Hyperspace Podblast Discusses the Impact of Fandom on the SWU
I recently listened to one of my favorite Star Wars podcasts Hyperspace Podblast hosted by Shelby and Bryan. This particular episode was entitled “Should Fandom Influence Star Wars Content?” (It’s episode 23 when you go looking for it after reading this article.) Before I get into the specifics of this topic, I want to say a little bit about the podcast itself. Even though Shelby self-deprecatingly asks “aren’t you a little short for a podcast?” I think it is the perfect length at about 25 minutes. Great for a car ride to work, or just for those of us with some degree of ADD. Bryan and Shelby are extremely welcoming hosts, so I would highly recommend Hyperspace Podblast if you are looking for a new podcast to tune into (contact information is at the bottom).
Now to the topic at hand: should “fandom” influence Star Wars content? First, the hosts astutely point out that there is a good chance that it already has. Without strong feedback from the fans, there is a solid chance that Grand Admiral Thrawn would never have “come back from the EU dead” in Star Wars Rebels. (If you’d like my take on if he truly needed to come back, please check out my article “Canon Versus Legends…Why It Matters.”) Disney and Lucasfilm, definitely having a solid grasp of their target demographic, have widely increased the representation of various racial and ethnic groups — as well as homosexuals — in their books, movies and cartoons.
As to whether Disney and LFL should take fandom into consideration during the creative process, Shelby and Bryan stress that there needs to be a balance. Where you don’t want Tim Burton making a Tim Burton Star Wars movie (I also especially love the example of Michael Bay), you also don’t want Little Timmy from down the street getting his every fanboy desire. The chances of you wanting nothing to do with those films are high. They’re very high. But I will take this opportunity — my blog, my say — to tell Bryan he is wrong:
Snoke is Plagueis. (There’s an article for that too but far be it from me to be a shameless self-promoter.) But I digress.
All in all, I agree with Bryan and Shelby. To be specific to a punctilious degree — you didn’t think I knew big words — I think approximately 5% of the creative process should be based on what the fans want. When I first started listening to this episode, I immediately thought of the documentary The People Vs. George Lucas. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it this weekend — you’ll thank me.) Uncle George received a great deal of criticism for the Star Wars Special Editions, but who owns the movies? The creators or the fans?
If fans got everything they wanted from the Star Wars movies, here are just some of the potential changes, starting from The Phantom Menace all the way to The Force Awakens:
– There is no taxation of trade routes.
– Jar Jar Binks was never born.
– Midichlorians didn’t exist.
– 9 year old boys wouldn’t be hitting on 14 year old girls.
– 14 year old girls don’t get elected Queen.
– 9 year old boys don’t blow up space stations.
– Darth Maul lives.
– Jango Fett lives.
– Anakin and Padme don’t get married after a five minute ultra-awkward romance.
– Anakin stops whining.
– R2-D2 can’t fly.
– C-3PO has his humor chip removed.
– Aayla Secura lives (okay, that one’s mine).
– Padme lives.
– Jyn Erso lives (okay, that one’s mine too).
– Lyra Erso is a Jedi.
– Chirrut Imwe is a Jedi.
– Luke stops whining.
– The Death Star misses Alderaan.
– Porkins lives (okay, no one ever said that).
– Tarkin lives (that’s my last contribution to the list).
– *No changes to ESB. It is perfect in all aspects and is the hallmark of cinematic genius.*
– Boba Fett doesn’t die like a chump.
– Ewoks never existed.
– Kylo Ren stops whining.
– Han Solo lives.
– Snoke just admits he’s Plagueis (I lied, I get the last recommendation).
While some of those might be decent recommendations, what is the end result? We have a completely different Star Wars saga. And minor differences aside, I hope we can all admit we love the Star Wars saga.
Should the creators have their fingers on the pulse of the fans, be in touch with them, and know what they like? Absolutely. But what if someone walked up to da Vinci while he was painting the Mona Lisa and said, “Hey man, she should be showing some teeth when she smiles!”
Needless to say, people would not be traveling halfway around the world to see a Renaissance gal with a big ol’ grin taking a cheesy selfie.
Enjoy the movies for what they are. You can bitch about them later.
So what do you think? Do you think fans should have an input to the storylines? Leave me a comment or continue the conversation on twitter @starwarschief. Now, thanks to Medium, I can finally say show your support for this article and give me “the clap.”
If you’d like to tune into Hyperspace Podblast, they can be found at:
Twitter and Instagram: @hyperspace_pod
You can also find them on iTunes, YouTube, Podbean, Stitcher, Google Play, Podchaser or your favorite pod-catcher app!
And as always, may the Force be with you.