the droid army. And spaceships going pew pew pew! And Jedi having the most awesome lightsaber fight ever ever ever! Holy cow!
And this guy! Who couldn’t love this guy:
I went back to see that movie at least two or three times in less than 48 hours. Maybe it was more like 72. And I loved every moment of it each time.
Oh yeah. I drunk the KoolAid. I guzzled that stuff down. As a matter of fact, I was so far gone in fanboy-land that I started arguing with people who thought that Jar Jar Binks was kind of a stupid character. And people who dared question the storytelling? Forget it! How dare they question the artistry of a Star Wars movie.
Hoo boy. I am embarrassed just writing that now. It took a long time for me to snap out of it. I just didn’t want to believe that George Lucas had failed. The full realization didn’t really hit me until I had seen Episode II a couple of times. And by the time Episode III rolled around, I had been cured pretty thoroughly.
But still, for a while there, I was a Jar Jar Binks fanboy. I’ve since recovered, but I still have the odd flashes every now and then, little bits of nostalgia for what might have been.
I guess that’s why a little part of me hopes that the Darth Jar Jar theory turns out to be true. It would be so funny if it turned out that Jar Jar was the greatest Star Wars villain of all time.
So why am I ‘fessing up about this now? I can’t imagine why. It’s not like I haven’t been feeling the same levels of anticipation for anything recently. It’s not like there’s a whole new crop of characters that will be vying for our affections.
Nope. Not at all.
I guess what I’m just hopeful for is this time, I won’t back the wrong horse.Author @JohnWOtte fesses up: he used to be a fanboy for Jar Jar Binks. Don't throw things, please. Click To Tweet
How about you? Have you ever been a fan of something you later regretted?