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As Star Wars fans flock to theaters, some haters just don't get the hype

"It sounds like a dying horse. Does it even talk, or does it just make those horrible noises?" Gulfport lawyer and non-Star Wars fan Erika McArdle said of Chewbacca, the famous Wookiee. (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment via AP) CAET456

"It sounds like a dying horse. Does it even talk, or does it just make those horrible noises?" Gulfport lawyer and non-Star Wars fan Erika McArdle said of Chewbacca, the famous Wookiee. (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment via AP) CAET456

In a galaxy far, far away, a gold skeleton, a trash can and a monkey — or is it a dog? — are running around with some drones trying to kill each other.

That's the depth of understanding lawyer Erika McArdle has of the plot line behind the Star Wars franchise, which has captivated the world for nearly 40 years.

(Somewhere, a Jedi's ears are bleeding.)

A trial court competition coach at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, McCardle, 28, has spent the semester listening to her students attempt to convince her of the wonders of the Wookiee and the danger of the Death Star.

It didn't work.

"I just don't understand the concept of these weirdos that are running around in space," McArdle said.

While millions of people flood to movie theaters across the country tonight, donning Leia buns and holstering light sabers, McArdle plans to be anywhere but.

"Aren't their names numbers?" she asks about that "gold skeleton" and "trash can," also known as C-3PO and R2-D2.

And Chewbacca, the dog-monkey: "It sounds like a dying horse. Does it even talk, or does it just make those horrible noises?"

On lightsabers: "I don't even know what that does. Does it kill people?"

And Carrie Fisher's iconic character: "Apparently there's a princess in it, but it's not a Disney movie or anything."

(Well, actually, counselor...)

And this: "Is it Dark or Darth Vader?"

(We find her lack of knowledge disturbing.)

McArdle's not the only one not feeling The Force today. ("What is that? The Force of Nature?" she added.)

On social media, for every tweet like this...

… there were several more like this.

Ruskin resident John O'Berg's best friend called him an "odd cookie" for never getting into Star Wars. He is, after all, a data analyst for an insurance company.

"Everyone assumes that computer guy equals nerd equals Star Wars lover," said O'Berg, 34.

But when his colleagues stroll by his desk, shout out "Han shot first!" and wait for a response, he doesn't engage.

"I just stare blankly at them and walk away," he said.

Unlike McArdle, O'Berg has seen all the movies. He just didn't like them — though he admits R2-D2 is pretty cute.

He's on Team Star Trek, and a fan of other sci-fi and fantasy films. At least in Star Trek, O'Berg said, some of the technology that was predicted actually exists now.

"But we don't have lightsabers, yet," he said.

Alas.

The no-fun Nancy spirit of Star Wars haters hasn't deterred one student of McArdle's from preaching the gospel.

Wes Reynolds, 25, downloaded the Star Wars app on his phone so he could blast the class with the voice of Vader. At a trial court competition in Buffalo, New York, he and a classmate bought Stormtrooper beanies and gloves, just to annoy their coach.

And for Christmas, they gave her a Chewbacca doll.

"It has been an ordeal, to be honest," Reynolds said. "She just doesn't get it."

Despite his semester-long effort, Reynolds has admitted defeat.

"It's fine," he said. "I mean it's not, but it's fine."

Contact Katie Mettler at kmettler@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.

As Star Wars fans flock to theaters, some haters just don't get the hype 12/17/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2015 1:19pm]
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