What Star Wars Can Learn From Disney

In case you weren’t quite sure, my piece a couple weeks ago on What Star Wars Can Learn From Glee was an April Fools gag. But buried within it were a couple nuggets of truth; it’s hard to craft a satirical argument like that unless at least a tiny part of you can see its way to believing it.

To wit: the Disney purchase really does mean a new era for Star Wars, in which the old rules don’t apply—or at least don’t need to. Just ask Marvel. The film slate exemplified by 2012’s The Avengers and continuing into the foreseeable future was hard for an independent studio to even imagine, but much like the Avengers themselves, Marvel’s vision combined with Disney’s financial backing brought about something that just couldn’t have worked otherwise.

I truly believe that this desire to take a successful property to the next level also motivated Disney’s purchase of Star Wars. There’s certainly an argument to be made that Star Wars can’t sustain a new movie every year, or every other year, or whatever the reality ends up being, in perpetuity, but if you’re willing to entertain the alternative (by which I mean a success rate at least on the level of the Expanded Universe’s storytelling), then at least in theory, the possibilities are greater than many realize. Read More

What Star Wars Can Learn From Glee

As we’ve said over and over on this site, D-Day didn’t just mean more Star Wars movies—it meant a new paradigm entirely for the franchise. The old ways of attracting new fans are slowly but surely producing diminishing returns. It’s time, I believe, for Star Wars to expand its horizons, and take lessons not just from other successful “geek” franchises, but from all sorts of broadly popular media, so as to attract new generations of people who aren’t already lining up for Comic-Con every year.

One great example of a franchise that’s phenomenally successful, critically beloved, and primed for crossover pollenation with Star Wars is, of course, the TV series Glee. Allow me to extrapolate. Read More

What Star Wars Can Learn from Wynde

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I recently had the pleasure of reading Tricia Barr’s first installment of the Fireheart series called Wynde. Some of you may know her from articles written for Star Wars: Insider or read her FANgirl blog. From the Amazon description the book sounded like a Star Wars type of story but it turned out to be an impressive display of everything I’m looking for with the future of Star Wars. I must admit that after mostly reading Star Wars books this year I was a little intimidated to be reading a new author’s work of almost 800 pages. It has been awhile since I’d picked up a book that long (probably Martin’s A Dance With Dragons) and so I timidly opened the book to begin. What unfolded has the potential to become my new favorite series. I am emphasizing “my” because I am somewhat of a special case. It is difficult for me to combine two passions in my life: Star Wars and horses. Tricia Barr manages to do that and so much more. The future of Star Wars can learn from this promising new author.
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What Star Wars Can Learn From The Jupiter Pirates

We’ve got a bit of an interesting case on our hands in that the “What Star Wars Can Learn From . . .” series here at Eleven-Thirty Eight generally tends to focus on other franchises entirely disconnected from Star Wars. The Jupiter Pirates: The Hunt for the Hydra is a brand-new novel by veteran Star Wars writer and esoterica enthusiast Jason Fry, who has written in his own original world but is definitely a player in the Expanded Universe that we all know and love. To that end, this article may well have been named: “Reasons why Jason Fry should be allowed to write a Star Wars novel.”

We shall try to maintain a dignified and discreet air about all this, though, because that suits our style better. But please imagine a subtext running throughout this article that amounts to a wink and a nudge to Lucasfilm and Del Rey to give this man a novel. We – that is, we ourself and not ETE proper – can also give our approving endorsement of this novel and certainly encourage our readers to give it a look.

This novel is kid-friendly in the best way: it’s written for a young adult audience (aged 8 to 12, according to Amazon, though the young adult label on the official website would suggest to us the ages of 13-18) and balances action with thoughtful world-building. It’s set in the future, but influenced by familiar history in a way that leaves the story grounded. That future is still plagued by some of the problems of today, but despite the historical tinge it’s not mired in backwards gender structures. These are all things we could stand to see more of in Star Wars.

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What Star Wars Can Learn From Mass Effect

You can fight like a krogan, run like a leopard, but you'll never be better than Commander Shepard.
You can fight like a krogan, run like a leopard, but you’ll never be better than Commander Shepard.

In the previous incarnations of this series examining what Star Wars could stand to take a few lessons from, Mike Cooper examined the Avatar franchise (no, not that one) and Lucas Jackson took a long look at the exquisitely-executed pseudohistorical freerunning-with-a-side-of-murder simulators that comprise Assassin’s Creed. In today’s article, we’ll be probing another series of popular video games: BioWare’s Mass Effect, unhelpfully defined by Wikipedia as “a series of science fiction action role-playing third person shooter video games.”

For those whose knowledge of the franchise begins and ends with that vague, kitchen sink-esque description, we’ll take a few moments to elaborate on the nature of the games and the overarching story before we move on to the meat of the article. In Mass Effect, players take on the role of Commander [insert name here] Shepard, a highly-trained marine in the military of the Systems Alliance (the interstellar arm of humanity) in the year 2183, serving aboard the SSV Normandy, a state-of-the-art prototype stealth reconnaissance frigate.

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