Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released this week! What did you make of it? Has it got you excited for episode IX? Let us know in the comments!
The OTW was itself the subject of a major news story, as the AO3 was nominated for a Hugo award in the category of Best Related Work. Many fans have been celebrating the “nomination of our own” as evidence of fanworks’ growing legitimacy; others have taken the opportunity to praise the AO3’s hardworking developers, systems administrators and other volunteers. OTW co-founder (and AO3 visionary!) astolat took the opportunity to express gratitude for everybody involved with the Archive’s creation and continued life: ‘if you have contributed to the AO3 in any way, I hope you too feel happy and seen and recognized’, she wrote in a Tumblr post responding to the news.
There has also been a flurry of press interest in the OTW and its work. CBC’s Day 6 interviewed co-founder Francesca Coppa and pieces appeared in numerous outlets including Vox and Slate, where Casey Fiesler described the nomination as ‘a recognition of the power of… diverse spaces and voices’. As always, you can keep up to date with the latest articles about the OTW in our Press Room!
Beyond the OTW, this week saw the premiere of the first episode of Season 8 of Game of Thrones. Months of fevered speculation peaked as winter came to Westeros and fans tuned in for the final instalment of burnings, backstabbings, and bendings of the knee. HBO marked the occasion by releasing a series of behind-the-scenes videos, including interviews with cast members, to the show’s official YouTube channel; meanwhile, the Guardian printed a series of predictions from fans around the world. Feel free to share your own, non-spoilery speculation about the likely events of season 8 below!
And finally, K-pop fandom went into overdrive on April 13 as BTS became the first South Korean act to perform on Saturday Night Live. This was the latest in a string of high-profile appearances and many viewers pointed out its cultural significance:
bts performed their own songs on snl. their songs ! songs in an asian language ! i don’t stan them but i can’t ignore not only their hard work but the amount of representation they’re doing for us asians in american media. fighting ! they’re doing great ❤️
— sara 🗝 jjong month❣️ (@semi_slowtown) April 14, 2019
Is it terrible that I am tearing up at seeing an Asian boy band, singing in their native tongue, on SNL??? I COULD ONLY WISH there was representation like this back when I was a kid!! #BTS #snl #asian #representation
— AC (@jumbatronic) April 14, 2019
However, whilst ARMY was glad to welcome new members to its ranks as a result of the performance, some fans suggested that a promo clip showing presenter Emma Stone and ‘the Women of SNL’ as BTS super fans (“no boys allowed!”) didn’t accurately reflect the group’s diverse audience. Writing on Refinery29, Natalie Morin pointed out that boy bands’ fans ‘aren’t just “rabid teenage girls”, but tastemakers in their own right’. BTS’ continued success outside of traditional K-pop fandom spaces seems to be demonstrating just that.