Nerd Safari

“Did you love it?”

This was the ambush question I was asked over brunch at someone’s house, the day after seeing Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in 2002.

“Well, no. I didn’t love it. But I thought it was an improvement over the last one.”

Three years later, the same review applies to Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. You know, if George makes a few more of these space operas, he might start to get the hang of it.

Trying to get into the first show of a new Star Wars movie is an act of madness unless you just so happen to have a complimentary VIP pass that allows you to bypass all the lineups and walk straight in to your reserved seat. I couldn’t turn an opportunity like that down, but truth be told, the show I was really interested in was the freak show before the movie.

Turning out hours early for the midnight screening were a variety of impoverished Jedis, unemployed Sand People, and Cheapo Fetts. With Hallowe’en so far away on the other side of the calendar, the superfans seized this opportunity to play dress up out of season. It was sort of like attending The Rocky Horror Picture Show, only with more costumes, less sexual deviancy, and a church-like silence so every syllable of Lucas’s overwrought dialogue could be processed, memorized, and later debated online at length.

I suppose it’s all in good fun, but I always find this level of obsession to be mildly creepy, especially if you think about the psychology behind the costume selections. For example, there’s something disturbing about the sort of person who chooses to dress as a storm trooper. Out of the myriad of characters and alien races sprinkled throughout the Star Wars universe, the one they find most compelling is an anonymous, faceless, fascist enforcer clone. You just know it was the exact same sort of conformists who were first to don a brown shirt back in 1930s Germany. Look at the faces of these people when they take off their masks to come up for air and tell me I’m wrong.

I don’t mean to pick on Star Wars fans specifically though. They’re too easy a target, and who am I to judge? I may have gone dressed as a normal human being with a life, but I was still there, first show, first day. And even if some of them feel compelled to dress up as the genocidal shock troops of a galaxy far far away, it could be worse. They could be Civil War reenactors. Now those nerds scare me.

Unlikely as it may seem, superfans come in both male and female varieties. And sometimes they hook up, assuring the gene pool will not be deprived of future generations of nerdlings.

This guy was dressed as a pause button. The noble Pause Buttons are a warrior race native to the planet Kashyyyk, if I remember my Lucas mythology correctly.

Darth Midget required a pair of platform shoes to maintain his imposing stature as a dark lord of the Sith.

As the superfans documented the evening for posterity, some, like the guy in the middle, had their eye on short-term gain. NB: If you want any hope of getting laid at one of these events, come dressed as Harrison Ford.

Even the ones not in full costume still looked like they were dressed for some other movie prequel. Napoleon Dynamite: The Early Years perhaps.

These unfortunate plebeians had to rot in line for hours and pay good money for the privilege.

Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Depardieu.

Meesa sad, meesa have no dialogue.

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