Expectations. They reel you in. Fuel your thrilling anticipation. How can you not allow yourself to be caught in the eddy of mounting ideas that have been swimming around in your head like sugar plums at Christmastime?
Expectations. They suck you in. And refuse to loosen their vice-like grip.
If I may…
Tom and I had a date to go grocery shopping this past Friday night. (Do we know how to have fun … or what? 😉 ) We pulled into the parking lot, and found an empty spot between an SUV and a sedan. I pulled myself out of the passenger side of the car, and as I was turning after closing the door, a figure dangling from the SUV’s rearview mirror caught my eye. Blue and white, and just the right shape, I thought could it be? A closer look confirmed my first impression. “R2D2! It is you! It is you!” To Tom, I exclaimed: “The person parked next to us must be a Star Wars fan! R2D2 is hanging from the mirror!” (If you’ll permit me to interrupt my tale, I would like to point out that I do not make a habit of checking out the innards of other drivers’ cars. Not very tall am I, and with the SUV’s height elevated, my direct line of sight caught R2 strung to the rearview mirror. Given all the variables — how I was positioned, the light streaming from the nearby streetlamp, and the timing of both vehicles parked where they were, I really could not have missed the droid. Or, was it the Force? 😉 ) “Too bad I don’t have any paper to leave a note,” I added. Unlike me, Tom does not carry paper and pen in his car for just such situations. “You could use part of the grocery list,” he suggested. Sadly, that would not work. “A good idea under normal circumstances,” I pointed out. “However, the list is too long this week, and there’s no room to spare.”
Oh well. I guessed we’d miss a fellow fan this time around. Except … as I rounded the rear of Tom’s car, I noticed a fellow ambling in the general direction of our car. Bearded and toting his groceries, he looked like (I don’t know why 😉 ) he could be the SUV’s driver. I purposefully slowed my step to see if he indeed was heading our way. When it was obvious he was the driver in question, I asked, “Are you a Star Wars fan?” Obvious lead-in, I know, but a fine opener for a parking lot exchange. “Yes, I am,” he replied. That’s the only opening I needed to engage in conversation. 😉 “Excited about the new movie coming out next year?” I queried. His response surprised me: “I don’t know. I want to be.” He then shared with me his rather disparaging remarks about his impression of not only “The Phantom Menace”, but of the entire Prequel Trilogy. I could not resist: “You didn’t like the prequels? I loved them, even The Phantom Menace!” You should have seen the almost derisive — certainly shocked — look on his face! I wasn’t put off by it. I’m used to it. 🙂 “In any case,” I stated, “I hope you like the new movie.” I smiled a good-night, and started to turn toward the store, he toward his vehicle, but then I turned back.
“Excuse me,” I resumed, “if you don’t mind, may I make a suggestion?” At his “please do,” I continued: “I’m old enough to have been an adult — albeit a young adult — when I saw the Original Trilogy when it first hit theaters back in the ’70s. Then, there was nothing — for a long time. Then a new Star Wars movie was coming out, and it would be followed by two more! I know a lot of fans had a lot of expectations of what those films would be like. When their expectations weren’t met, they were terribly disappointed, and that kept them from enjoying the films.” Without coming right out and saying so, I was including this 30-ish young man in that group. “I had absolutely no expectations of what The Phantom Menace was going to be,” I continued, “other than I expected to be transported to that wonderful galaxy far, far away again. And I was. For each of the three films! I think that’s why I enjoyed them as much as I did.” 🙂 (I’m not saying the films were perfect. In TPM, for instance, I found the pod race too long and the space battle at the end of the film too abbreviated. However, George Lucas did not ask for my input.) He began to nod in agreement, and if nothing else, I was glad to see the scornful look disappear from his visage.
“Try not to have any expectations,” I encouraged. “I know that can be hard to do, but if you can, I bet you’ll enjoy Episode VII very much.” He gave me a half smile, and shared, “I know. I’ll try.” We wished each other a happy holiday, and went our separate ways.
With Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ debut just over one year away, it may be a hard-fought battle to contain your expectations — but I encourage you to do so. I’m not talking about curbing your enthusiasm. Expectations are an entirely different animal. I say — unleash your excitement, but hold any expectations in check. Don’t even acknowledge them. Allow yourself to be swept away to the galaxy far, far away on the wings of your childlike wonder — doing so without any preconceived notions of what you think Star Wars should be.
A tall order? It can be. But not insurmountable. We have an entire year to perfect our ability to do just that. 🙂
The release of the trailer Thanksgiving Weekend certainly fueled the flames of speculation and, yes, expectations. Goodness, the trailer didn’t even fulfill the expectations of some fans because we did not see hide nor hair of Luke, Leia and Han! Really? People were upset about that?
I am not attempting to tell you what you should do. My only intent is to share with you what works with me. Too, I am very selective about what I read in regard to anything having to do with Episode VII. I do not search for every single iota of potential information out there. I enjoy garnering a few tidbits here and there, yes. However, all I really care about is when tickets will go on sale, and at what theaters and show times I can see the movie next December. I loved last month’s trailer, and I am sure I’ll enjoy watching any subsequent teasers. Their main goal — to whet the appetite (those trailer editors are pretty shrewd individuals! 🙂 )
When you take your seat in your local movie house next December, do so with unbridled joy and childlike wonder. Be prepared to be transported to that beloved galaxy far, far away. Nothing more. Nothing less.
It may just be the best holiday present we — collectively — receive in December 2015. 🙂
As far as 2014 is concerned, I’d like to wish each of you a Very Happy Holiday. May it be magical, everything you want it to be! 🙂
Until next time,
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