Archive for the Announcements Category

Wesa No Carin’?

Posted in Announcements, Opinion with tags , , , on 12 November 2018 by Megan

About a week after my horrific encounter with a Lucasfilm employee (read part 1 here), a member of the Alliance to Preserve the Expanded Universe approached me on Facebook messenger, reporting that Ms. Gutierrez had taken to Reddit telling people to calm down and stop bothering me (as a non-Redditor, I know nothing further about it than that). This group member suggested that I use the situation as an opportunity to open a line of communication with Lucasfilm. Although I did not have very high hopes in any such maneuver being successful, I felt that I at least had the responsibility to offer the olive branch. (Or glowing orb of peace.) I determined to write a physical letter, use up two of my remaining Star Wars US postage stamps, and make the friendliest possible overture of contact. The Alliance member who approached me not only agreed to proofread my letter, but also offered an original piece of artwork to send with the letter: a gift and symbol of the unity of fandom. This custom art depicted Qui-Gon Jinn and Artoo (the favorite characters of myself and Ms. Gutierrez, respectively) “waiting for more stories” outside Yoda’s hut on a rainy Dagobah.

Five other administrators of the Alliance Facebook group also reviewed my letter before I printed and mailed it, to be absolutely certain its tone was respectful, appropriate, and that all issues had been addressed. In this letter, I stated that I would visit this entire situation in full on my blog if she did not object. In eight months, I have not received any message whatsoever. Here’s the letter:

Dear Andi Gutierrez:

I’m reaching out to you regarding the unfortunate occurrence on Twitter last week.

Allow me to say first that you have my profound sympathy over any medical stress you may be under. It was never my intention to disrupt you, least of all when you had more important things to be focused on. I regret that this occurred, as my purpose was not to “target” you and I identified you only because the journalism standard I learned is to name anyone in an image; had there been a version of the image without you in it, I would have used that. I believe I also would have worded things differently had I noticed who I was speaking to in my first tweet replying directly to you.

Our presuppositions seem to have made us speak right past each other. Twitter, even with 280 characters, still isn’t the best place for clarity. I saw Luke Skywalker’s face crossed out and recalled the crushing misery on Mark Hamill’s face in an interview when Rian Johnson condescendingly patted him on the shoulder to silence him. Of course, you merely saw the good-natured hijinks of coworkers and friends. Ours is just one example of the growing divide between many fans and the company we wish to think the best of. I hope this letter will encourage dialogue between Lucasfilm and fans unintentionally alienated; I mean to publish it on my blog unless you object.

I also regret if you experienced any harassment; I am emphatically not associated with anyone who came after you. The complaints I saw people making were not the same as the message I meant to convey. Simply this: many fans felt a death mark on Luke’s face is a tone-deaf joke at a time when so many people are still reeling from creative decisions in the most recent film. We are tremendously discouraged when Lucasfilm employees respond to such concerns with dismissal. We’re frustrated, but “trolling” is the farthest thing from what we want. We want to communicate.

I appreciated your efforts on Reddit begging fans to get along with one another. I hope to work with you in that regard. Please feel free to reply to me at my personal email, [redacted]. Enclosed, please find a gift, a piece of original artwork made by a fellow member of the Give Us Legends movement, in hopes that it will encourage friendly relations between fans and creators once more.

Sincerely,

[Redacted]
The “RebeLibrarian”

Enclosure

More than anything, I wanted to forget all about this. I almost didn’t send the letter several times. I ignored tweets, deleted DMs, decided not to have anything else to do with it. But the situation at Lucasfilm is not getting better, and choosing to “grin and bear it” (as I’ve done these last months) is not bringing about a resolution. Starting in 2014, Lucasfilm seemed to decide that mocking and shaming fans into silence was the way to handle disruptions. And over the last year, again and again, the employees of Lucasfilm (and I include in that designation directors and actors who have participated in Lucasfilm projects while not necessarily literally working in that office) have doubled down on their antagonism. The vitriol gets stronger and stronger, pitting “pro-Lucasfilm” fans against “anti-Lucasfilm” fans when in reality, we should all want the healthy thriving of the fantastic saga that has changed all of our lives for the better. But Lucasfilm refuses to let anyone say “you’re not doing justice to George Lucas’ Star Wars.” The kneejerk response is “you’re a troll.” Or more recently, “you’re a Russian bot.” We are instantly degraded because we don’t toe the party line. When did Star Wars become so Soviet?

As I started in the previous post: It seems like more and more, Disney|Lucasfilm and Star Wars fans are unable to talk. If fans disagree with corporate policy on any level, or hold any opinion deemed negative by the Star Wars overlords, there is a total communication blackout between these two groups. And that blackout, I’m here to say, does not originate with the fans. It is a calculated thing coming from within the company, originated by those working for Lucasfilm.

