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“Why though?” Fandom’s Thirst for Answers

“Why though?” Fandom’s Thirst for Answers

With the release of The Last Jedi we are introduced to many new things to ask questions about. Will we get our answers for them? Probably some point down the line. But I think it’s interesting to look at why we ask those questions in the first place. Is it just a drive for knowledge? An incessant need to know everything related to the story? Or something else entirely?

Star Wars fans have been asking questions about the saga for over forty years. It’s a pretty long time. Back during the original release, the internet wasn’t around to facilitate a lot of the discussion that has happened since the mid 1990’s, but even back then fans wanted to know more about the movies. Obviously The Empire Strikes Back laid out the biggest twist that anyone could have predicted, but the sentiment of wanting answers to unanswered questions still prevails today.

Coming out of The Force Awakens, some of our biggest questions where “what happened to Luke?” and “who is Snoke?” With The Last Jedi we got one of those answered while the other remains a complete mystery. So what is it with these questions that makes us yearn for the answers so much? It’s human nature to ask questions when prompted with something that is new or mysterious and that comes with our fictional universes as well. With the overall myth and depth of storytelling in the saga, us as fans seem to have an insatiable knowledge when it comes to the characters, worlds, and events that take place within. The way we find belief and relatability inside the story drives our need to find answers to questions.

Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Who is Snoke? That one question still remains without an answer going on for over two years. He was introduced as this mysterious hologram being in charge of Kylo Ren, General Hux, and the First Order. That is pretty much all we got for answers between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. We received some more clarity on who he was in The Last Jedi but not enough to fully explain him. So, what is the difference between wanting to know who Snoke is and back when no one knew who Emperor Palpatine was in Return of the Jedi? In reality there is not much to differentiate the two’s stories from what we know currently. Thanks to the prequel trilogy we ended up learning about Palpatine’s origins, and that is the main driver for fans wanting to learn who Snoke is. That want and need to understand a character’s backstory is so ingrained in us that when we aren’t told it, it takes away from our enjoyment of the experience. This is more of a modern complication within fandoms.

In the end, it’s upon the creators of these stories to create and the fans can analyze and interpret and question as they see fit. It’s important to remember that it’s not required for all of our questions to be answered by every creator and we need to give them the freedom to craft their own stories and, in the end, answers.

As always you can leave a comment down below or email in thoughts, too.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Coffee With Kenobi, its hosts, respective writers, or its affiliates.

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2 Comments

  1. MelindaW
    January 30, 2018 at 07:44 Reply

    “…when we aren’t told it, it takes away from our enjoyment of the experience.”

    Must it (when we aren’t told the backstory or why something happened the way it happened) take away from our enjoyment? Only if one lets it. And that would be a shame.

    Why not leave a little mystery for one to ponder?

    Think about it — there is much with which we all deal throughout our lives about which we do not know the reasons “why”. When a child utters a plaintive “Why?” to a parent’s demand, all too often the parent responds with the typical “Because I said so,” which isn’t a real reason at all. It certainly isn’t satisfying to the child — because s/he just wants to know the true reason behind *whatever*. (The main reason why I never used that lazy excuse … although I was tempted to on a few occasions — for the simple reason of brevity. lol)

    While it is true, Mike, that we learned — a little — about Palpatine with the PT, how much do we truly know about him? All we learned was that he was a senator from Naboo who rose through the ranks to become Chancellor, manipulated an unsuspecting young man, learned the ways of the Dark Side of the Force from someone quite powerful, and was bent on galactic domination. But do we truly KNOW Palpatine? I think not. What is his background? What led him down the dark path? Why did he take the dark path? Those are questions that never have been answered, and while it would be nice to know, knowing the answers to those questions has no true bearing on my affinity for Star Wars.

    more…

  2. MelindaW
    January 30, 2018 at 07:49 Reply

    continued…

    Yes, it is human nature to question. That goes for happenings in real life and unwinding fictional tales. Sometimes we learn the answers to our questions; sometimes we do not. Is it necessary to be spoon fed every piece of information so we can connect the dots? I don’t think so. Especially in tales of fiction. There are some aspects of a story that are better left to the imagination. Stretch it, for an imagination is a terrible thing to waste.

    This was a fun read, Mike! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

    MTFBWY 🙂

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