'Rise Of Skywalker' Marathon Pushes LA Fan Too Far: 'It's Dawned On Me That I Really Hate Star Wars'
Modern fans of the Star Wars franchise have experienced their share of ups and downs, including (but not limited to) changing directors and harsh criticism from a vocal minority. Based on early reactions, the final film in the current Star Wars trilogy — The Rise Of Skywalker — will have its own controversies to contend with.
These threads of displeasure didn't keep L.A. fans from attending a Star Wars movie marathon at Disney's El Capitan Theatre this week. The historic theater started screening all nine episodes starting Wednesday night.
Fan Chris Colman decided to go to the screening, even though he doesn't care for the new trilogy. He'd never seen the prequels or the original trilogy on the big screen.
"I don't find [the new films] very good," Colman said. "I'm only seeing the new movies now for the special effects and the imagery."
Nevertheless, Colman felt he had the endurance to make it all the way through the marathon.
He slept for 12 hours in preparation, and he had experience (he'd previously faced off against a 22-film Marvel marathon ahead of Avengers: Endgame, making it almost halfway before taking a nap).
We checked in with Colman Thursday morning, and learned that he'd succumbed to sleep. Watching the prequels as an adult, it turns out, made him even less certain about his overall Star Wars fandom.
"It's dawned on me that I really hate Star Wars," Colman told us Thursday morning.
Colman might be an exception —we doubt there are that many fans committing to 24+ hours of Star Wars that aren't at least a bit excited for the films. But he also wasn't alone, with other fans laughing at places they aren't supposed to laugh during the prequels, as well as some light heckling, according to Colman.
But there was still an energy in the theater. Fans were cheering whenever a new character showed up on screen, and the hype for the current trilogy was real.
A NEW HOPE
Elsewhere, fans were more optimistic. Some even lined up for more than a week outside the Chinese Theatre, with hardcore fans being let into the film's premiere on Monday night.
"I cosplayed as General Hux on the day of the world premiere," fan Lisa Gomez told us via email. "About mid-day, Disney representatives showed up and said because you all have put in the time in line, you get to be in a fan pit for the stars walking into the Chinese. ... About an hour before the film was showing, Disney walked outside again and said 'actually, we lied — you all get to go inside the premiere.'"
She had to deal with her own controversies in line — she loved The Last Jedi, but everyone around her in line hated it.
"So we all had debates for about a week. But despite that, we all love this world and these characters and the love for this world unites us all," Gomez said. "It's inspiring to see these people fight for what's right. It makes me feel like I can keep fighting for my dreams and for what I believe in."
While Colman's ambivalent about the most recent Star Wars movies, he was excited for the special appearances by cast members that are generally part of El Capitan marathons. He met two of the stars at that Marvel marathon — this time, he hoped to meet Darth Maul actor Ray Park, or maybe even Mark Hamill/Luke Skywalker himself.
Still, for those reviewing the Star Wars canon in advance of the latest film, his advice is this: don't watch the prequels before watching the original trilogy.
No matter how you feel about Star Wars, controversy for the series isn't anything new — Han no longer shooting first started the modern era of Star Wars controversies back in the '90s.
And if the Internet existed back then, we're sure fans would have had a lot to say about Darth Vader being Luke's father.
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise Of Skywalker opens everywhere this weekend.