For many people, Star Wars was the first encounter with fandom life. We grew up with it. It’s ingrained in our culture. You can’t go anywhere without seeing references to the Star Wars universe. There isn’t anywhere you can go without the ability to meet a fellow Star Wars fan. This easy accessibility is what makes it a safe fandom to start with since a huge chunk of the population loves Star Wars and it doesn’t have so much of a negative stigma around it. There is no need to be secretive. Many fandoms do tend to bring out harsh judgement from others, but Star Wars seems to be exempt from that. Maybe that’s due to its widespread popularity or maybe its because Star Wars fans are just “normal people”. The naming of fans from the various different fandoms proves this. There are Trekkies/Trekkers, Twihards/Twilighters, Sherlockians, Whovians, Supernaturalists, etc. but Star Wars fans are just that – Star Wars fans. People.
Another aspect of fandom life is collecting which is another reason starting out with Star Wars is easy. George Lucas is a merchandising whore so there are literally thousands of options on things to buy, and cheaply too since they are so mass-produced. From kids toys to collectible art, anyone can get their hands on something they like.There are a multitude of places where a fan can commune with like-minded fans too. Theme parks, conventions… your local mall, the street corner.
Of course, as with any of the more scrutinized fandoms known for their “crazies”, the Star Wars fandom also has some real nuts – those who are publicly thought of as taking their obsessions a little too far. Attempting to break into Skywalker Ranch is a good example…
A third reason Star Wars is a good place to stretch your fandom fancies is because the story has mass appeal. It has everything – adventure, fantasy, outer space, weird creatures, love, family, religion, politics, oddly placed musical numbers.
It seems to be that the one restriction that holds Star Wars back from being a completely universal, united fandom is that you do have to be introduced to it at a young age. You have to grow up with it. It’s uncommon to meet an adult who has never seen the movies who, after finally being exposed to it, turns full-fledged fan. They don’t have the childhood nostalgia. Something about seeing the movies for the first time when the fantasy and adventure is mind-blowing grips you and sucks you into a lifelong appreciation.
With the new episodes, there is no doubt new fans will be born and maybe some of them will be adults. That would be cool. Star Wars for worldwide unification, FTW!