Our retrospectives series from FANgirl contributors continues with thoughts on the past, present and future of Star Wars and fandom from Kay.
1) Name five things that you love about Star Wars.
- Space travel
- The lessons
- Mythology/The Force
- The wide galaxy of characters, places, and ideas primed for so many storytelling opportunities
(That wasn’t easy. I could have undoubtedly made a list of 100.)
2) Four years ago where was your Star Wars fandom?
I was still heavily into reading and discussing the books of the Expanded Universe even though the issues with them were bothering me more than ever before. I remember being so disappointed by the plot and character continuity discord that were already apparent just within the Fate of the Jedi series and amazed by the fact that Allies was published when it was quite noticeable that editing hadn’t been finished on it. By that point I’d been reading the books for so long and gotten so invested in all these characters that I didn’t want to walk away from books and discussion, but I began considering it. I held back though because I really enjoyed connecting with fellow fan friends I’d made through these books and I very much did not want to believe that the quality of the books wouldn’t get better.
3) Do you feel more or less connected to fandom now?
I feel more connected in some ways but less in others. Though there’s still a connection, I feel less bonded to the book reading community that first made me feel a part of a larger Star Wars group. We used to all run out to book stores to be the first one to get the next book or scanned the online previews to find word of what our favorite characters might be up to. Now most of those same people either are uninterested in the new books or don’t feel the same urgency to read them. And since I review the books now in a more public capacity, I’m reading them early and there’s rarely an opportunity to discuss them with anyone else as I’m reading.
But overall I feel more connected to the community in general through Twitter, FANgirl, and podcasting. I’ve gotten to meet even more neat people and broaden my discussions. It’s been so cool to get excited with people from all over the world over the tiny glimpses we’ve gotten of The Force Awakens.
4) Name 3-5 areas where Star Wars can improve.
Publishing more books with broader appeal.
Remembering women and girls when it comes to merchandising.
Keeping the messaging of merchandising consistent with the stories. (For example, Hera is supposed to be the heart of Rebels and yet she is left out of most of the Rebels merchandise so far.)
Fully taking advantage of the diverse galaxy in all content mediums.
5) It’s been two years since the Disney sale was announced. Have your feelings about the sale changed?
I was a bit surprised by it when it was first announced even though in retrospect I shouldn’t have been. It makes sense. It’s still weird thinking about the amount of movies they’re planning on making, probably because we still haven’t seen any of them yet. As long as the quality doesn’t suffer from chasing an aggressive release schedule, then it’ll potentially be something good to get used to.
6) Name five things you hope to see from Star Wars in the future.
- See answers to question 4.
- Eventual continuation of Legends books
- Even more of dynamic female characters
- A life-size Millennium Falcon I can visit and walk around inside… so maybe a Disney theme park expansion.
- The idea that Star Wars is for everyone being readily apparent.
7) What has influenced you the most to keep you involved in fandom?
Writing for FANgirl. My friendships with the contributors here have kept the discussion going and broadened it to so many aspects of the fandom and storytelling. Re-watching the original trilogy also tends to re-connect me when things start to look bleak.
8) Name something you’ve learned while participating in FANgirl.
(Not that I had a problem speaking up in general before but I tended keep my thoughts way quieter when it came to Star Wars.)
9) List five characters you would like to see in the future of Star Wars.
- & 2. Jaina Solo and Jagged Fel (at least in new Legends books)
- all of Wraith and Rogue Squadrons
- & 5. someone like Mara Jade and someone like Soontir Fel (if we can’t get those exact characters back).
Creative counting, I know.
10) Looking ahead, what ways do you want to affect change for the better in fandom?
I really would like to be a part of making sure Star Wars truly is for everyone – from contributing ideas to make it more accessible to being welcoming to new fans to cheering on fan artistic endeavors.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s still a Star Wars fangirl at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord. You can follow her on Twitter.
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