The excitement is palpable, for ‘The Rogue One’, the next in the Star Wars saga. While my love for the light sabres and all things inter galactic makes it difficult for me to analyze Star Wars as a brand, I have to stay true to inner voice in this case which sounds a lot like Yoda.
Try not, do. Or do not.There is no try.
So here are three things that have helped Star Wars create a massive cult over the years.
Consistency in Production Values
It seems like over simplification, but Episode IV, V, and VI do not really lag behind much from technical perspective, even from today’s standards. This means there is a certain consistency in the fictional universe that can cross over generations. In popular sitcom, the big bang theory, there is mention of ‘a machete order’, to see all six episodes. It basically means you can catch up on the story by watching the episodes back to back. What’s absolutely brilliant is that the quality of the movies does not go down when you see the original series. Although many people have bashed Lucas for tampering with CGI of the original episodes, one can see how that might have helped in updating the technical finesse. Great brands transcend the time and generations, and updating the technical side of the movies has helped in keeping the franchise fresh in public memory.
Regular Diversification and Brand Reinforcement
One of the easiest ways to keep a brand fresh in public memory is by keeping conversation around it. It’s a little different to do when what you are selling is a story. You can do sequels, you can do prequels, and then there are other things like books and animated series. Star Wars has done almost everything possible, and has covered all platforms over the years. It has immensely helped to create a generation that has been primed relentlessly to warmly receive the next chapter in saga.
The Underdog to Wondergod story
As far as character development goes, Star Wars employs the most common troupe for ‘hero’ of the story. The easiest way to instantly rally the support of masses is by making your brand ‘the underdog’. Everyone loves one. Can you think of any massively successful fictional character who has birthright that he needs to claim one day, special powers, and loss of family or parents. No? How about Harry Potter, Batman, Neo in Matrix and countless others? The idea of ‘the one’, the veiled references to his abilities gets massive excitement, because people always believe they are better than what the world thinks of them. So when a very ordinary character transforms into a mighty hero, the audience see their own reflection in that hero, because they too are unappreciated in many ways.
Perhaps it’s because so many people feel unappreciated, and unloved, that we see such massive response to fantasy. Underachiever inside all of us revels when we see the sweet success of a hero from humble origins like ours. By sheer statistics, generations that have more expectations from themselves and thus resultant desperation should have more Star Wars and fantasy lovers. Having said that, it’s really impossible to outright make any claims about correlations such as these. And despite all the statistical arrays we can build around decoding success of Star Wars, most of it cannot be replicated that easily. One must have a strong connection with ‘the force’ to do that. 🙂