On October 31, 2018, Kristian Harloff created a poll, asking if the Star Wars Belt should be retired after the Spectacular. Nearly sixteen hundred people voted on the poll with the fans, sparking a debate on the Facebook page. The forty-six percent of people voted to retire the belt while thirty-eight percent voted “No Way!” and sixteen percent voted “Make it 3 matches a year.”
Philipp Berghofer commented on the poll, saying the Star Wars matches have “the most views,” and he is right. The last match, Odd Couple vs Harris Brothers, had over 63,000 views while the last Star Wars Match, not paired up with other events like Collision and Spectacular, had over three times as many views with 159,286 views. At Orlando Celebration in 2017, Kristian turned away people from viewing the live event because the room they were occupying filled up.
So, the problem isn’t popularity. What are the problems of The Star Wars League Matches?
For one thing, every question is derived from only twelve theatrically released films. While people expect more movies in the future, Disney and Lucasfilm have only announced Episode IX in December 2019. In April 2019, Star Wars Celebration is coming to Chicago, IL, where they will announce more future movies, but Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, announced that there will be a “slowdown” for the franchise. Patience is not a solution if the league is to continue because everyone has to wait for the films to be made, released, and to be seen by the competitors.
Since there are limited amount of films, every future match has to have more difficult questions than past matches. Answering questions like “What did Obi Wan give to Luke in A New Hope?” are simply easier compared to “How many people ignited a lightsaber in the original trilogy?” One potential solution to both these problems is writing questions from all cannon sources, not just the movies. Despite being a “movie trivia” show, it would be hard for competitors to study every piece of the whole Star Wars canon.
Admittedly, it is fun to see competitors overcome these challenges with their deep understanding of the movie franchise. However, another fun component is playing along while watching the match. How many people purchased The Schmoedown app just to test their own skills against other fans or other Schmoedown competitors? If these questions become so difficult that fans can’t play along, how soon will people stop watching because it’s no longer fun for them to play along?
The biggest problem with the Star Wars League is that it has a limited amount of competitors. There’s Sam Witwer, Ken Napzok, Joseph Scrimsher, Steele Saunders, Shana O’Neil, Bruce Greene, and Alex Damon, who is the current champion. Most of these competitors played the game only once while a few played no more than three matches in the past year. Becky Yeboah commented, “Just needs more people . . .” The Schmoedown has many great players, but most are not hardcore Star War fans like Ken Napzok or Alex Damon. Will they enter the league in its current state, risking their stats and rankings?
Maybe it is time to hang up the belt after the Spectacular and return it to Innergeekdom. As of November 2nd, 2018, the Schmoedown would have given us twenty Innergeekdom Matches, thirty-two Single Matches, thirty-four Team Matches, and only two Star Wars Matches. Is it really worth the effort, time, and money for so few matches? Another positive thing Schmoedown fans could look forward to the league being retired is more resources available for future endevors. Kristian wants to take the show on the road, traveling to New York, Chicago, and other major cities. It would be easier to achieve that goal and give us more live events.
Nevertheless, fifty-four percent of people who voted on Kristian’s poll wanted the Star Wars matches to continue in one way or another. Andrew Engelmann proposed having them as exhibition matches. Combined with taking questions from all canon sources, this might be the solution that does the most good for the Star War League. With twelve potential exhibition matches in one year, three or four could be Star Wars themed, would be available to people who want to see them regardless of difficult questions, and can introduce new players without any risk to their stats and rankings. Technically, it might not be a “movie trivia” show and the belt would be retired, but this league has some limitations compared to the other three leagues and it might just have to make some changes for it to live on.