A Renewed Hope

There are many schools of thought on gamertags (online identifier/name for online gamers, for those not in the gaming community.)  In my estimation they are an abstract of what you feel is important to share about yourself in the video game arena.

Back in December 2006, in the shadow of the prequels and the ruins they created from my once mountainous Star Wars fandom, I searched for my new Xbox Live gamertag. Despite my severely dented feelings, I found myself looking for a semi-obscure Star Wars reference, the kind only the diehards would get at face value.

Cpl Wes Janson (taken)

Dak Ralter (taken)

Yoda’s Stolen Twix (not taken, but reconsidered before hitting “okay”.)

While relatively dormant, my love of Star Wars lived.  Any connection, even a digital avatar, was better than where I was May 22nd, 2005. I almost brained a work colleague who offered, “That was great” as we left the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith.

For the first time in my life I had a dyslexic heart for Star Wars. So I wore (and still wear) my misspelled love of Star Wars on my Xbox gamertag: Nien Numb.

Nien Nunb

I’ll be honest, I thought that was the character’s name when I chose it. It fits. My love for Star Wars had changed and twisted…why not have it be slightly off the reflect my mixed feelings on the saga?

For the past few weeks, mixed emotions have reemerged.

While I am pumped to share the new film with my kids, there is something about the advertising drumbeat leading to The Force Awakens that gives me pause, something , a presence I have not felt since… 1999

But it can’t be as bad as the Phantom Menace, right?

There is 4 billion dollars at stake for Disney off the top, with hundreds of millions of dollars of unsold BB-8 merch to boot.  Surely they made sure there was no mistake this time.  It has to be at least good, right?

But is good, good enough?

Not for me.

Age of Ultron alrightness-with-a-dash-of-awesome will translate to Kevin Kline levels of disappointment.  The Force Awakens does not need to carry the prequels undelivered water, but it does need to inspire, amaze, and have exactly zero discussions on trade disputes.

Yesterday I was pulled from the brink. The Force Awakens release coincides with my favorite week of the year: the third week of Advent (Gaudete Sunday); a time for hope in the middle of a dark season of waiting.

Last year, Pope Francis gave a homily on Gaudete Sunday in which he spoke about how it was the “Sunday of joy,” and that instead of fretting about all they still haven’t done to prepare for Christmas, people should “think of all the good things life has given you.Among many other real life concerns, this contextualized my angst about Star Wars.

It is time to accept the hope that fed my feelings on the film up until a few weeks ago. My kids are pumped.  I get to share watching a Star Wars film for the first time with them.  Regardless of how it plays to this somewhat faded fanboy, it will be a moment none of us will never forget.



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