Well, market forces and technology changed everything in the ensuing years. Between the release of Star Wars in 1977 and the first sequel, Mann had learned how to hand paint his own of Star Wars shirts, an endeavor which presaged his creation of an entire line of Star Wars shirts for women, men and everybody else in more recent years.
And by the time of the release of Return of the Jedi (a shocking six years after Star Wars; it was originally going to be called "Revenge of the Jedi" and released in 1980), video tape was making it's impact all across America.
This was a miracle for movie geeks of all stripes. People were theoretically able to own their own copies of Star Wars movies and watch it whenever they wanted, in the comfort of their own homes!
Star Wars Shirts for Women, Boys, Girls, Men and Other Humanoids of the Galactic Empire!
Whether you're a gungun (sorry) or a wookie, a Jedi or a bounty hunter, or some other spacefarer, we've got cool, funny Star Wars shirts for women, boys, girls, men and everybody else. Even ewoks!
Of course, this was pragmatically impossible for most, as actually buying commercially recorded movies in those days was prohibitively expensive. Getting your hands on movies was what the local video store was for.
Parenthetically, this was a time of great panic for the movie business, as it was believed that "home viewing" would kill theaters. The studios clearly did not believe in The Force.
The Market Force.
The same fears were floated (even more so) when DVD arrived. Ironically, overall, the new technologies actually increased public interest, gave the studios a means to monetize their enormous back catalogues (which had never really existed before), and in general, made the studios more money, and more consistent money, too.
Instead of living and dying by their latest films, the big, well-known studios had a source of ongoing revenue. Who knew that video tape would force them to change their business model – kicking and screaming the entire way – to something even better?
The relentless march of technological progress would continuously bring the price of actually owning a movie down. The arrival of video disks, followed by DVDs and then Blu-Ray, made it possible. But streaming services and ultimately, video on demand, have made owning a movie unnecessary.
Taken together, it all ultimately spelled the end of that favorite fixture of American life, the video store, for good. Yes, kids, another whole business category wiped out by time and technology.
For Mann, the "Star Wars experience," such as some have characterized it, was profound. Luckily (or maybe unluckily, depending on how you measure it) our young artist came of age when George Lucas' fervid imagination and blockbuster films were a powerful force on both the culture and the collective imagination.
For a young lad like Mann, it's all inextricably tied to seminal life events, like graduations and girlfriends, first jobs and cars, the early phases of adulthood and the departure from childish things. To some extent, anyway.
Not to mention a line of Star Wars shirts for women, men, kids and other bipeds.
The girlfriends, the cars, the jobs – even most of the buddies are vanished to the mists of time – but the love of Star Wars lingers on. It probably always will...
Some Guys Get "The Force" – Other's Get "The Farce" – And It Is With Them, Always...
Mann shudders when recounting all the different ways he has "bought the whole farm, manure and all" more than once, and is sure the evil genius behind it all, George Lucas, has laughed all the way to the bank – repeatedly!
There were the innumerable versions and editions of the Star Wars saga, on tape, video disk, DVD, Blu-ray... not to mention all the other related memorabilia... many thousands of dollars worth, at least...
Today, Mann's enthusiasm for Star Wars has waned considerably; the inevitable result of the distance of years, decades of life experience and, as Mann is pained to say, what he would consider very bad creative choices made by Lucasfilm over the course of time.
Many highly personal Star Wars-related memories, good and bad, which we've only touched on here, don't change his fundamental love for the pastiche science-fantasy universe of George Lucas. Which probably explains, despite it all, why he's created his archly funny line of Star Wars shirts for women, children and aliens (as long as they are bilaterally symmetrical, anyway).
Yes, it's difficult to feel great affection when still smarting, decades later, over the existential and unforgivable threats of so-cute-I-might-puke ewoks and an entire race of Rastafarian gungans, or forgive such transgressions. It may even explain his "The Farce" series of tees, and other somewhat caustic, satirical Star Wars-inspired designs. But despite it all, the unrequited love lives on...
Or maybe Mann's just fixated on getting back at George Lucas for "the slight" all those years ago. But that's a long Seinfeldian tale of bitter Hollywood resentment and revenge, better left for another time...