Star Wars fans are excited for the The Force Awakens like little kids are excited for Christmas morning. Seems fitting, then that the film’s release day should be its own holiday, right?
Frank Martinez thinks so and he is asking President Obama to declare Friday, December 18 a national holiday so all Americans can go see the movie. “There are more pressing issues in the US, but this is a day that will bridge people across America,” he wrote.
With only days to go before The Force Awakens hits theaters it seems unlikely that we’ll be getting that holiday. So, instead, we’ll celebrate the release of the latest Star Wars film by taking a look how people show their fandom and excitement on Change.org.
Nearly 300 Star Wars petitions have been started on Change.org between 2011 and this week. Almost 58% of those petitions were started in the last year, demonstrating how anticipation around the new film was also building on Change.org. Just to emphasize that point, 80 petitions were started about Star Wars in the last three months.
While many of those petitions came from the U.S. – 44% to be exact – people have started petitions about Star Wars in 35 other countries. That’s right, Star Wars fans are everywhere.
“The size of the fanhood is so large that I wouldn’t say there are demographics with no fans,” Graham Gee, general manager for home entertainment at Nielsen, told Ad Age in a recent article about Star Wars fans.
I’m sure you’re wondering, what people want to change about Star Wars and the Star Wars universe? When you read through the list of petitions, a few of trends breakthrough right away:
1. Jar-Jar Binks is a very divisive character.
Of any character in the Star Wars universe, it’s Jar-Jar Binks that is the focus of more petitions than any others. On one side, you have people who recognize the character’s “complexity and depth” and want whole movies about Jar-Jar. On the other side you have a lot of people starting petitions to kill off Jar-Jar.
2. People are really into Star Wars video games.
There are a lot of people petitioning EA about the Star Wars video games they make. Some ask for new features or to re-release older games. This petition asks EA to finish production on a new game, Star Wars 1313, which was first demoed in 2012 and may be released (in some form) soon.
3. People want The Clone Wars back on the air.
The animated TV show was cancelled in the middle of its sixth season in 2014 following Disney’s purchase of Lucas Film. Unaired episodes were later released on Netflix and and four incomplete episodes were released recently, but fans aren’t satisfied with how the show wrapped up. Many have started petitions like this one – “Bring Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 & 8!”
4. People really want to show Star Wars love on social media.
There are petitions to Facebook, Skype, and WhatsApp, among others to specially themed stickers, emojis, and emoticons for the movies launch. This petition asked for Facebook stickers, but hopefully the petitioner will be satisfied with the ability to add a lightsaber to her profile pic, a la the movie poster.
The levels of success in petitioning Disney and EA to change things about Star Wars is fairly low, but they do happen.
One of the most touching Star Wars petitions that won a month ago asked Disney and J.J. Abrams to allow a fan named Daniel Fleetwood to see The Force Awakens before its release.
Fleetwood, a fan of the franchise since the age of eight, was diagnosed two years ago with a rare connective tissue cancer and feared he would not live until Decemeber 18. With the support of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and John Boyega – and lots of other Star Wars fans – Fleetwood was given an early screening before he passed away in early November.
Come back after you see The Force Awakens and let us know what you think of the movie. Want to see something change in the next film?