Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fan Fiction Roundtable: Part One

 Fan fiction is a big part of some people's Star Wars experience. Fans have been writing their own Star Wars stories since 1977, in fanzines and then on the internet. With the increasing presence of fan fiction in the publishing world over the past few years, I sat some writers and bloggers down for a talk about their fanfic experiences.

My roundtable participants are Tricia Barr, the founder of Fangirlblog, who has also written for Star Wars Insider; Geralyn, co-founder of Roqoo Depot; and S.L., a professional gamer and one of my personal favorite fic writers. Find full bios under the cut.

This is the first of a two-part post. Come back in a few days for a more specific look at Star Wars characters, fanfic recs, and the darker side of the fan community.

How did you get into fan fiction? Was it before or after you became a Star Wars fan?

Star Wars has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I remember watching the movie and then spinning out all sorts of other adventures in my head. I’d work the stories over and over until I got them just so. And they were almost exclusively stories set in a science fiction setting. I loved Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Star Trek. After The Phantom Menace was released, I discovered fan fiction online and realized I wasn’t the only person who imagined stories in an established universe, and that people actually wrote them down and shared them!

I have to admit to being ambitious: my first fanfic was a novel. Looking back now, it was full of writing horrors – POV shifts, way too much Tell instead of Show, dialogue beats run amok – but people really liked the story. The first fan fiction awards my story was eligible, I won some great awards. So writing was like chocolate – addicting.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Clone Wars: Season in Review

Following last year's tradition, I joined Fangirlblog's staff to write about The Clone Wars as a whole in the Season Five Review. There'll be three installments, each talking about different arcs of the season. It was especially a challenge this year since we only learned after the finale that this season was the final one. You can find the first section of the roundtable review, where we discuss Onderon, the Young Jedi, and the similarities and differences between Ahsoka and Anakin, here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ania Solo and Luke's Legacy

A new start for Legacy moves away from Jan Duursema and John Ostrander's story and brings in a new team to tell the tale of a junk dealer descended from Han Solo and Princess Leia. The first issue boldly sets its tone and starts to bring Ania Solo into her own. She's basically a rehash of Han, and while so far the side plot about wakening Sith and galactic politics has more going on than her plot, it's nice to see a female hero in a starring role.

(In case you were wondering like I was, it's pronounced "Anya."

 Legacy Volume Two #1 is written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman and set in roughly the same time period as the earlier Legacy series. I wasn't interested in the earlier Legacy, but Ania and her family tree, plus the writers mentioning Kurosawa influences and a monthly release, might mean I'll follow this one. 

Ania and Sauk
Ania discovers an Imperial Knight's lightsaber.
 Legacy's first scene is a tense, exciting beginning with an epic feel, which features an Empress Fel. Ania hasn't fared as well as the other side of the family, though: as she's introduced basically conning some con men out of cargo in her junkyard. She gets some gendered insults shouted at her, but drives the perpetrators away with the help of a droid. Her planet is crowded and run-down, and I can see interesting plot points in the future involving the plight of the refugees and how Ania got there.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pepper Potts dons Rescue armor in Iron Man 3


This is super exciting: Two Iron Man 3 TV spots released today show Pepper Potts saving Tony Stark while wearing the iconic Iron Man armor. Looks like Tony's second-in-command Potts will be holding her own in battle.

She's been a capable businesswoman in the Iron Man movies and The Avengers, and has sometimes but not always escaped the damsel-in-distress role. She was part of the final battle in Iron Man 2, but only phoned in her contribution to the ending of The Avengers.

In the Iron Man comics, Potts had the superheroine name Rescue and began to use the armor only after undergoing a severe injury that left her heart damaged.

Iron Man 3 premiers May 3, 2013 and features Tony and Pepper facing off against The Mandarin.

Friday, March 15, 2013 Hosts Character Popularity Tournament

I suppose it tells something about me that I had to look up what "March Madness" was to understand this. Something about sports?

It's a singe-elimination basketball tournament, and so is's "This is Madness" Character Tournament, minus the part about basketball. Starting Monday, March 18 you can vote to see which characters will go head-to-head in the final battle of dark versus light. Is this a stealth poll, seeing which characters could create the most revenue? Maybe, but it looks entertaining.

As Club Jade points out, note that the characters are just 1/8 female. This is just a side effect of the saga as a whole, obviously, but I'll be curious to see how the ladies fare.

Upcoming Darth Maul Novel is a Collaborative Effort


The online catalog listing for Darth Maul: Lockdown reveals that author Joe Schreiber "is working with" Darth Plagueis author James Luceno to tie the two books together.

Plagueis featured a few scenes about Maul's training and parentage, so this would suggest that Lockdown ties into The Wrath of Darth Maul and The Clone Wars as well.

Giving a character a consistent history isn't exactly unusual, but when that history is as patchy and re-written as this one, it will surely help to have some direct continuity. (Via Knights Archive)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why the End of The Clone Wars is Good for Us

The news of The Clone Wars ending has left me oddly ambivalent. I see some fans complaining, but more are confused - Why end the show so quickly? How much of the cancellation had to do with Disney not desiring to directly continue a Cartoon Network show?

When the smoke cleared and I took a moment to think it over, I still wasn't weeping - and now I was a bit optimistic.

There are a few reasons why The Clone Wars going out like this is one of the best of a bunch of possible worlds.

1. The show went out on a high note. The final arc showed an important event in the life of Anakin Skywalker and clearly showed how The Clone Wars as a whole affects Revenge of the Sith. It showed the best of the series - fight scenes and landscapes and new interpretations of established characters.

2. On the other hand, the loss of The Clone Wars paves the way for something that might be better. The Clone Wars was persistently entertaining but suffered from cliched dialogue, predictable plots, silly moments, and stories that had nothing to do with the main characters. Ahsoka was created as a point-of-view character for young viewers, but without a lot of characterization of her own she couldn't carry the weight of the plot on her precocious shoulders.

3. However,  The Clone Wars did set a precedent for stories featuring female characters. There were a lot of questions at the end of season five, and most of them were about women. What happens to Ahsoka? What happens to Barriss? What will Asajj do now? Does Ahsoka know about Padme's marriage? Bloggers and fans were chatting about the finale to the end - and all those discussions were about female characters who had grown and been part of battles throughout the series.

4. There's more to come in the future. From the "bonus" episodes that are not yet released, to whatever Disney's cooking up with their Star Wars TV show, this is a chance for Star Wars to get even better. It's bizarre for me to think of The Clone Wars as something to look back on, but Star Wars as a whole is far from over. It's just beginning.

4.5. The bonus episodes. We know there is at least one Anakin-centric arc still in the pipeline, which was created for season five. Then there's the video here, which seems to be set just before or during Order 66. It features two female Jedi. a friend pointed out that the designs for their species first showed up in the Attack of the Clones concept art book. One of them doesn't fare well, but they bring grace and color to the drab clones and, well, Anakin.

So there's still more to see. Meanwhile, The Clone Wars produced some fantastic memories and in fact was the inciting reason for me to start this blog. The Clone Wars crew seem like great people, and I'd like to thank them, especially Ashley Eckstein and Cat Taber, for making my Star Wars fan experience feel fun and inclusive. The new movies will mean new Star Wars fans, and new shows to love just like fans have loved The Clone Wars.