How do Star Wars and other pop culture influences affect our lives? Max takes a look back at his journey through Fantasy Media
How do Star Wars and other pop culture influences affect our lives When I was growing up, I was very socially awkward and bad at sports. So most of my time, I had very few social outlets. Many even speculated that I had (and still have) high-functioning autism. To escape my feelings of ostracization, I was very drawn to fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy.
THE PHANTOM MENACE
At the age of 6, I saw The Phantom Menace with my father and step-grandfather. And for the next 3 years, Star Wars began brewing in my mind. By the time, Attack of the Clones came around, I had seen the Original Trilogy and was ready for more. I remember Clones so well. The following night, all I could talk about was how Yoda was flipping around and having a sword fight with Count Dooku.
I loved every aspect of Star Wars, and the anticipation only made seeing Revenge of the Sith, so much more exciting in 2005. Between, 2002 and 2005, I spent tons of time reading what was then called the Expanded Universe. A media series that explored the Star Wars galaxy, long before, after, and intermediate with the core movies. My universe was expanded when I learned about all this stuff I needed to catch up on. And I remember reading The New Essential Guide to Characters at age 9 and being overwhelmed by the massive amount of additional stories.
POP CULTURE INFLUENCES
Unfortunately, I was also battling depression and had a poor self-image of myself as I became a teenager. I had glasses, wore braces, had a squeaky voice, did well in school, and stank at sports. I was essentially a nerd, and at age 12, I didn’t want to be one anymore and I did the unthinkable. I gave up Star Wars. Yet, I could not deny who I was, so I channeled my love of media into something else.
I was very into Dragonball Z and Harry Potter. And I went through these two phases, along with 2 mini-phases consisting of Eragon and Avatar the Last Airbender. Looking back on my childhood, I try to break down what drew me to these franchises, as they each held a special place in my brain and heart. I am an academic by nature, and I always went above and beyond when exploring a fictional universe. No matter how crude.
Dragonball was very crude, and I was drawn to the strength and power of the characters. I was always bullied physically as a child. So seeing these super-strong characters break whole mountains with their fists, really appealed to me. I also became very fascinated by the energy or ki attacks that the characters used in their fights. And honestly, I wish I could shoot energy out of my hands. I made thinking up new uses for ki to be my main hobby. And for the others as well, I liked all the abilities that were granted by having special powers.
Dragonball was about causing explosions and doing damage. Harry Potter was learning about Latin phrases. And feeling like I could be a wizard was very easy because to be a Dragonball fighter, you needed to train very hard for many years. And most humans never became titans. Eragon furthered this feeling, as I learned how important language and thought were for humanity, as they are intertwined.
Avatar was also like ki but had more of a connection to nature, which I very much loved. I went back to my first love around age 17, and have been die-hard about Star Wars for the last 11 years. I loved the Force in Star Wars. And while it wasn’t as flashy and explosive as Harry Potter and Dragonball, the Force did grant you amazing powers. And I learned them all and made up my own for my own entertainment. Then in 2011, I rekindled a “real” interest in futurism. Futurism is the study of the future of technology and society and was something I always liked.
THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE PURGE
In 2011, however, I started looking at sci-fi concepts and checking the Star Wars wiki to see if they existed in some form in the Star Wars universe. Most were, so I was pretty calm. Then, the Expanded Universe was purged in 2014 and a lot of stuff was put in the mystery box for the time being. That also applied to technology and science. I speculated obsessively on the limits of science in the new Star Wars canon initiative and may have gotten a little manic in my pursuits. I am currently in school for Library Sciences and organizing information is one of my obsessions. So, I guess I’m in the right place.
I used Star Wars Wikipedia to track my info and was a part of the community for a time. I originally said that even if it appeared in Legends and NOT canon, it was still part of Star Wars. This worked for a while but felt wrong. I am very much rigid when it comes to the “truth” and then I decided that it had to exist in a canon source before I could say “Yeah. That’s a thing in Star Wars”.
Its been almost 11 years since I merged futurism in Star Wars, and I am not looking back. I will love this new hobby for the rest of my days.
How did Star Wars shape your life? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you about your influences.
Feel the Force on Social Media.
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!