Earlier this fall, FANgirl celebrated its four-year anniversary in the blogosphere. To mark the occasion, I asked some of my regular contributors a series of questions looking at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Up next, Priya!
1) Name five things that you love about Star Wars.
The world. I know that what Lucas created was an amalgamation of many things, but for me this paradigm he created resonated in a way a lot of things still haven’t.
The Characters. Who doesn’t love Chewbacca :)
The Music. Soaring.
The Sense of History. I love the feeling, especially by the time you get to Return of the Jedi of the weight of change. It’s a very historical emotion. How change (whether human instigated or not) shifted culture, and ideology, and seeing that played out in a space opera links my profession with the fictional world.
The Fans. I have learned so much more about Star Wars from fans (the good, the bad, and the ugly) over the years. I’ve learned how to be proud of what I like, and to be myself. I’ve learned that my voice has a place. And I’ve made new friends who I would never have had if not for our mutual love of the galaxy far, far, away.
2) Four years ago where was your Star Wars fandom?
Four years ago my fandom had hit a plateau. While I still loved (and will always love) the movies, I had begun drawing away from reading the novels or participating in the boards as much as I had been. The books had become so dark they no longer piqued my interest.
3) Do you feel more or less connected to fandom now?
Today I actually feel, with Episode VII, invigorated. I believe the phrase I keep using is cautiously optimistic. I’m watching Rebels and will probably go back and watch The Clone Wars. In terms of the new novels – I think I want to see a little bit more about this new canon before I jump back in, but it’s starting to feel like Star Wars again.
4) Name 3-5 areas where Star Wars can improve.
Staying true to tone. I don’t want Star Wars to feel like Battlestar Galactica (as much as I loved that).
Actually recognizing the power of female Star Wars fans in marketing. I think they are getting there.
Transparency. Now I know the movie is shrouded in secrecy and that there is only so much of your business decisions you can lay out for all to criticize, but I think it would be nice to see more of how changes were made. Especially if they are trying to build on the current fandom.
5) It’s been two years since the Disney sale was announced. Have your feelings about the sale changed?
I’m still at cautiously optimistic. I see in some ways how Star Wars can look through the lens of how Disney has built Marvel, but also can see how things can fall apart if they veer too much away from what made ANH, ESB, and ROTJ great. That being said, the teaser trailer was wonderful – vague and fresh at the same time.
6) Name five things you hope to see from Star Wars in the future.
More books that are about/include women in non-peripheral ways. The first three non-Legends titles had male characters and as much as I love Luke, I was a little disappointed. I’m not saying I don’t like reading books about men, just want a little diversity every once and a while.
Cross-platform integration. With the new Story Group in place it’ll be exciting to see how elements in Rebels or other TV ventures might show up on the big screen, or in books. Using each medium to its full advantage to broaden and solidify the new world.
Creativity. I was saying the other day as I watched the trailers for Jurassic World and Terminator Genysis that we’ve lost the ability to be creative in our storytelling. New movies and concepts in the sci-fi/fantasy realm feel few and far between. If you are going to re-boot, and restart, build on what exists rather than rehashing. That’s what I’m looking for with Star Wars. With the time jump they have so much space for creativity.
I know that much of what came before falls in the Legends category, but I think I would love to see some of the Rogue and Wraith Squadron lore end up in the new canon.
A live action TV show would be fun. Something that is a longer mini-series level – eight episodes a season like cable or British TV but lets you delve into certain characters and arcs in a way you don’t have time to on film. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one example that is finally paying off, but I think the traditional 22 episode TV year is tough.
7) What has influenced you the most to keep you involved in fandom?
Honestly, being a part of FANgirl. I think if I hadn’t found this space to keep up with what’s going on I would have fallen to the periphery. FANgirl does a good job of filtering the important stuff from the digital noise we live in.
8) Name something you’ve learned while participating in FANgirl.
Just one thing? That would probably have to be camaraderie. I was, in the past, involved with fan sites that led to negativity and frustration. I feel like being a part of FANgirl has helped me to see how we can discuss tough issues in credible ways or deal with negativity in a positive way. I’ve also learned, by watching Tricia build this site how to change a dream to reality, how to shift talking into action. We can sit around and complain all day about things we don’t like, but the internet and digital tools give us the ability to do something about it in a productive and inspiring way.
9) List five characters you would like to see in the future of Star Wars.
Mara (though I doubt that will happen).
An Antilles of some sort – I like Wedge, but Myri and Syal have potential.
Some of Padmé’s family’s descendants – to make that connection to the Skywalkers.
10) Looking ahead, what ways do you want to affect change for the better in fandom?
I think staying positive, even when we don’t like some of the changes. Managing change is tough. New plans are not going to please everyone, and I appreciate that Disney is recognizing that in some respects. I hope that I’ll be able to continue to write in a way that contributes to the conversation rather than detracting from it.
Priya Chhaya is a historian who loves the written word. When she’s not reading anything she can get her hands on she is writing about the past and its intersection in our daily lives on her personal blog …this is what comes next.