I know this is not true Lucasfilm. Therefore, this cannot be the desire of the people who work so hard to create the stories that mean so much to so many. So where is it coming from? It must come from ignorance. The people in charge simply must not know that this is going on. So how do we fix it?

My experience with Ms. Gutierrez was a very brief nightmare. But other fans have lost more than I have. Fan podcasts have lost their Lucasfilm endorsement. I’ve simply had unpleasant interactions with Lucasfilm employees, like the time Pablo Hidalgo told me to shut up because my opinion didn’t matter (not in so many words, but when I asked if that’s what he meant, he didn’t deny it). But this is not the way to do business. Fans don’t want to go to a movie when they know the people behind the movie think they’re stupid. Every year, more fans sign on with the boycott, and insulting us just isn’t bringing us back into the fold somehow.

There is a light of hope, though. Recently, the hysterical Chuck Wendig went on a Twitter rant about how his Twitter rants have resulted in his being removed from all future Disney|Marvel/Lucasfilm productions. That is how to fix this growing chasm between fans and creators, between fans and fans. Get rid of the people who are fueling hostility, who think insults are a rebuttal, who viciously attack anyone for disagreeing with them.

Now, don’t misquote me; I’m not saying wipe the slate over at Lucasfilm, but Chuck Wendig knew better. He literally wrote a book full of advice for writers that contained the advice “don’t be a d*** on social media,” and if you can’t avoid that, “hire a ghost writer.” Get rid of the people who spout vitriol even though they know better.

In the end, Ms. Gutierrez did reach out to people on Reddit and ask them to let the whole situation go. I was not able to get in touch with her personally, but I think we both realized that through mutual poor communication, we allowed an overreaction to take place. That’s good. Now, in order to close that chasm, it needs to keep happening. Some people like Chuck Wendig need to go. Others, I hope, just need encouragement to speak appropriately, honor the legacy that was entrusted to them, and give fair hearing to the valid concerns of fans. In short, stop assuming that everyone who disagrees must be a troll.

Advertisements

A Communications Disruption Can Mean Only One Thing!

Posted in Announcements, Opinion with tags , , , on 12 November 2018 by Megan

It seems like more and more, Disney|Lucasfilm and Star Wars fans are unable to talk. If fans disagree with corporate policy on any level, or hold any opinion deemed negative by the Star Wars overlords, there is a total communication blackout between these two groups. And that blackout, I’m here to say, does not originate with the fans. It is a calculated thing coming from within the company, originated by those working for Lucasfilm.

I know this is not true Lucasfilm. Therefore, this cannot be the desire of the people who work so hard to create the stories that mean so much to so many. So where is it coming from? It must come from ignorance. The people in charge simply must not know that this is going on. So how do we fix it? A good start is by bringing things into the light — like my bleak encounter with a Lucasfilm employee nine months ago.

It was the end of February, the beginning of my Wednesday work day, when somebody I was in a conversation chain with on Twitter asked, “Have you seen this?”

“This” was a still from a Disney|Lucasfilm web show; I’d never heard of the show, I don’t remember the name of it now, and I don’t think it’s important to the story to look it up for you. At first I didn’t see why it possibly mattered. Some woman, evidently the host — some random YouTuber, I assumed — stood in an office-looking place with bits of ephemera all around. And then I noticed the picture under her left elbow: the famous shot of Luke and Vader in the Death Star turbolift, a scene with particular meaning for me as it kicks off my favorite 45 minutes of cinema in the universe.

But Luke’s face had a big red X over it.

“Well, that’s a little ungracious on a Star Wars show,” I thought. This was barely two months since December’s big catastrophe — namely, the decision of nucanon to discard Luke Skywalker like a wad of gum and not treat Mark Hamill, his actor, much better.

And then I found out something that made me sit up and pay attention: the show was an official LFL production. It was recorded in their office. This crossed-out picture of Luke was displayed in a fairly prominent location in the office of a corporation named after the man who created Luke Skywalker, Lucasfilm, the entire franchise, the very thing that gave these people a job in the first place.

Now I was upset.

I should point out here, if you’re unfamiliar with me or my work, if you started rolling your eyes that I never heard of this show or its host, here’s a couple things you need to understand. I don’t follow Disney’s “nucanon” Star Wars. I don’t accept into canon anything produced after the buyout in 2012. I unliked the official Star Wars Facebook pages in 2014. I unfollowed their Twitter account in 2015. I have never followed any employee of Lucasfilm on Twitter, ever. Mark Hamill is the only real life person involved with Star Wars I even follow on Twitter, which I’ve done since the day he got the account. I use Twitter’s “mute” filters to keep any Disney Star Wars out of my feed. I don’t have a YouTube account; I don’t watch internet videos. My engagement with “Star Wars current events” is very limited in nature and specific in scope. Basically the only thing I do is remind Lucasfilm that it was immoral of them to declare 38 years of canon “non-canon” and then cannibalize it for parts in their reboot. I think the reboot was foolish, but I’ve never asked them to cancel it. I’ve never gone after the employees. As someone who endured a stalker for years, I’m sensitive about how I interact with others, and I have always been explicit that my objections are objections against the entity of Disney|Lucasfilm, and they are not personal on any level against anyone.

