Whither Scarcity?

I was born in 1983, so for my childhood there existed only three Star Wars movies. From as early as I can remember, there were no movies I loved more. But I didn't actually own them; there were no cheap copies to go buy, so I had to rely on the local video stores to rent them whenever I wanted. At least a couple times a month, I'd head to the video rental section at Schnuck's or Doy TV Repair. God forbid they were rented out when I wanted them–I'd have to wait days to watch them.

I wore out these copies from the video stores. They had to be repaired a couple times, if I recall.

I wore out these copies from the video stores. They had to be repaired a couple times, if I recall.

So like most kids my age there was nothing except those three movies to foster my obsession with all things Star Wars. That changed in 1997 when filming started on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Entirely new Star Wars movies? That was unfathomable. The still-new-to-me Internet connection at home meant I spent hours (and it did take hours over dialup) downloading that first trailer.

Of course, The Phantom Menace and the rest of the prequel trilogy was mostly disappointing. The anticipation for each movie was in many ways better than the movies themselves. When the first trailers came out for Episode II and then Episode III, I was excited each time. Because no matter what happened, these were Star Wars movies. This wasn't James Bond, with dozens of movies, some good, some not. Once this prequel trilogy was over, who knew if there'd ever be any more? It had been 16 years between Return of the Jedi and Phantom Menace, and there was every indication that Revenge of the Sith would be the last Star Wars movie for a long time.

Of course, in October 2012, The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm, and announced there would be a brand new trilogy. Like so many others of my generation, that anticipation I felt as a kid returned the moment I saw the first trailer for The Force Awakens.

And yet, there's something very different this time (in addition to me being a grown adult). That scarcity that made the original trilogy, and to a lesser extent the prequels, so special is nonexistent. Already they've announced that there will be "Anthology" movies in the midst of the new trilogy, with two announced so far, meaning there will be at least one new Star Wars movie released every year for the next few years.

Of course I'm going to see all of them, and many of them will be good and some will be really excellent. But knowing that Star Wars is now just another Disney franchise makes it harder to get excited about any individual movie. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is facing the same dilemma. When there's such saturation, it's difficult for any single movie to stand out. If you didn't like Age of Ultron, that's OK, because Ant-Man will be out soon, and then Captain America: Civil War with most of those same characters. There have been some great Marvel movies, and some surprises, but there's a predictability and a sameness to them that will almost certainly seep into these new Star Wars movies as well.

I remember being genuinely excited about moving away from home so I could eat an entire package of Oreos without my parents telling me no. Of course, I quickly learned in college that sometimes it's best to not eat all the Oreos (I learned that lesson with many different foods and beverages, really). Point is, I'm glad there will be more movies set in the Star Wars universe that I've loved since I was a kid, but I will miss having the opportunity to really miss them.