Over the weekend, I watched an entertaining documentary called The People vs. George Lucas. It got me thinking about the latest hysteria over the latest 40k 6th rumors. This got me thinking about the commonalities between Star Wars fans and Warhammer fans. The marvellous thing is Warhammer fans are not as rabid crazed maniacs as many Star Wars fans. There is a behavioral trait that George Lucas is eerily similar to some Games Workshop marketing methods.
In the documentary, there is one critical scene where an old Star Wars fan is asking his eight year old son what his favorite Star Wars movie was. The kid quickly picks up the Phantom Menace, while the father tries to persuade him to Empire Strikes Back. The kid makes a funny face and “blag” noise and quickly the father gives up.
As many of a certain geek age, we have general fondness for the original Star Wars, but this is not the case for the newer generation of fans. The current generation of fans have instead grown up with the new movies and the influential Clone Wars cartoons.
George Lucas is derided for his changing of “canon” like midichlorians, “Han not shooting first”, and JarJar–this has driven the hardcore fan bat shit crazy. Much the same way many commentators freaked out when I mentioned the prospect of GW changing certain fluff aspects of the game. Honestly, I could not believe that little portion of rumors would create the greats of fire storms. I had no idea how attached people are to the fluff, especially considering GW refuses to acknowledge Black Library books as canon.
What is even more entertaining (a topic for another conversation) is few people seem to genuinely care when fluff is changed for Xenos, but God forbid you touch anything Space Marine related.
So this gets back to Lucas because even more so than GW he is the creator of his own universe that so many people’s self-worth are tied to. That is the typical defense of Lucas and GW when people rant and rave about changes to history. For our parts as fans, all we can hold on to is the notion that we make these universes larger than their creators could have ever imagined. It is those feelings of ownership that seem to create distorted views of entitlement.
Star Wars fans haven’t done a great job (even with the bitching) stopping the leaching their hard-earned cash for the latest toy. Since, the hardcore and the internet pundits are so insignificant to bottom line of both Lucas and GW the only power they have is askew the reality for the average fan.
As for the children, (it is always about the children) it doesn’t matter if Tau are the Ultramarines best buddies because, in two years, the next crop of players won’t have any idea it was ever different. The point is this if the Dark Future is still only War and GW keeps on producing fantastic looking models it doesn’t truly matter. These minor changes in fluff will have no negative effect in sales. In fact, if allies survives it will be a net positive, because now I can buy a squad of Tau to run with my Marines. To the kid, he plays with all the toys he thinks are cool not being forced to pick one side.
This is what Lucas and GW understands that you can only go so far with the hardcore. They also both know that no matter what they do for the most part you have a lifer on your hand if they get to a certain age and still watch, play, and read. Kids are the way to grow the market for your game and kids can give a rats ass if Necrons worked once with Blood Angels, or Tyranids have no friends, and yes even Tau getting along with Space Marines.