OTW Fannews: Fandom Force

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  • The release of the new Star Wars film prompted a renewed focus on fan activities in the news media, such as this speculation on the role of the prequels. “By the mid 2000s it was clear: George Lucas had betrayed us Star Wars fans. From his director chair he shot lifeless actors on lifeless green screens as he produced the terrible prequels and updates to the original films. In response, we the fans began to take ownership of Star Wars away from George Lucas. We became the moral owners and protectors of Star Wars. It was our galaxy now. We were Star Wars. He was not. The Star Wars prequels and special editions have caused a lot of debate. Yet, their role in how they have shaped a fan community is often overlooked. The prequels illustrate the fascinating ways fan culture survives and evolves.”
  • Other outlets tried to identify where fandom lived, but the answer, as The Star presented, is everywhere. “In Malaysia, one group of fans have taken it a step further and turned into a band of lightsaber-wielding heroes who have spent the last few years entertaining local fans at various themed event. Meet the Force Arts Stunt Team (FAST), a group of lightsaber choreography performers based in the Klang Valley who don full Jedi and Sith costumes and act out self-choreographed fight scenes with life-sized stunt lightsabers in front of live audiences.”
  • Fandom appeared in a number of unexpected places as well. Many outlets reported on a German’s church outreach to fans. “A church in the German capital invited ‘Star Wars’ fans to attend a special service Sunday themed on the sci-fi blockbuster in an attempt to attract more young people into the pews. About 500 people heeded the call and attended the service, some carrying light saber props or wearing Darth Vader masks. It was more than twice as many as usually come to Zion Church on a Sunday.” (For others, the surprise was inside the house all along.)
  • Unfortunately, some writers still can’t get let go of the weird label for anything fannish. Fortunately, other sites and writers have a much better handle on how to present amazing work as just that. Plus, how about actually speaking to the fanworks creators? “[A]rtist Kelly Kerrigan explained how she was inspired to combine cuddly creatures with their ‘Star Wars’ comrades after her husband Paul’s death in 2010. Paul, whose favorite film was Jimmy Stewart’s ‘Harvey,’ had a soft spot for bunnies, even calling them his spirit animal. The ‘Star Wars’ characters act not only as effective foils to their cuddlier counterparts, they remind Kerrigan of bonding with her husband over their shared love of the trilogy in college.”

What stories about the new film’s premiere do you think should be remembered? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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