Dutch Star Wars journalist Dennis Pellegrom interviewed more than 180 actors, crew members, etc. of Star Wars. He says, Star Wars is not the most popular franchise for the kids of the Netherlands, and the fandom was never been so divided.
What does Star Wars mean to me and my country
In 1983 I was introduced to Star Wars. In that year (I had just turned 7) I saw some bits of the famous Sarlacc Pit scene from Return of the Jedi (which was just released) on television. Shortly after this I saw it at the cinema and became a fan for life. This was my first step into what Obi-Wan calls ‘a larger world’.
Over the years that followed I never lost interest and things got serious. I worked for various Star Wars websites (currently the Dutch Star Wars site and I have my own site: StarWarsInterviews.com) and on two occasions as the personal assistant of my childhood hero: Anthony ‘C–3PO’ Daniels.
Star Wars Interviews contains the world’s largest archive of unique self-conducted Star Wars interviews with Star Wars cast and crew by Dennis Pellegrom.
Another thing I started to do was to interview all the people involved with Star Wars: cast, crew, you name it. My score since 2005 is over 180 interviews! Many of these interviews were mentioned in the credits of various Star Wars books including ‘The Making of Return of the Jedi’, ‘Stormtroopers Beyond the Armor’, ‘Star Wars Icons: Han Solo’ and ‘The Star Wars Archives’ and my own book series: ‘Star Wars Interviews’, of which two volumes have been released and a third one is coming this fall.
So yeah, you could say Star Wars means something to me.
As for what Star Wars means to the Netherlands: I have witnessed the Star Wars phenomena several times in the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the Netherlands doesn’t even come close to that. Looking at my own kids and the kids at their school I can’t say Star Wars is the most popular franchise! There’s stiff competition from the MCU and Pokémon!
Where the fandom is heading
The fandom has never been so divided. One could write books about the Star Wars fandom but I’ll try to keep it short. What surprises me is that up until a couple of years ago fans would talk about planets, which starships they’d like to see in an upcoming book/game/movie and the Star Wars lore. Nowadays it’s suddenly about diversity/inclusion and real world politics. What doesn’t help is the fact that there are Star Wars authors who feel it is necessary to include that in their works while ignoring the things that made Star Wars a timeless classic.
What the franchise needs is one person: George Lucas. The Maker and the heart and soul of the franchise.
Disney’s decision to declare the Expanded Universe (and so many lore and great stories) non-canon and start over again AND the fact they threw away Lucas’ ideas/treatments for the sequels was bad in many ways. Besides that, what they did with the storylines of the legacy characters (Luke, Han and Leia, but also Lando) seemed like some sort of fan fiction. These decisions have divided the fanbase with the box office bomb of Solo as a result. Many people (who were fans since the prequels or the original trilogy) complain or have left the fanbase because they don’t agree with the current course. In some cases they were insulted by other fans and even Lucasfilm employees for that! During the George Lucas era something like that would have been unthinkable. Disney officially reported the toy sales made a loss so I am curious to find out if the decision to bet on the new fans was a good one business wise.
I guess that after The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker we will have a better idea of where the fandom (and the franchise) is heading.
A message to the Hungarian readers
For three and a half season I have watched Hungarian football player Balázs Dzsudzsák play live in the stadium for PSV Eindhoven; my home team. He played a huge part beating Ajax Amsterdam 4–3 by scoring 2 goals… which made my day. (Editor’s note: That day was exactly 30 years after the premiere of Star Wars in Hungary.)
The Force was with him.
Hungarians; thanks for delivering such a great player and for reading my story. All the best from the Netherlands!
Cover picture: George Lucas (GQ.com)