Why are the UK based fans overlooked by the franchise we love so dear?
Star Wars fans are the greatest fans in the world…
They are the community that pioneered the very notion of a fan club and are responsible for building the foundations of what would become the modern-day franchise. They are devoted, passionate and deeply connected to the source material that unites them as a collective. Many of these fans reside in the very country that has been regarded as the home of the Star Wars franchise for many years, beginning with Star Wars: A New Hope all the way through to The Last Jedi.
The fans of the United Kingdom are some of the most devoted members of the Star Wars fraternity and have a deep and profound connection to the space saga…but since the re-launch of the Star Wars Trilogy special edition in 1997, they have been overlooked in a way undeserving of their devotion. With the re-release of the original saga, toy manufacturer Hasbro launched a brand-new collection of action figures under the banner the “Power of the Force” which included iconic characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Ben “Obi-Wan” Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian and Princess Leia. These incredible 3.75 inch figures were well received amongst the fan base and were sought after in vast quantities as the youngsters of yesteryear launched into a hobby of recapturing the essence of their childhood and collecting them all.
This was the starting point for many a collector, myself included and the race became a duelling marathon to track down the exclusive characters before they disappeared from the shelves. As exciting as collecting these awesome figures was, many of us soon discovered that collecting them wasn’t going to be as easy as first thought. Unfortunately, Hasbro had launched an exclusive line of figures which were confined to a mail order facility in the USA and came in the form of the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise.
With the internet in its infancy and many of us too young to facilitate an import structure for these figures, many UK fans were forced to concede defeat and leave their collections incomplete until the lifeline that is EBay arrived to even the odds once and for all.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this unbecoming trend was confined to action figures, but you’d be dead wrong. The first season of the popular TV series Star Wars Rebels was broadcast on American television with a delayed broadcast of twenty-four hours for the UK. This schedule was maintained until its mid-season break but…upon its return to network broadcast, the long-suffering fans of the UK were made to wait over a week after the USA before the series returned to our screens.
This strange schedule would have been acceptable in the days before social media and the internet, but its uprising has facilitated a medium where fans from all over the world can share their experiences with likeminded people. Therefore, the content of the upcoming episodes was ruined for the UK fans who were forced to endure narrative spoilers from the abundance of social opinions being spread throughout the internet. This culminated in the season finale where franchise favourite Ahsoka Tano was revealed as the clandestine rebel informant codenamed Fulcrum. This exciting revelation was broadcast in the USA to a nation of excited fans who all took to social media to share their enthusiasm and in turn…ruined the finale for the suffering fans residing in the UK.
The disappointment was overwhelming.
Mercifully, this scenario was avoided for the series’ second season which went ahead without too much of a fuss, but the UK fans have been forced to endure yet another nightmarish scenario with season three. Following its mid-season break, our friends from across the pond were treated to its stunning return…a full two weeks ahead of their anguished UK cousins. Thankfully, by the time we arrived at the episode “Twin Suns” the UK fans were treated to its premiere eight hours before the USA, but then without any explanation…the series was inexplicably paused. Therefore, the epic conclusion to the Grand Admiral Thrawn master plan has been revealed to the fortunate USA fans with the UK being forced to wait over THREE WEEKS for its release on Disney XD UK.
Why the UK fans have been forced to endure such an extraordinarily long period is mind boggling and not in the spirit of Star Wars universe that boasts a fraternity of togetherness like no other franchise. In a time where the worldwide fraternity of fans should be united in their appreciation of the series’ conclusion, the UK fans are once again left to wait impatiently whilst being forced to endure a plethora of story ruining spoilers from social media.
Many of us have been forced to seek out tedious copies of the two-part finale uploaded to various websites around the world just to maintain the status quo and not be excluded from conversations with friends and relatives. And still, the Disney XD premiere date is still over two weeks away!!
With Star Wars Celebration 2017, also just two weeks away…fans from all over the world will converge upon the venue in Orlando Florida, with show runner Dave Filoni promising us an insight into what lies ahead in season four…with season three still unresolved for the UK fans. In a modern world that has afforded us the greatest access to a plethora of streaming media…it is utterly perplexing that this farcical programming blunder has be allowed to continue. The UK fans have been forced to play second fiddle to the rest of the world for many years and now, this fundamental omission has contaminated the realm of television.
If the television coverage debacle wasn’t enough, the UK fans were forced to wait over a fortnight before they had access to the Blu Ray release of The Force Awakens in 2016 and are suffering a similar predicament this year with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Not only do the USA fans have the digital download already…but they also have the Blu Ray release a full week ahead of the UK! Therefore, the USA fans have access to the movie a full three weeks before the UK…a country where the film was premiered in cinemas only one full day before the USA!
The UK fans deserve a higher quantity of consideration from our beloved Star Wars franchise and Disney/Lucasfilm should be treating us with a same respect as the rest of the world. To force us to wait over three weeks for the series’ finale of Star Wars Rebels is ludicrous, especially as the Star Wars Celebration event will take place before it has even been broadcast to the UK fans.
All we can say is help us Disney XD…you’re our only hope!
Lucasfilm, please wake up and smell the coffee!
The UK fans are relying upon you to deliver the same level of service granted, without hesitation to the rest of the world and until now…your service has been sub-par. We only ask to be treated with the same respect as the rest of the world and avoid this unfair and intolerable discrimination in the future. We are tired of missing out on the excitement of the season finale’s and having them spoilt for us by social media. Added to being forced to endure an agonising wait for the Blu Ray releases whilst our American cousins are sat at home and enjoying the adventures in a galaxy far, far away is a bitter pill to swallow!
Please get your act together and restore peace and justice to the galaxy…
The Force is with you Lucasfilm…you only need to embrace it!
May The Force Be With You
Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!