Review Fix chats with author Ken Napzok to see what inspired his new book, “Why We Love Star Wars.”
Review Fix: What inspired this book?
Ken Napzok: This book was inspired by my own journey of being a fan of Star Wars for decades now and the desire to share my joy of the franchise with every generation of fan, past, present, and future. Everything I have done in and around the Star Wars universe has been done with a keen sense of celebration. Whether on podcasts, stage shows, and even just in my day-to-day conversations with other fans, my love of Star Wars always remains on the side celebrating every aspect of this grand space opera — the light, the dark, and, even, the silly. Why We Love Star Wars is from that point of view and I want it to keep connecting with new fans as well as the old.
Review Fix: What was the writing process like for you?
Napzok: Writing Why We Love Star Wars was an absolute challenge for myself creatively. I found that no matter what game plan I had for the book — even just one day of writing — or what I thought I wanted to say about Star Wars, it was never easy getting it down. I am more versed in writing essays, short stories, or speeches. I write like I speak… and I always speak like I’m addressing a crowd that is about to laugh, cry, or react. So even though this book IS a collection of essays and short stories, it was a wonderful challenge for my creativity, focus, and discipline. And like any true creative, I am in love with every word I wrote while simultaneously regretting every single one of them.
There were days where I just didn’t want to write — but I had to.
There were days when I couldn’t find the right words — but I had to.
There were days when I did not want to change what I wrote — but I had to.
The process of writing this book was one of personal and professional growth as much as it was celebrating Star Wars.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this book the most?
Napzok: I wish the answer was just simply Star Wars fans, but nothing is that simple anymore in fandoms. Opinions vary. Tastes change. Expectations remain (impossibly) high. My hope then is that Star Wars fans of ALL generations who still find a love of Star Wars in the small moments across many forms of media will connect with my take on these very moments as well as the big, iconic ones we all know and love. Does the image of Luke Skywalker igniting his green lightsaber in Return of the Jedi make your heart skip a beat just as much as the sounds of Speeder Bike or the roar of a porg? Did you spend countless hours “playing” Star Wars with your friends on the playgrounds of your youth? Do you have a favorite Star Wars vehicle that you’ve now spent a lifetime collecting toys of? Have you been a fan for decades or have you just discovered it but can’t wait to devour it all? Then you might enjoy Why We Love Star Wars.
Review Fix: Why do you think has Star Wars endured?
Napzok: There are smarter people with fancier words out there that could answer this much better than I can… and they have books about that. I always go with my heart and proudly slap my passions on my sleeves for all to see. Star Wars endures because it constantly inspires. Whether it is the big, wide themes that make this a modern myth or the nuanced layers that challenge us the more you dig into the stories, Star Wars connects with us on a base level. We are all Luke Skywalker staring out into the twin suns on Tatooine wondering what else is out there for us? We are all Rey lost in a daydream wondering what our part in the story is? We are even the conflicted soul of Darth Vader. The good-natured bravado of Han Solo. We are even the Millennium Falcon just trying to stay together. Star Wars does not endure just because of the stories, the romances, the fights, and the capes — well maybe the capes. Star Wars endures because it is a part of all of us.
Review Fix: What do you believe was the series’ darkest moment? In terms of a huge reduction in its expected quality.
Napzok: There have always been great struggles within the Star Wars fandom of our own expectations getting in the way of the story that keeps rolling out in front of us. Once the story started, fan after fan starting filling in the blanks of what came next and what might have come before in their own minds. Everything after 1977 has been met with some sort of darkness and it always will be. I love the challenge of a new story or character bringing something different to the saga. Sometimes, you absolutely have to see things a second time or from a different point of view to fully appreciate what is jumping off the page or screen at you. Star Wars rewards those that look for what they love about it, not what they’re missing from it. The darkest moment in the series was when there as no new Star Wars… and I hope we never have to go through that again.
Review Fix: What did you learn that you didn’t expect?
Napzok: During the writing process, I learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a fan, I often found deeper meanings in characters and moments I wasn’t fully aware of. Again, when you look for it, Star Wars rewards with you so much more than just what you’re seeing on screen or read in a book or comic. However, what I’ve learned the most has come after the book hit the world. Since its release this past May I have been surprised by the shared connections and unabashed love for Star Wars that is still very much out there. Star Wars means nothing in the grand scheme of things, right? It’s a silly movie full of over the top characters and moments. Yet it means everything to all of us who call ourselves fans. And time and time again, I have been reminded that the love I have for Star Wars is both uniquely mine and shared by many. This book has been about my journey through the galaxy, but it’s also yours.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Napzok: Creating. Always creating. I should be recording another podcast right now. In terms of writing, I’m already thinking ahead but I’m still very much in the mindset of a door-to-door salesman. Except instead of vacuums, I’m carrying this book around, gratefully. That’s the other part of writing they don’t ever really tell you. Writing is not even half the journey.