I get about as excited as any girl who doesn’t play video games gets about Star Wars, but I still hustled to Union Square on May 18 for the midnight show ? not to see the movie, mind you ? for the spectacle.
So you can imagine my disappointment crossing 13th Street and finding a line wrapping around the block composed entirely of? hipsters. As far as the eye could see were over-priced sneakers, twisted trucker hats and carefully deconstructed jeans. Not a Vader helmet in sight. I even attempted to approach some enthusiasts engaging in a heated discussion until I heard one of them utter the word “opus.” After spotting a grand total of one lightsaber, I gave up and went home.
When did Star Wars morph from cult classic to cinematic masterpiece? When did its followers go from enthusiastic costume-flaunting geeks to obnoxious film majors? We’re talking about a film that presented a love interest with croissants on the sides of her head. Put on some freaking costumes, people!
What I find so appealing about the Star Wars apparel is its heavy leaning on our own planet’s fashions. The 1970s and 80s ‘sequels’ playfully adopted mop hairdos for its heroes, along with hip-slung belts, tight pants, and boots that made them into intergalactic Mick Jaggers. As my sister pointed out, “Jedi always have great boots.” The ‘millennium prequels’ offered other influences of our fascination with the Far East as Padme donned one geisha outfit after another. Even our romantic hero shifted from the smirking bastion of testosterone that is Han Solo to rosebud-lipped, porcelain girly-boy Anakin Skywalker, who looks at any moment on the verge of composing an emo-punk ballad about his battle with the Dark Side. Princess Leia is basically a boho goddess in slouchy boots and a white tunic that one of the Olsen twins might wear. Then let’s not forget the infamous gold bikini that Carrie Fisher probably could have worn to Studio 54 (Bo Derek in 10, anyone?). Padme got even more outfits, morphing from geisha to Grecian perfection in purple silk for Revenge of the Sith, both looks having stalked the runways in the late 90s and today. Doesn’t any of this tantalize fans?
Maybe I should have gone to a convention or lined up weeks earlier in Jersey somewhere. Maybe, like my father, who couldn’t wait for Empire, my generation “kind of outgrew it.” Maybe my expectation was just too high for Union Square, though it is a place where people dress up like Chinese torture victims weekly. I had to wait five days to see a person in costume, and then it was in Boston, where a girl named Karen had been paid $50 by her friends to dress up in an R2D2 get-up fashioned out of pillowcases. After congratulating her on being the first costumed fan I’d found, she tentatively leaned forward and whispered, “I’m not even going to the movie!”
My kind of girl.