Franchise Wars

With the release of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropping earlier this week, and the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi due out in a few days, nerd-dom is at its highest of levels right now. And while I cannot wait to see The Last Jedi in theaters on opening day, I’ve come to realize that I am more excited for Avengers than I am for Star Wars.

To some, this may seem sacrilegious. The franchises aren’t even in the same category or genre. How can they even be compared?

Earlier this week, Mark Hamill expressed his feelings about the Star Wars franchise on Good Morning America:

“When I read the script, I was stunned. These films now are being made by people that were children when the first films came out. They were the generation that grew up as fans and now are in charge of the franchise. It’s wonderful to be associated with something that makes people so happy. It’s escapism…we don’t want real life, it’s too harsh…”

Hamill isn’t wrong. Star Wars is quite the escapism for fans to leave the real world behind. And while I long for a release from the monotony of the day to day, Marvel has taken this idea on a different path.

In 2008, Marvel Studios’ Iron Man rocked box offices and started a ten year journey to the moment fans have waited for next year. In one film, they created the foundations for a franchise that rivaled Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and even Star Wars. What Marvel Studios did was allow the world to see that superheroes were still relevant in modern society.

I was never much of a comic reader as a kid (surprise!), mostly because they were expensive and I nor my parents could afford them regularly. But where older comics dealt with issues plaguing the WWII era – Captain America punching Nazis – many of the modern comics did not line up nicely with modern worldly issues. (Again, I’d like to restate that I did not read many comics as a kid, so perhaps I just never noticed that they did.) So when Iron Man rose to meet the challenges of war during our currently state of affairs in 2008, a realistic type of escapism occurred.

Maybe it could also be that I never discovered Star Wars until I was in my teens. Maybe those that grew up with the franchise connect more closely. Maybe it’s Marvel’s marketing to produce two movies a year that intertwine so seamlessly , where Star Wars is playing catch up with Rogue One and the upcoming Solo film.

Hamill’s right in that we all want an escape, but for me I want that escape to seem real. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to be a Jedi at heart, or that I don’t want to create screen-accurate Jedi cosplay, or that I can’t wait for an Obi-Wan Kenobi solo film. But for me, I watched that Infinity War trailer, ten years of emotion and excitement game me goosebumps. I love the Star Wars franchise for its fantasy entertainment, but the Marvel films to be more a more realistic, hopeful sort of fantasy escape for me.

What do you think? Which movie are you excited to see more? Do you think these franchises will see in an end in the near future? I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.

Avengers: Infinity WarTrailer

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer

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