In the first part of my Star Wars panel recap, I encouraged using existing fansites to help discover books, comics, or television shows that will tempt your taste buds for storytelling. Fans come in all forms, and they share their love in many ways. Here’s a list of some of the online Star Wars resources I mentioned at the panel, plus a few more that had been lost to the crashed hard drive on my computer:
Club Jade – franchise and fandom news, fans of Mara Jade, fandom snark
EUCantina – news, commentary, podcasts
ForceBook – fandom social site
ForceCast – fandom podcast, Clone Wars episode roundtables
Galactic Drift – Star Wars, gaming, and Hunger Games commentary
Jedi Journals – EU podcast, spoiler-free
Knights Archive – books and comics news, reviews
Lightsaber Rattling – EU and Clone Wars commentary
Roqoo Depot– news emphasizing books and comics, reviews
StarWars.com Official Blog – find out what the Star Wars VIPs are up to
Star Wars Books Facebook Page – Del Rey’s connection to the fans
Star Wars Book Report – EU podcast
Star Wars Report – news, podcasts
Suvudu – Random House’s Science Fiction and Fantasy blog
TheForce.net – franchise and fandom news from collecting to books
Tosche Station – news and podcasts emphasizing EU
These are good places to start. From there, the possibilities are endless for a Star Wars fan!
At this point I opened the discussion up to audience questions.
The first question centered on the Sith Witch Lumiya and the supposed Jedi-turned-Sith Vergere, two female characters from the Legacy of the Force series, and asked our opinion of their influence on Jacen Solo’s fall to the dark side.
Tricia: Some fans take issue with the perceived retcon of Vergere in the series. I pointed out that Lumiya was an unreliable narrator, and for that reason her claims about Vergere are open to debate. For the audience unfamiliar with Legacy of the Force, I explained that in the series Jaina Solo kills her twin brother Jacen, who has become a Sith Lord. Lumiya helped instigate his fall. Although the series’ concept had a lot of potential, between the fates of many fan favorites characters, like Mara and Jacen, and the resolution, Legacy of the Force fell flat for some EU fans. The young man who asked the question noted that for him the hard part of the series was Allana losing her father. I agreed that was difficult to see a child go through, but many fans have a lot of hope for Allana – including Racheal who had participated in FANgirl’s roundtable discussion on the Hapan women of Star Wars.
From Sith Witches we switched gears to Padmé Amidala. The audience questioner explained that the Prequel Trilogy was her Star Wars, until the moment when Padmé loses her will to live. The panel was asked our thoughts on the ending.
Tricia: At FANgirl Blog, I had written a series of posts specifically aimed at discussing the impact of Padmé’s story on Star Wars. I referred the audience to those posts. Following on the heels of the What is Strong? post referenced earlier in the panel, there are two additional posts going into more detail about her character and the ramifications of her death for how she is perceived outside the fandom, and also the possibility that her fate had a trickle down effect on the portrayal of female characters in the Expanded Universe. The point I made to the audience is that no one truly knows what happened to her. Again, the medical droid isn’t necessarily a reliable narrator, but the audience still has very little to go on because almost all of Padmé’s struggle is inside her head. That’s why, if we ever get more insight on her character, I believe a book would be the most effective medium to do this.
Joao: “I thought in the script she was supposed to be more violent.”
Tricia: I added to Joao’s thoughts that early concept art showed her with a knife on Mustafar, which suggested a more violent confrontation with Anakin.
Linda: “We can be fans and disagree with George Lucas.” This statement was met with applause. Linda saw Padmé as a strong character. Linda noted she would come back from the dead to protect her kid, which makes Padmé’s fate unrelatable.
The third question came from a young lady who has been in discussions with fellow geeks about who is their favorite superhero. When she mentions Star Wars characters, she has been told Jedi are not superheroes. She wanted to know the panelists’ opinions on whether Jedi should be considered superheroes.
Tricia: Lucas was making a visual comic book with A New Hope, so I think he saw them as superheroes.
Ashley: In the Star Wars universe the Jedi are superheroes. Ashley reminded the audience of the motto of Her Universe: Flaunt your world. Just because a person can’t fly doesn’t mean that person can’t be a superhero. Her point was that the definition of superhero isn’t necessarily limited to special abilities, but rather it can be a state of mind. She used examples within the Star Wars fandom like the 501st and Rebel Legion, who she considers real life superheroes. It’s your own personal definition.
Linda: Borrowing from an earlier panel at GeekGirlCon, she told the audience, “Take your cape and be your own superhero.”
The final question came from Gina Moore-Sanders from SWAG77. She was concerned about the online representation of Slave Leia, especially with young girls.
Tricia: This is a complicated issue. On one hand we have to consider the storytelling, and on the other hand how people use the costume. In regards to children, I think it’s important that parents watch movies like Star Wars with their kids and explain what is happening. There have been times when females have been put in costumes that don’t consider all of the ramifications – Ahsoka’s original tube top comes to mind.
Linda: This issue is about parental responsibility. She sees who we are and what we do as more important than what we wear.
Mary: We forget Leia was a prisoner and she wore the Slave Leia costume for a very short time. She was a slave and a prisoner.
Linda: And she still killed Jabba.
Ashley: We have seen changes in the way characters are dressed. She encouraged fans to speak up. “We won’t see change if we keep our mouth shut.” On the subject of Ahsoka’s tube top, Ashley felt she had a responsibility to young girls. People who make the decisions are listening and reading more than you know. Now Ahsoka’s costume is more appropriate for what an active Jedi character might wear.
Tricia: On hot button issues like this, I reminded the audience that relying on facts and keeping heated emotions in check always leads to a better discourse, and makes people more likely to listen to your opinion. It’s important to say how you feel about things and do it a respectful way. When it comes to this topic, we all need a reminder to be respectful of other people’s opinions. Ultimately I’m more concerned about the portrayal of characters than their costumes. Just because a female character is decked out in full Mando gear doesn’t guarantee her portrayal will be better for women than the way Leia was characterized in her slave attire in Return of the Jedi.
With the GeekGirlCon staffer waving her “time” card at me, the panelists had a chance to plug their work:
Linda Raj-Hansen is currently Sith Inquisitor and Head of Public Relations for FANgirl Blog. Most recently she interviewed Del Rey Editor-at-Large Shelly Shapiro, who oversees the Star Wars adult prose fiction. At Celebration VI she interviewed author Drew Karpyhyn and scheduled a few more exciting interviews that will be published in the upcoming months.
Mary Sheridan has contributed several pieces to FANgirl Blog. At GeekGirlCon she spoke to Erica Heflin about her work on Gray Haven’s All-Women Comic. The fabulous interview work continued at Celebration VI where she spoke to Star Wars author Troy Denning.
Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe offers geek chic to fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, and SyFy shows such as Warehouse 13 and Battlestar Galactica. At Celebration VI, she created a video diary and hosted a panel on bullying with Carrie Goldman. Her character Ahsoka Tano returns to The Clone Wars, now in Season Five on the Cartoon Network Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
Joao will continue his wife Racheal’s website The Galactic Drift.
Much gratitude to the hard working volunteers of GeekGirlCon who made this year’s convention fantastic. The Force was definitely with them. Special thanks to Jen Stuller, Amanda Powter, and Susie Rantz from GeekGirlCon for their support and to Erich Schoeneweiss from Del Rey for passing along the swag. And thanks to Joanne Perrault for her great pictures of the panel.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.