LEGOLAND Star Wars Weekend by Juan David Romero
Nearly a year before Star Wars' The Force Awakens opens in theaters worldwide, fans are impatiently waiting for another installment of the blockbuster saga.
Whether you are a Star Wars child whose world was blown away when the first film came out in 1977 or you are a millennial who first learned about The Force through the animated series, the Star Wars legacy is one that spans generations.
It is a legacy of mythology and world creation, a formula that has adapted seamlessly to LEGOLAND, another avenue that has kept the Star Wars momentum in full swing for those who grew up with LEGOs or playing the LEGO Star Wars video games.
"I just like the grand epic scale of Star Wars, kind of like a space opera, but I've been a fan since I was a little boy and I'm trying to get my daughter into it too and see how much she likes it when she gets bigger," said Corey Falgas, who recently visited the first LEGO Club Weekend featuring a LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display with his daughter and wife.
The event, which attracted fans and LEGOLAND visitors, included a Yoda Scavenger Hunt, a Star Wars costume contest and an opportunity to meet Niels Mølgård Frederiksen, the designer of multiple LEGO Star Wars sets.
For Barrett Burnham, who attended the event as part of Greater Florida LEGO Users Group, Star Wars is an inspiration for the imagination of where you can go. As the essential building blocks for children's creativity, the Star Wars message transposed in places such as LEGOLAND is that anyone can accomplish anything they put their mind to, Burnham said.
However, at first glance, audiences may not know the Star Wars narrative isn't one so foreign after all.
Nathan Snow, film critic, video producer and graduate teaching associate at UCF, said that while Star Wars was new and daring, he contends it was nothing utterly unique. He said there'd been science fiction and western movies for years. What Star Wars did, he said, was mishmash both of these along with borrowed elements from Japanese cinema and create something new.
"I consider [George] Lucas to be a great synthesist. He managed to get a bunch of things he did for a long time and combine them," Snow said.
However, the primary obstacle for the franchise might be championing sci-fi as a genre rather than "recycling stale material," as Lewis Beale from CNN states in his op-ed "How Star Wars ruined sci-fi." There, he argues that Star Wars has corrupted people's notion of a literary genre full of ideas, turning it into a Saturday afternoon serial. But Snow disagrees.
"I think the new stories are already starting out from a great place. They've got a world that people love and know," Snow said. "By setting a story in that universe, you have already lived up to the legacy and now it's just expanding upon this universe in meaningful ways. They will miss an opportunity if they don't tell us more about it."
Juan David Romero is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.