Jay Bushman does an exemplary job of articulating the industry’s formative state in his article about his time as a Cloudmaker, a name affectionately adopted to describe players of the genre-defining alternate reality game for the film A.I.. Bushman notes that the state of the industry can be analogized to the film industry circa 1926, before the release of The Jazz Singer manifested the argument for talkies. As Bushman explains, The Jazz Singer “was not the first film with sound, but it was the first one to make its benefits obvious and to show that sound was the way forward.”
Star Wars is the monomyth of Gens- X and Y: so pervasive that it occupies the mental volume whole genres did in the past. In some future accounting of late twentieth and early twenty-first century popular entertainment the term Star Wars could be spoken in the same way we now say “the Western.” Star Wars isn’t entertainment: it is a language, and anyone with access to the Internet, DVD, VHS, Super-8, or two cans attached by a string can share in the conversation.
As members of an audience, millions of us feel that Star Wars speaks to and for us. We made it a touchstone and a way of life. George Lucas may be rich enough to own half of Marin County, but we gave him our minds and money. In our gluttonous lust to replicate the exhilaration of a matinee from 1977, we demanded that his otherwise fun little film metastasize into so pervasive a chunk of the collective unconscious that Carl Jung now sports Mandalorian armor and flies a modified Firespray-31 attack cruiser turned slave ship.