The Black Spire Outpost: Mythology on a whole new level

It was a tough week last week, and as I say often, when I have one of those weeks where I must put my mind up over the turmoil, I commonly turn to a good Star Wars book to ease things contextually. So I took that opportunity to spend a few days reading the new Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, which is a new Star Wars novel by Delilah Dawson which is a direct tie in to the new land which recently opened at Disney World. My wife and I are planning a visit there soon so I’m starting to let myself enjoy the hype a bit, and I wanted to know the back story of the place, mythically. My impressions of Star Wars these days are that it is a lot weaker than it was when I was a kid, it used to be a place where boys could get away from the turmoil of thinking about girls. Girls have always had their things, their Barbies that want to do domestic things, where boys are wired for war and aggression. Star Wars gave young boys a place to go think about other things away from girls. But that’s not the way Disney wants to be, they want to reach everyone, especially girls. Their political activism has washed out Star Wars a lot, its more of a “pew, pew, pew” that girls make when the guns fire than a “boom, breerach, or a twew,” that come out of a boy’s mouth. To that effect the Black Spire book had very little action, and a lot of girly feelings but to be honest, I enjoyed it anyway and think the book, the amusement park and the upcoming movie are amazing in how mythology is taking the mind of mankind to a truly new level.

A lot of people are mad at Star Wars, and especially at Disney for taking away this boy refuge from them and making it much more girl friendly. They are also mad at the gender politics that is so heavy at Disney with everything they do, after all they want the whole audience, not just the boys. Like lots of traditional fans I am still mad that Disney turned their backs on the old fans of the Extended Universe and wrecked the cannon. I still have a hard time accepting as cannon any of the new stories, but I do think that Star Wars is worth working out the details, because it is inspiring in people a love of science that they really don’t get anywhere else. I get to talk to people all over the world each week and I have not found anybody who calls themselves an engineer who doesn’t love Star Wars. Disney may have screwed up the timeline and cannon of the stories, but this opportunity to build a new Star Wars land that people can visit, see and touch that ties into the rest of the greater mythology is just an astonishing opportunity. In a world where everyone seems to be getting dumber, Star Wars fans tend to be the exception and I think that’s wonderful and worth any bumps in the road that it took to get here.

Also, Star Wars and Disney are the last of the traditional ways of getting source entertainment material, whether it’s a book from a bookstore, or a destination vacation, or a movie released at the theater that still have a profit model. The trend is that some people have Amazon Prime accounts and are streaming movies directly. Others have Netflix. But not everyone has the same unified source material. We’ve certainly gained more freedom of entertainment options, but we no longer share the same options. So I found it very fascinating to read this backstory of the Black Spire ahead of our visit there to understand what the heck Disney was thinking in creating a Star Wars land that was never a part of any of the previous movies, but for stories not yet told, then to sell it off as Star Wars. It was a pretty big gamble that I hope pays off for them.

Sure enough, the Black Spire book was a fascinating journey to a new Star Wars world that is literally quite real in both the California and Florida parks. It introduced the main characters that are a part of the Disney Parks lands and explained why anyone would care about the backstory while visiting. Obviously, there is some kind of tie-in to the upcoming movie this December, which has a lot riding on it. It is truly an amazing time that we live in where such a mythology could be enjoyed at these various levels that are all tied together through story. While reading the Black Spire I couldn’t help but think of previous literary efforts well before movies became the dominate entertainment, such as Jules Verne’s work. Disney would later make movies out of them, but their enjoyment only lasted while the film was playing. What we are doing now is enjoying a fine new book then actually visiting the places in that book, eating in the restaurants talked about there, then seeing movies and television shows that then become part of the shared experience. It is exciting to consider how these new mythic tools might build up the mind of the people who enjoy them in a positive way.

Even if Star Wars is more girly now than when I was growing up, the idea of a type 3 civilization that harnesses all the various powers of their galaxy yet still be concerned about human problems is a very fascinating study. The Black Spire being a bit of a wild west town on the outskirts of such a society and the problems of government that come with managing all those people and juggling their natural autonomy is a good thing to think about. We are moving at such a pace these days that the best way to see what’s coming is to put your mind someplace where everything can be viewed together, and in spite of the Disney handling of Star Wars not being equal to fan expectations, what has been gained is more than worth it. I would have loved when I was a kid to have the opportunity to visit any kind of Star Wars land. Now I can, but not only that, but that land is in books and comics to enjoy across multiple platforms of entertainment. And for our entertainment of tomorrow, this is the way that mythology will be told best.

Mythology has always been the platform that mankind has used to think from and is what makes all of us different than every other kind of animal. People need to think about something before they can do it, and what Disney is providing is not only to think about it, but to see and feel it on a scale that just has never been possible before. The stories that the Black Spire Outpost isn’t doing well, and that Star Wars in general is struggling to refind its fanbase are part of that political activism I was talking about, in making it too girl friendly and robbing it as a refuge for boys to get away from the girls and their domestic problems. But what has been gained has truly been worth it. I enjoyed the Black Spire book and can’t wait to visit the park. Even as a hard-core older fan, I can forgive many of the fumbles that Disney has had because of the epic scale of mythology telling that they are now conducting. And I’m looking forward to a lot more.

Rich Hoffman

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