2016 started with me reading Alan Dean Fosters novelisation of The Force Awakens and seeing it for the third time at the cinema, this time with my wife and her family.
Over the next couple of months I binged on Star Wars books. The three Journey to the Force Awakens junior books were great fun, I loved the new written adventures of Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia and I finally read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (which is still one of the best books in the new canon).
I also developed a very unhealthy obsession with Funko Pop! Vinyl. Within a month my collection had gone from seven that I got for Christmas to almost twenty. I tore myself away from them briefly to buy the Lego Rey’s Speeder set, not a long or big build but a nice looking set nonetheless.
Finally the home release of The Force Awakens came out in March and on top of that, I was able to convince my wife to buy me tickets for Star Wars Celebration in London for my birthday (I was turning 30 and wanted to do something memorable).
Then one day we found out that the Rogue One teaser trailer was coming out the next day.
The next day, at work I was at my computer at lunch and the news broke, the trailer was online. I plugged in my headphones and set it off.
Two co-workers were in the room, the looks on their faces said it all. I was a geek. Not only that but when the alarm was sounding through the trailer, I had the volume so loud they thought I was listening to cats being injured. I didn’t care and watched it a couple more times and went back to work.
I started a Star Wars/Pop! Vinyl review channel on YouTube which can be viewed HERE. But it was short lived when collecting started to become a chore instead of fun.
By now, my wife and I had been trying for a baby and we finally found out one afternoons that she was pregnant. Unfortunately, the next day my wife suffered a miscarriage.
Over the next few weeks we threw ourselves into whatever we could to take our minds off of it. For her that meant clothes, me, Lego and Pop!s. One afternoon, in a weird and disturbing flashback to years before, after my Dad and I watched The Force Awakens on his 55 inch TV, I bought a Lego set and sat on the living room floor and built it. The set in question, Poe Dameron’s X-Wing.
Not long after, my birthday arrived and with it a slew of Lego sets. I was building for what felt like days, it was great. And of course, Star Wars Celebration was getting closer.
Celebration was amazing, just absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I have written about it in two… yes TWO blog posts that will be out later this week.
In August, whilst away on a family holiday with my in-laws news got around that a new Rogue One trailer was coming out the next day. So when it did I became rather anti-social for a few minutes and hid in a room for five minutes and left with a huge grin on my face. Unfortunately that was also the week that Kenny Baker passed away.
September 1st was Rogue Friday. Oh the beautiful, beautiful toys. I went to Tesco at midnight in hope of buying up some new goodies but left disappointed. But when I woke up I was able to reserve a Lego set, the U-Wing and picked it up after work. Then on the Saturday after I went to Toys R Us and got the Jyn Erso and Scariff Shoretrooper TRU Exclusive Pop! Vinyl figures. A quick stroll through town brought my attention to HMV where they had some Pop!s for sale and I got a discounted Leia in Boushh Disguise for over half price. And to top it off, not long after my wife and I found out that she was pregnant.
I had to hold back my collecting for the rest of the year. My mother-in-law took note of the Rogue One Lego sets I was after and so I was forbidden to buy any in case they got me it for Christmas. So I limited myself to amassing an army of Pop!s instead. By now I had filled shelves and my Dad and I had put more shelves up in the Man Cave to accommodate the growing collection. If you have seen the pictures in the post Collecting: Lego and Pop! Vinyl (read it here) then you know I’m almost out of space again.
Just before Christmas, Lego released their Winter wave of sets, and having just received a bonus from work I bought one of the new sets from Rogue One, the new Y-Wing. It was a great build and a huge improvement on the version I had bought back in 1999.
As Christmas rolled around again I was able to figure out (ok my Wife flat-out asked me for confirmation on what set I wanted) which set my in-laws we’re buying me, Krennic’s Shuttle.
Of course I had seen Rogue One by then, three times in fact. Midnight screening, once with my dad and as I was nearby on the night of our work Christmas do I saw it after the meal before I went home. Luckily my Wife was already asleep by the time I got home.
On 23rd December it was revealed that Carrie Fisher had suffered a medical emergency on a plane 15 minutes before landing in L.A. Reports that came out after that claimed she was in a stable condition. I, like many other fans felt like things would be ok. Sadly I was wrong.
On the 27th December, during a family gathering at my wife’s grandparents house she called over to me, telling me Carrie had passed away.
I can’t describe what I felt, it’s not like I knew her personally, I hadn’t even met her at a Celebration after deciding to avoid any autograph or photo-op lines. But hearing about her passing affected me, along with the rest of the fan base as I later found out when I finally got the courage to listen to Steele Saunders Live Call In Show that was recorded that day.
That night as I watched the news (the only time I ever did by choice) and saw the piece on her life, I sat on the front room floor, building Lego in a state of mourning.
Of course, the internet showed it’s ugly head. So many fans were bellyaching about the future of the character and demanding answers. It was only to be expected I suppose, that’s the internet for you these days.
And the last days of the year went by and the Rogue One hype carried us through and Episode VIII was on the horizon.