Our retrospectives series from FANgirl contributors continues with thoughts on the past, present and future of Star Wars and fandom from Linda.
1) Name five things that you love about Star Wars.
- The original trilogy.
- How it’s so easy to feel part of a galaxy far, far away.
- The universality of Star Wars – everyone “speaks” Star Wars! Pretty much everyone has something to say.
- The fellow fans I’ve gotten to know.
- Disney’s Star Tours ride; the original and the current one – it’s such an immersive experience!
2) Four years ago where was your Star Wars fandom?
It was much more private! Since I first posted on FANgirl in December 2011, my fandom can only be described as much more extroverted and connected.
Since that original post, I’ve reviewed books, interviewed authors, gone to Celebration VI, two GeekGirlCons as a panelist, restarted playing videogames – generally sharing my experience as a fan. Now, I have a Star Wars family.
3) Do you feel more or less connected to fandom now?
I feel far more connected to fandom now, and it’s because of the fantastic experience I’ve had here at FANgirl Blog. Thank you, Tricia, fellow bloggers and readers – you are truly the best and I feel blessed to have gotten to know so many of you.
4) Name 3-5 areas where Star Wars can improve.
There is room for more ethnic diversity, both in the movies and EU. Peter Jackson was able to make even Middle Earth more multicultural (look at the differences between LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies) – there is no reason that a less restricted galaxy couldn’t have more diverse representation.
Marketing “stuff” to girls and women could increase, though Disney is getting better at this. There is a cool Dooney & Bourke Star Wars purse I have my eye on and will probably purchase at the Star Wars ½ Marathon in Disneyland. And it’s impossible to really show there is the demand for these items unless there are items to purchase! Don’t they want our money?
I would also like to see the young reader books have girls as protagonists. The Rebels books, for example, are predominantly male oriented. Intentional or not, it sends the message that Rebels is for boys. Star Wars is for everybody.
5) It’s been two years since the Disney sale was announced. Have your feelings about the sale changed?
I remain optimistic about Disney owning Star Wars for two reasons. The first is that Disney has become more and more multicultural and has female lead characters (Snow White, Cinderella!) for a long time. These leads just keep getting stronger and stronger as individuals and generally send a positive image for young fans. The second reason is that Disney took a financial risk buying Star Wars due to its high purchase price. They will be more responsive to the market when we vote with our dollars about what we like and what we don’t like.
6) Name five things you hope to see from Star Wars in the future.
- More Old Republic stories based on SWOTOR – I think that there is a lot of room for creativity in this niche of the Star Wars universe.
- Old Republic movies; I’d love to see my friend, the super talented actor Joe Gatt (and the voice of Lord Scourge), play a Sith Lord on screen!
- Novels and comics written by new and exciting writers, including women… including several writers from this blog!
- Star Wars days at Disneyland.
- More toys, accessories, characters marketed as gender neutral or to girls as well; for example with The Clone Wars, you could go to Target and find all sorts of t-shirts, birthday party things, stickers with Anakin or Obi-Wan, but nothing with Ahsoka. Don’t they want our money?
7) What has influenced you the most to keep you involved in fandom?
The other fans I meet, whether they are hardcore or casual!
8) Name something you’ve learned while participating in FANgirl.
This question is the heart of this post for me. Writing for FANgirl has expanded my world. The biggest thing I have learned is to take risks – and that failing is fine. Sometimes people don’t email you back, or don’t want to be interviewed or you may fail (epically) at the upcoming Disneyland Star Wars ½ Marathon Rebel Challenge – and that’s okay. You pick yourself up, learn from your experience, laugh (eventually), and move on. Things in the universe have a way of working out the way they are supposed to.
This lesson has spilled over into the rest of my life in unexpected ways – I changed jobs, spent time at a Buddhist monastery, travelled alone several times, became a yoga teacher, made unexpected friends. So many things I would not have envisioned for myself four years ago.
9) List five characters you would like to see in the future of Star Wars.
Thrawn. Ahsoka. Revan. A really badass female Sith Lord. Asian characters.
10) Looking ahead, what ways do you want to affect change for the better in fandom?
I would like to continue asking questions that make us look critically at what is represented to us—whether we are creators, marketers or consumers; and supporting a positive, safe environment for everyone to participate within.
Linda has been a Star Wars fan from the time she saw Episode IV in the theatre with her parents and insisted on being Han Solo while playing with the neighborhood kids. She’s now a fangirl who splits her time learning to twirl a bo staff like Ray Park, jumping horses, writing fanfic she dreams up on her commute to work, and spending time with her husband and their own feisty Padawan version of Ahsoka. She can be reached at Linda.HansenRaj@gmail.com and on Twitter.
- The (Re)Ascendancy of Thrawn - February 19, 2022
- Get your Chiss On: A Review of Thrawn Ascendancy Chaos Rising - September 17, 2020
- Review: Shadow Fall (a Star Wars Alphabet Squadron Book) - June 26, 2020