What do Star Wars Episode VII and the NFL Professional Football Draft have in common? For starters, let me clarify immediately that, for the purposes of this article, Star Wars Episode VII does not refer to the movie itself, but rather to all the fan speculation surrounding it. Hopefully the movie, Star Wars Episode VII, will be nothing like the NFL Draft. Hopefully.
Two weekends ago was Star Wars Day, an unofficial holiday celebrating the creation of George Lucas’ beloved (and despised) Star Wars series. Of course, things have been slightly different recently. This marks the second Star Wars Day since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, a business move that also announced the impending release of Star Wars Episode VII. That happened in October of 2012, so there was not much information by the following May. Now, all that has changed (kinda). We have a director, we have a cast, we have theories! Interesting to note that Star Wars fans were not the only ones geeking out this month.
The NFL draft began on May 8th of this year, several weeks later than usual. Why: ratings. There is some bullsh*t “other” reason out there but really, the NFL Commissioner wanted more viewers. For those out there who do not know, the Draft is when the professional NFL teams select the promising players emerging from the college systems. In the weeks (or months) leading up to the Draft, experts sit around discussing possibilities. Which team will take which player? Which players will work out? Which players will bust? It is essentially pure speculation, backed by only the most basic logic (this logic is not an essential piece). Sound familiar?
Looks like the Star Wars geeks and the NFL jocks have something in common. They both like to speculate. These are not the only two subjects on there were speculation drives the fanbase. Any product where the information flow is not constant requires dedicated fans to fuel its interest and generate hype. Look at E3, where video game developers show trailers and fans instantly proclaim “console victory.” Remember Lost, the show that started the online craze of tracking fan theories and open speculation? Just how did Sherlock survive the fall?
If anything, the NFL Draft has a value lesson to teach these other arenas. There is money, a lot of it, to be made in speculation. Heck, pretty much all of Professional Sports commentary is just that: people sitting around discussing the odds that something might happen. Not like for just fifteen minutes either, these people make 9-5 jobs out of it.
For those out there who felt that three hours was excessive… please watch the NFL Network sometime.
With Professional Sports, there is one difference that I feel I should mention: the answer is not out there. Sure, the future will reveal everything, from who will win the next World Series to who will win the Bruins-Habs series that is happening in the NHL right now. Time is the only certainty that will remove the need for analysis and discussion. With Star Wars Episode VII: it is purely a marketing scheme. The script it out there, it exists. If J.J. Abrams felt like it, he could upload that cast reading that happened a couple of weeks ago and everyone would immediately know what would happen. But where is the fun in that?
Especially since we already know.
Star Wars Episode VII will suck. Star Wars Episode VII will resurrect the emperor. Benedict Cumberbatch will not be in Episode VII. Harrison Ford will have a co-leading role. Jar Jar Binks will not be in it.
I didn’t bother to source that last one… he just better not be.
I could do the same thing for the NFL Draft but it would be redundant. People enjoy talking about shared interests. People enjoy the excitement of what could be. People enjoy making money. This is how hype has become a business. The future will end the hype for both the 2014 NFL Draft selections and Star Wars Episode VII. Good thing we will have the 2015 Draft and Star Wars Episode VIII when that happens.