Recently, Star Wars fans have been under attack. And not by the Evil Empire or the First Order; the threat comes from within. For being one of the biggest fandoms, Star Wars has a vocal minority that tends to eclipse the community with its negative rhetoric. These fans have slowly tainted a fanbase that, by and large, has been a welcoming and tolerant majority for decades. Star Wars fans have been responsible for some of the most memorable moments in pop culture outside of the Star Wars Saga itself with their artwork and their imagination, and should be celebrated for their passion and ingenuity.
In the midst of the Star Wars community fending off those that would mar its credibility and its integrity, let’s celebrate all that’s great about being a Star Wars fan. Not only do they help generate content that continually expands the Star Wars Universe, they come together and help fellow fans in their hour of need, making our little corner of the galaxy a much better place.
10 WHEN THEY GRANTED A FELLOW FAN’S DYING WISH
Star Wars fans will remember Daniel Fleetwood, the superfan who had terminal lung cancer and just wanted to see The Force Awakens before he passed away. The only problem was, it wasn’t out yet in theaters. That didn’t stop fans from mounting a massive social media campaign that included the participation of Mark Hamill (who played Luke Skywalker) and John Boyega (who played Finn).
Disney and Lucasfilm came through, and Daniel was able to see an uncut version of the film in 2015, much to his delight. The 501st Legion, the premier group of authentic stormtrooper cosplayers also visited Daniel, bearing massive amounts of Star Wars gifts, and making him an honorary member. Daniel became one with the Force two months later.
9 WHEN THEY COLLABORATED ON THE ULTIMATE FAN FILM
Star Wars fans can do some great things when they put their heads together. In 2009, one superfan named Casey Pugh set out to create an entirely new version of A New Hope made by editing together 15 second segments of fan submitted material.
He launched a crowdsourcing campaign calling for all Star Wars fans to assign themselves a segment and get to work! From stop motion animation, to live action, Star Wars fans from all corners of the globe sent their segment to Pugh, who true to his word, edited them altogether into one fan-made masterpiece; Star Wars: Uncut.
8 THEY MADE SHORT FILMS BETTER THAN THE MOVIES
Though Disney has tried to prevent the distribution of fan made Star Wars films since acquiring the franchise from George Lucas, Lucasfilm gives its blessing to fan made projects and actively encourages their creation.
From comical entries like Chad Vader about Vader’s non-canonical day shift manager brother running a supermarket, and Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle, to cinema quality dramatic films like Vader: Shards of the Past and Darth Maul: Apprentice, fans consistently make bodies of work as impressive as the Star Wars films. With great actors, props, locations, and effects, they help expand that galaxy far, far away.
7 WHEN A DAD MADE HIS KID BELIEVE EWOKS WERE REAL
To celebrate his love for the Star Wars Saga and Return of the Jedi in particular, a dad edited his family vacation shots to make Ewoks seem real to his children. Anthony Herrera and his family were going to Sequoia National Park, and while it wasn’t the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in California where RoTJ was filmed, he told his kids they might see some Ewoks.
After much looking, the disappointed kiddos went home without a single sighting of Wicket. Not to be deterred, Herrera did some editing of the trip photos to carefully place several secretive Ewoks in the background, to the delight of his children.
6 WHEN THEY BUILT A LIFE-SIZE MILLENNIUM FALCON COCKPIT
There are fans of Star Wars and there are super-fans. One marathons the film series, the other marathons the film series…while researching how to build a screen accurate, life-size replica of the Millenium Falcon. Greg Dietrich, one such super-fan, spent six years building the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in his garage, and plans to build the rest.
As part of what has morphed into the Falcon Fan-Project on Facebook, fans from around the world have helped Dietrich realize his dream, scanning film frames, production drawings from the sets, and offering other resources so that one day he’ll have the entire ship complete.
5 WHEN THEY WOULD CAMP OUTSIDE THEATERS
When word got out in the mid ‘90s that George Lucas was making his Star Wars prequels, the excitement was palpable. As it became poised to be one of the biggest events in the last twenty years of pop culture, fans had to strategize how they were going to secure seats at the showings.
They began pitching tents on the sidewalks of movie houses across the United States, some as early as two weeks prior to the the film’s release. The trend was covered by news outlets, comedians, and most memorably by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Though it may have seemed excessive to some, the visual of hundreds of fans camped outside theaters let the world know how serious the Star Wars fanbase is.
4 WHEN THEY’RE ALSO BIG TIME CELEBRITIES
Star Wars fans come in all shapes and sizes, as diverse as the inhabitants of that galaxy far, far away. Some of them also happen to be celebrities, who are as nerdy and obsessive when it comes to Star Wars as anyone else. Sometimes they take the form of Kristen Wiig, wearing a Darth Vader dress to the 2009 Emmys, or Daniel Radcliffe cosplaying as his favorite character, Boba Fett.
If they’re really dedicated, they take the form of Topher Grace, who spent dozens of hours editing down The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith into an 85 minute film that makes the prequels palatable. He called it Episode III.5, and it was universally praised.
3 WHEN THEY DO EPIC CHRISTMAS DISPLAYS
When it comes to Star Wars fans and Christmas, the Holiday Spirit is strong with them. From replicating the Battle of Hoth or a Star Destroyer out of gingerbread, to creating amazing lawn displays featuring a life size TIE-fighter and Millennium Falcon, they bring something unique to the holiday season.
Superfan Colby Powell enlisted friends and family to help him make his Millennium Falcon out of wood and a giant military grade parachute when The Force Awakens came out, and there are entire subreddits devoted to showing off epic yard displays involving life-sized AT-AT walkers made from Christmas lights!
2 WHEN THEY BANDED TOGETHER TO HELP A VETERAN
Air Force veteran Ron Villemaire only had one wish when his colon cancer prognosis was not optimistic – to see Episode VIII: The Last Jedi in theaters before he passed away. His daughter, not thinking he would be well enough to participate in a screening, summoned the Power of the Fans to aid her in her quest.
Fans jumped into action settling the arrangements. With the help of the local Bedford Fire Department and first responders, he was able to be transported from his hospice care facility to the local theater accompanied by a full Imperial escort, and greeted by dozens of costumed Star Wars fans. The theater even granted him a private showing with just his family.
1 WHEN THEY CAME TOGETHER TO GIVE A MOM A FORCE BOOST
While Star Wars subreddits can sometimes be attributed to aiding the proliferation of everything that’s wrong with the internet, they also provide a platform to showcase everything that’s right. When a Redditor shared that her mom wasn’t feeling confident lately, she asked fellow Star Wars fans to help give her mom a boost of self esteem.
Artists and fans shared multiple images of her mother (with the help of provided photographs for visual reference) as a powerful Jedi. Each artist’s style and interpretation gave joy and happiness to a woman they had never met but felt compelled to help. Because Star Wars fans are just that awesome.
NEXT: Rey’s Mom Should Not Be In Star Wars: Episode 9