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Musings on the Nature of Fandom

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Being a fan is a curious thing. It can bring people together, it can tear them apart. It can make someone shout, laugh and jump for joy, or it can be depressing, make them scream, cry tears of sorrow or rage. A fan does not merely like something or enjoy something, they make that something a part of who they are, a part of their personality, of their identity. Being a fan takes on all sorts of shapes and sizes and people become fans for a number of different reasons, almost always reasons that are very personal to them, reasons that can be hard to explain to someone who may not be a fan as well.

Being a fan of something is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Not all fans are created equal. People naturally experience things in different ways in all aspects of life, not only in being fans. Just as not all people are fans of the same thing, people who are fans may not be fans for the same reasons, or may not enjoy things the same way, or may have become fans at different stages of life, the list goes on. Someone may be a more critical, while another person is more accepting; one might be tightly wound, another may be more laid back. The size of a given fan group does not matter; no two fans will ever be exactly alike, no matter how big or small the fandom as a whole. Read More

Escape Pod: Wedge Antilles

The coming sequel trilogy has put a lot of value on the presence of the older generation of heroes and on the impact they had. While it remains to be seen how the Rebellion/Alliance will fare in the new continuity, it’s a safe bet that a New Republic still exists even if it’s not necessarily by that name. In that new Republic the vested veterans of the Rebellion, the heroes of the original trilogy, will likely have influential positions, just as they did in the Legends stories. Leia will likely be a politician still, Han may be a military officer, and Luke a veteran Jedi Master, perhaps the head of a new Jedi Order. But they are not the only veterans of the war against the Empire.

Consider one Wedge Antilles.

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Scoring the Saga: The Music of Star Wars

What would Star Wars be without John Williams? The opening blast of horns, percussion and strings in the Star Wars theme is one of the most iconic moments in all of cinema. The music score for the film we now know as Episode IV: A New Hope has more than stood the test of time, being named #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the all-time best movie scores, and each successive entry in the series only added to that legacy. Songs like the Cantina Theme, the Imperial March, Duel of the Fates and Battle of the Heroes are hummed across the world by hardcore fans and casual moviegoers alike. The series’ collective soundtrack ranks with the most iconic and influential film scores of all time.

You don’t have to rely on imagination to wonder what Star Wars would be without its soundtrack. If you watch the first trailer cut for the first film, you see iconic scenes from the Death Star escape and the cantina fight unfold in almost complete silence aside from a stock synthesized beat. It’s an eerie experience. John Williams gave the Star Wars films a sound that is at once classic and distinctive, filled with blaring trumpets, shouting horns, soaring violins, humming cellos, pounding drums and crashing cymbals. His work is a substantial part of what has made the films such icons of pop culture for the last four decades. Read More

Episode VII Marketing: What’s Taking So Long?

The San Diego Comic Convention has come and gone. An expo celebrating everything nerdy and some things that aren’t, SDCC has become an ideal location for many companies to announce projects and give one of their primary audiences a taste of things to come. Marvel, Warner Brothers, and Legendary Pictures, among others, brought bits and pieces of upcoming films to build hype and help them put butts in seats. But one major filmmaker was notably absent from the proceedings. I’m speaking of course of Lucasfilm.

I exaggerate, however, because Lucasfilm was present at SDCC. They brought the cast of their new TV show, Star Wars Rebels, along with a closed-door look at the first two episodes, to follow up the show’s heavy promotion at this year’s Star Wars Weekends at Disney World. But, while cool enough, that was not all fan were hoping for. Perhaps the most anticipated movie of the decade, the as-yet-untitled Star Wars Episode VII, had no presence at the convention at all. The cast remained on set at Pinewood Studios, the crew remained hard at work, and no one in the Executive Producers’ seats deigned to give con-goers so much as a video message. Read More

Clone Wars Character Autopsy: Ahsoka Tano

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Our previous two articles focused on some of the villains of The Clone Wars, both of whom originated elsewhere but received the lion’s share of their development within the 100-plus episodes of the TV show. There were many notable characters who were created specifically for the show as well, on both sides of the conflict. But none of them received the spotlight as much or as harshly as Ahsoka Tano.

Behind the scenes, Ahsoka was created as part of the initial outline of the show, which involved her and an elder Jedi Master, along with other more motley crew members, traveling the Outer Rim and involving themselves with various adventures. George Lucas saw the concept art and initial sketches of her and proposed that she be apprenticed to a more notable Jedi instead: Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka, in his eyes, would be the ideal tool to help Anakin develop from the brash, undisciplined apprentice he was at the end of Attack of the Clones into a more mature, reserved Jedi Knight in Revenge of the Sith.

Like Asajj Ventress before her, however, Ahsoka would grow into a full-fledged character in her own right. Though apprenticed to Anakin, throughout the show’s run she often left Anakin’s side and joined other Jedi on adventures through many scopes of the war. This, along with her unorthodox lightsaber style and penchant for giving nicknames (and snark) to everyone she met rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way as she made her debut in the Clone Wars movie. On the other hand, she has become a favorite character for a large portion of fans for some of those same reasons, especially among young girls. Read More