This got me on a train of thought about Star Wars, which then led to a wider train of thought about other stuff on the t’interwebs, and then to business in general.
You see, if you’re one of the original Star Wars fans, and by that I mean that you’re on of the ones born in the 70′s and the original three films of Star Wars (A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, then you’re also probably one of those fans that despairs at what George Lucas did with the release of the prequel trilogy.
These people I’m talking about have a deep seated hate of Jar Jar Binks. They might even own a ‘Han Shot First’ T-shirt.
Then I saw something recently which made me sit up and think.
I was watching my kids (Jake & Lily) watching Episode 1: Phantom Menace, and when Jar Jar Binks entered the movie they started laughing out loud.
They love Jar Jar Binks.
They think that Jar Jar is one of the best characters, and throughout the film they enjoyed every moment he was on the screen.
And that’s when a thought hit me – it’s not for me.
George Lucas already had me (and countless millions of other kids born in the 70s) hooked on Star Wars, the new prequel movies were to tap into a whole new generation, with the overall aim of selling more merchandise to a fresh market.
This might sound cynical, but it’s the truth.
When I was a kid I owned a ton of Star Wars figures, I had the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter, Boba Fett’s ship (Slave I) and loads of other smaller bits and bobs.
The original market for Star Wars merchandise was drying up, with only the die-hard collectors looking for stuff to complete their collections, and a lot of this on the secondary markets of eBay and other auction sites.
The original market drying up isn’t exactly a surprise, as the majority of people get rid of their toys as they grow up, and although they remain nostalgic for the films they’re not exactly going to pop out and buy a new Luke Skywalker action figure if it hits the shelves.
But by creating the new prequel trilogy George Lucas had in effect created a fresh market to sell the merchandise to.
Of course, all the original fans would go and watch the films, and with many of them now being parents would be taking their kids along as well.
I’ve no doubt that George Lucas new that he’d be pissing off a huge element of the existing fan base with the new movies, and the backlash online over Jar Jar Binks is proof in point, but I also have no doubt that he did it because he new that to keep the machine moving forward he needed to cultivate a whole fresh market to sell to over the next 10 – 15 years.
Just for the record on where I stand – Jar Jar is an abomination and Han shot first.
However, it’s not for me and my kids love the movies, so what the hell do I know…