So I wrote this tweet, after doing a little brief research to identify the person in the picture (since that’s just good journalism):

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I didn’t tag her, didn’t even think to check if she had a Twitter account, because she had nothing to do with the content of the tweet. I didn’t assume the artwork belonged to her, was her doing, or was even endorsed by her. So I accused her of nothing, because she had absolutely nothing to do with the point I wanted to make. She was merely in the picture. Despite using the word “viral,” I expected no reaction because, firstly, I had under 500 followers at that time; and secondly, because I’d made similar tweets in the weeks before with little attention.

It’s worth pointing out that by the time I made this tweet, almost noon for me and not yet 9 AM for her, Ms. Gutierrez had already announced on her Twitter (which I didn’t know existed) that she was “done” because she had already received “so many” emails about it. I shouldn’t have to add that I don’t know what her email is, and could not have been directing anyone to harass her inbox because the image had been circulating on Twitter and Facebook long before I even learned of it. (People did immediately run off with my MS Paint recreation of the crossed out Luke picture, though — that makes me laugh.)

Now, to be honest, I have no idea how Ms. Gutierrez found my thread. I did reply to her on another account, but I had no idea who she was (her @ handle was what had displayed, not the boldface nickname). If I had known I was addressing an LFL employee and not a fellow Twitter fan, yes, I would’ve worded it differently.

When she made the remark about it being her livelihood, I checked her feed and realized who she was. So I responded a little more deferentially but with evident frustration:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Because this has been the ongoing interaction with Disney|Lucasfilm. Fans say “this makes us uncomfortable,” “we’re upset about this,” and the DisLFL employees respond with taunts, bullying, or the brush-off.

I was completely shocked by her reply, telling me that she “couldn’t tell” if I was trolling or not, but ‘bye!

So I posted this as a follow-up to my earlier tweet:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This lit an absolute fire. Notice two things: first, that I didn’t reply to her because she said the conversation was over. Second, that I chose to screenshot rather than RT, and that I didn’t tag her in it, because I didn’t wish to drag her into something she said was over from her point of view.

But that didn’t stop her from finding it (was she stalking my feed?!) and retweeting it to her ~500,000 followers (again, I was sitting on about 480 followers at the time), commenting something about how she might have cancer and really couldn’t deal with people like me right now. I must’ve gotten about 200 @’s, most of which I never read because they got vile fast. I also got maybe a dozen direct messages that included threats, profanity, insults. I had to aggressively filter my Twitter notifications for the next week, just to keep this garbage out of my sight.

I was alarmed that she might be getting entangled in something like this while dealing with a serious health concern, and yet simultaneously disgusted that she chose to target me of all people. Not the @JarJarAbramss account she had been replying to initially. Not any of the other many accounts that shared the image or even the Facebook page that posted it first. Hours after she declared she was going to ignore it because she was fed up with all the emails, she was engaging with tweets on it, and then, it seems almost arbitrarily, chose to broadcast my handle to her followers as a target.

I decided to shut it down and walk away while I still could. I’m an anxious, introverted person who can’t handle confrontation well ever since I picked up a stalker in my senior year of college. If someone with half a million Twitter followers was going to send them after me, I thought, it’s very possible they can get my Twitter deleted. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk — I love my Twitter, love the interaction I have there, and didn’t want to jeopardize it over this, or wreck my health by putting myself in a situation to field dozens of vile threats in my DMs. So I closed the lid.

For a week.

(Next page!)

Month of Maul!

Posted in Announcements with tags , , on 1 May 2017 by Megan

Everything’s half off! No, I kid. Only one thing is half off, and that’s Maul himself.

What I mean is that the Star Wars Holy Month is on us again, the month I’ve nicknamed Maul (because single-syllable M names are tough to come by and Marrch was obvious for Darth Marr). And ever since Empire Strikes Back established it as such, it’s an exciting month full of exciting things for Star Wars fanatics.

So not wanting to let my loyal following down, I’ve put together some exciting events for you myself. Well, they excite me. “RebeLibrarian, being ranted at by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.” Sorry, sweetheart. See if this is!

