With each issue I’d like to take you through the halls of my old “alma mooster” StarWars.com, provided to us by the skilled design Jedi at LucasOnline. Sure, I was never part of the paid staff. I was sort of a volunteer janitor that no one could figure out how to get rid of, really. All the same, I’ve roamed those walls since I first snuck in about a year before the release of Episode I. In 2001, I joined the message boards, and then later became the dark and fuzzy overlord you know today.
I’m going to turn an analytical eye or two toward the features and functions on the Official Star Wars website. I’ll often be a fan, sometimes an apologist, and sometimes a critic. I think the important point here is that I’m going to shove my opinion down your throat, and your job is to sit there and take it. Or…not. Still reading? Sucker.
In this inaugural run I want to examine one of my most favorite features on StarWars.com: the Databank (or at least that’s what we used to call it). In truth, the Databank was the feature on StarWars.com that first captured my attention and held it for the better part of a decade. It’s why I came to StarWars.com in the first place. Working a night shift as a technical support rep, waiting for the stray mainframe abend to break the long silences, I relished in the opportunity to surf hot, illicit, dirty dirty Star Wars factoids. I ate it up, chucked it up, ate it again. Ok, yes, gross. But you get my point.
I absolutely loved the screen caps and the summaries, the captions, the organization into movies and EU material, and the wonderful way they found how to interconnect the many articles. It was the inner workings of a complex Empire of the imagination. I felt more like I was studying than surfing. This was back in a time when Star Wars fans were perhaps not so tightly associated, not so strongly identifiable as a group. We lurked, not even knowing we had anything in common, and would quietly pounce on anything Star Wars with reckless abandon. Passersby sometimes saw my intense focus on a book or a webpage, and every once in a while a connection was made eye-to-eye, in which a little prayer in the telepathic ether was shared. “Yeah dude. Need more Star Wars .”
In short, the Databank was a lifeboat in the Dark times. That, the Thrawn novels, Shadows of the Empire , and Truce at Bakurra . The Databank let us know that Star Wars was still alive and stuff was in production. I would dig through those pages looking for mystical nuggets of Jedi wisdom and Sith treachery.
(Continued. . .)