The lengths to which I will go for Star Wars and a blog. 😉
I recently returned from a trip to the UK — set up a long time ago “to collect” our youngest padawan, Caitlin (you met her in a couple of previous blogs I wrote for CWK), who spent her junior year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (a mouthful for any school! No wonder the Brits shorten it to LSE.). Let's face it … this was going to be a (much needed!) vacation, too. I never had been to England, and always wanted to go. This was the chance I had been waiting for! 🙂
Too, I missed Caitlin terribly — the last time I saw her was when we bid her good-bye at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on New Year's Day after inching our way through the blizzard that blanketed Wisconsin and Illinois on its march eastward (oh, what a fun drive that was!). This trip would give me the chance to see her a little sooner than if I had to wait until she came home on her own. I arrived in London while Caitlin was enmeshed in her final exams. I spent a little bit of time with her (some was better than none), 🙂 which pretty much left me to my own devices most of the time.
What does all of this have to do with Star Wars? you might be asking yourself right now. Please allow me to share the beginning of a special story with you…
I have been an avid reader of Star Wars Insider for many a year. It is the only magazine I read (except for the errant publication I pick up in a physician's office to kill time while waiting for my appointment — which has been the case far too often these past few months). 🙂 I savor almost every article and spread in the 8-issues-per-year publication. (The only articles I do not read are those pertaining to new novels coming out. Try as they might, all reviewers have the tendency to reveal plot points — sometimes key plot points — in their writings, and I prefer to be in the dark when I open a book to page 1.) The Insider is published by Titan Publications Inc., located in London. I sent off a quick email to the magazine's editor, Jonathan Wilkins, sometime ago to see if we could meet while I was visiting his bustling city. He graciously accepted my invitation to lunch! 🙂
While Caitlin was taking her final final, I taxied to Titan's offices across the Thames. I arrived early — I must have been anxious to meet another huge Star Wars fan 😉 — and waited for Jonathan in the downstairs lobby. It wasn't long before this tall, bearded fellow strode down the stairs and approached me. Neither of us knew what the other looked like. I hoped my Star Wars t-shirt would give me away. It must have because he walked right up to me, said, “Melinda?” and gave me a hug. How welcoming is that? 🙂
Jonathan had a nearby eatery in mind so we quickly made our way there. Once settled at a table, we continued our chat about everything Star Wars. I was interested in gleaning information about the man behind the pen [or keyboard, I should say 😉 ] that did not involve Star Wars. Jonathan quipped, “Well, (many of) my friends are Star Wars fans, and we spend a lot of time talking about Star Wars. And my job revolves around it so I'd have to say it pretty much encompasses my entire life!” If that isn't a direct quote, it's pretty darn close. 😉 I most definitely could relate … Star Wars permeates so much of our lives — oftentimes without our even realizing it. 🙂
My lunch partner knew I had two daughters who were raised on Star Wars, and asked what I thought about all the hoopla surrounding the lack of principle female characters expected in the upcoming films and, more importantly, the absence of female characters in the first wave or two of anticipated toys and collectibles. (I addressed the outcry pertaining to the perception of meager female character involvement in a previous blog — fans reacted negatively too soon since it has become known the female gender will be adequately represented both in the upcoming films and animated series.) Regarding Hasbro's lack of female character action figures, I told Jonathan this: (1) It is ridiculous to think any company will release everything in its arsenal at the same time. Marketing does not work that way. With the dawn of “Rebels” this fall, I am confident we will see plenty of Hera and Sabine, in particular, on the shelves. My prediction — they will turn out to be fan favorites — among boys and girls — and Hasbro would be foolish to ignore that; and (2) if Hasbro ignores Star Wars' female fan base, it has made a stupid — yes, stupid — business decision. Give the fans what they want, and the company will make money. Plain and simple. If the collectibles don't emerge on store shelves, Hasbro will have no one but itself to blame when it comes up short in its effort to make money. I'm willing to be patient to see what the toy powerhouse has in store for us all. I did admit to Jonathan that it was rather disappointing that fans did not find action figures/12″ dolls of Padme in her entire array of costumes in stores. Erin, my oldest daughter, began a collection of the dolls and action figures depicting the gorgeous costumes created for Padme, I explained, and was disappointed she could not complete the set. “Some things just were not meant to be,” I added. (She was after all the costumes Natalie Portman wore in the prequels in both sizes.)
Jonathan informed me that he was interested in what I — a female fan who has two daughters who are Star Wars fans, too [maybe not to the extent as their ol' mum, but fans in their own right 🙂 ] — had to say on the subject because the Insider is dealing with the topic in an upcoming issue. “It's going to seem like our article is in response to what has been said (recently),” Jonathan noted, “but this has been planned for quite some time.” The world of publishing. The editorial staff works a minimum of six months in advance to get a magazine out. It's odd to work on a Christmas issue during the heat and humidity of July. lol I look forward to reading the article when that issue appears in my mailbox. 🙂
… And here I'll stop. Just like waiting for … anticipating … the arrival of each issue of the Insider, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to wait until next time for the final installment of my luncheon with Jonathan. I just wanted to set the stage today — we talked about so much more … Episode VII … his barely contained excitement about his first trip to a Fan Celebration in the U.S. (next April's extravaganza in Anaheim, CA) and some of my recollections from Celebrations I, III, IV, V and VI … lots more … and, oh, a little website called Coffee With Kenobi. 😉 In addition to wrapping up our own little meet-and-greet, I intend to share with you an unexpected happenchance that capped my last afternoon by myself. Was it the will of the Force that let me through the portal of one London business establishment … or just plain luck?
Until next month —
p.s. Please remember — I'd love to hear from you, either via a comment below or an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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