Jedi Junkies Documentary: A Flattering Look at Fandom

The recently released Jedi Junkies documentary is a tour through Star Wars fandom, from the sexy to the slightly scary. But unlike some other documentaries I’ve seen that touch on serious fans, this one doesn’t seem to have the mocking undertones. Even interspersed with interviews with a psychologist talking about the nature of obsession, it’s entirely respectful.

Though it touches on a lot of different types of Star Wars fans, the film highlights a few specific components:

  • Collectors
  • Tribute bands
  • Custom-made lightsabers
  • New York Jedi, a lightsaber dueling/choreography group
  • Two fan films: one called “Stuck on Star Wars” that included building a life-size Millennium Falcon in someone’s backyard, and one still in production called “Tremors of the Force”
  • Behind the scenes of Chad Vader
  • Slave Leias, with a look at one photoshoot we’ve seen before, and interviews with a Leia burlesque dancer and a bellydancer

There are also interviews with Attack of the Show’s Olivia Munn, who spoke about the difference between dorky and sexy when it comes to fans:

“Dorky Star Wars fans are the ones who have to correct you on every single thing.  Sexy are the guys who know and are passionate about it and can handle a lightsaber pretty well, and I can sit down and have coffee with you and talk about it without being corrected every third word.”

If you’re a big Star Wars fan, you’ll probably get a kick out of this documentary, particularly the stuff you recognize. A lot of filming was done at conventions; I recognize a lot of Dragon Con in particular. And if you’re not a fan… well, you probably won’t get it. But all in all, it’s very well done and pretty entertaining, and the fans come off as people with a hobby as opposed to scary obsessives (with the possible exception of the collectors, who are at times self-deprecating).  It’s now available on iTunes or for purchase or rent. And here’s the trailer!