Star Wars is the Alpha and the Omega of all fandoms. Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the film's invasion of pop culture has ensured that no product, medium or philosophy is safe from a Star Wars makeover, and its fans have greeted its imagery wherever it popped up with open wallets… um, arms.
Since 1977, the Star Wars franchise has made a whopping $12 billion in toy sales alone. (No comic, movie, or video game convention would be complete without an army of bikini-clad Princess Leias swaying their hips.)
The film has become so ubiquitous that May 4th has been dubbed Star Wars Day, and people all over the world celebrate it by chanting, "May the 4th Be With You," and clogging your social media streams with memes that were only funny the first five times you read them.
While Star Wars didn't invent fan culture, its proliferation into every facet of our culture has certainly opened the doors to a wider acceptance of fandom as a hobby and lifestyle. Basically, you can blame (or hey, thank) Star Wars for Comic-Con.
Of Fans and Films
One of the hallmarks of Star Wars fandom is its sense of participatory culture. As Convergence Culture author Henry Jenkins said, "Star Wars becomes participatory culture the moment in which a kid playing with an action figure begins to make up their own story."
Star Wars fandom and its participatory culture are so far-reaching that we can't really do it justice here or even if we wrote a novel. A couple dozen authors with the goal of producing an A-Z encyclopedia on the subject might be able to pull it off… oh, wait, they did. It's called (har, har) Wookieepedia.