I’m sitting down to write this with NO idea WHATSOEVER what I’m going to write. This will be a fun experiment. Maybe not for you, but it will be TERRIBLY interesting for me. I’m thinking about how Star Wars is hugely responsible for the rise of popular culture, and the toy industry and collecting hobby as we now know it.
Before Star Wars, very few movies had tie-in toy lines. Some television shows had semi-successful toys, like the Six-Million-Dollar Man, and comic book heroes were immortalized as Mego figures, but no movie had captured the minds of children enough to support a toy line of any real depth or longevity.
And then came Star Wars. We all know the story. If you don’t, I highly recommend buying a copy of Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (www.plasticgalaxymovie.com), it’s a wonderful documentary. You know what, even if you DO know the story, go buy a copy, you’ll enjoy it, I promise. George Lucas had the foresight to retain the merchandising rights for the universe he had constructed. As a result, he’s now the only person on Earth who can afford to buy every single Star Wars toy that gets released.
Ok, enough with the history lesson. You didn’t come here for that, you came to read MY thoughts and, more importantly, my OPINIONS, right? Very well, your wish is my command. In rolling all of this around in my pea-sized brain, I realized something: Were it not for Star Wars, my life would be immeasurably different, and so would yours. Sure, it’s possible something ELSE would have stepped in and transformed movies, marketing, and collecting, but who can say for sure? I collect today because back in 1978 Kenner started releasing figures based on a movie. And they kept releasing figures. They didn’t stop at the main characters, they released background characters, some of whom were onscreen for less than 10 seconds. And they made them affordable enough that it was possible to COLLECT THEM ALL. As a result, to this day I have a completist mentality when it comes to everything, and it’s a compulsion that I fight against in many cases, simply due to a constant lack of funds, space, time, etc.
People have always collected. Coins, stamps, even bugs and rocks. Collectors will always collect, but I do have to wonder if the collecting hobby/culture that we know today would be as vibrant and thriving if George Lucas had not decided to give Kenner a chance after Mego passed on the Star Wars license. I would have found SOMETHING to collect, because I do have collecting interests outside of the Galaxy Far, Far Away, but I do sometimes ponder if I would have such an intense affection for it if I hadn’t been hooked on the Star Wars drug at such an early age.
Which leads me to a question: George Lucas is which of the following:
- A marketing genius who saw and realized the potential of his creation.
- An extremely lucky creator who gambled on his idea and won BIG time.
- A Machiavellian string-puller on the order of Palpatine who knew EXACTLY how to entrench his ideas into the minds of impressionable children, ensuring their allegiance and their allowance money for generations to come.
- Accidentally all of the above?
My money is on D. And I love him for it.
What about you, dear reader? Has Star Wars informed, obstructed, or monopolized your collecting? Or are you one of those “normies” who doesn’t feel compelled to hunt down and conquer a want list? Tell me Tell me Tell me!
Hmm. That turned out better than I thought it would.
Marvin Says Hi,
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