First, I’ve arranged a series of guest bloggers to talk about different Star Wars topics throughout the month! If my ranting can’t excite you, then perhaps theirs will! Muahahaha… Anyway, five guest bloggers sprinkled throughout the month will touch on various subjects, some of which will be a surprise even to me and at least one of which will be a reading list to help you decide what to read instead of Zahn’s latest Disney canon offering ;)

Second, it’s the second ever Thanksgeorging Day, and it falls on the 25th this year. The overwhelming appropriateness of this cannot be overstated. It’s the day that Star Wars turns 40. Four decades of the Wars! Unbelievable. I’ll be doing my major holy month post on that day, including the text of the thank you note I’ll be sending Mr. Lucas. I encourage you all to send your own thank you notes — his birthday is also this month, on the 14th, so try to mail cards in time to reach him either for his own birthday or for his greatest creations. You can find a mailing address and some stock letters for inspiration here.

On a final, lighthearted note, I’ve invented something called Palparolling, which I think you’ll want to tell all your friends about. How does Palparolling work? Well, I’ve put together a brief instructional video; watch here.

So as you can see, while it’s always a good time to be a Star Wars fan, it’s an especially good time to be one who follows my blog, too! Why not invite your friends?

Or follow me on Twitter?

Or hit up my Facebook page?

I can’t wait to share this month’s fun stuff with you. See ya round the galaxy :)

 

Let Them Eat Canon,

Posted in Announcements, Opinion, Spotlight with tags , , on 3 June 2016 by Megan

or,What Do Those Billboard People Want, Anyway?
An open letter to Lucasfilm in response to the letter they’ve been replying to #GiveUsLegends correspondence.

billboardclose

In pretty much every article that ever popped up describing the billboard and the fantastic dedication of fan love it represents, the authors were baffled about what “Give Us Legends” is about. You’d think it’d be straightforward. I mean, there’s even a press release on the site! But it’s not just the media — Lucasfilm itself has zero comprehension of what we’re asking for. Check out this letter received by some of our realcanon warriors:

And now, allow me to respond.

Dear Lucasfilm,

Thank you for sending letters back to the dedicated fans who spend time and postage on writing to you begging for the lives of Star Wars characters we all love. It’s amazing and exciting to be acknowledged.

Unfortunately, you have no idea what you’re acknowledging. This communications breakdown between us is why I think this schism in the fanbase is continuing to grow and hurting everyone involved.

You’ve probably heard this famous story. A naive French aristocrat was told, “The peasants have no bread to eat!” This young woman, completely unable to understand the reality of peasant life, merrily replied, “Then let them eat cake!”

No, it probably wasn’t Marie Antoinette who said that, but I’m not here to clear up historical misapprehensions — I’m here to clear up your misapprehension, Lucasfilm. Because I think this conversation has taken place in your offices a time or two since 2014.

Ever since you Order 66’d the Universe, announcing that more than 90% of Star Wars’ unprecedented and record-breaking canon was no longer canon due to your new movies coming out, you have been trying to throw us the bone that “some stuff is going to get integrated.”

For two years, you’ve seemed baffled that we aren’t responding to that with the unbridled enthusiasm you expected. You apparently refuse to ask why we don’t like that, because you keep throwing it in our face over and over again. “We’re going to recycle it. It’s not going away. We’re going to take cool stuff and integrate it. Why aren’t you excited? What is wrong with you?”

Did you ever stop to think that maybe we aren’t excited about you poaching the trEU (that’s True Expanded Universe) because we’re angry about what you did to it in the first place?

"Recycling"

“Recycling”

Fans say “Give us legends,” “We want legends,” “Bring back legends,” but it’s clear that you don’t understand what they’re saying. I’ll be honest: I don’t think they really understand what they’re saying, either.

Because continuation is a side issue. It’s not the main thing. Cutting off the story isn’t where you goofed, Lucasfilm.

Declaring it non-canon is where you goofed.

Take a look at every other reboot and remake in history. You — I mean, your master Disney has done remakes before and not gotten this response. Why? What’s the difference?

The difference is, when Christopher Nolan made Batman Begins, he didn’t issue a press release before the premier saying, “This is super exciting. NONE of the Batman stuff you knew and loved is canon anymore, but I’ve integrated all the best stuff into my new movie, which isn’t a reboot even though it’s meant to replace everything that came before. Actually, none of the Batman stuff that came out until now was canon anyway. Enjoy!”

When Star Trek (2009) hit theaters, it included a bit of timey-wimey whitewash to very graphically emphasize that it took place in an alternate timeline, but Paramount didn’t feel the need to tell all the world’s Trekkers that all prior Star Trek canon was rendered moot and had never, actually, been canon in the first place.

Are you seeing the difference? You’re denying our universe the legitimacy it is owed.

Understand this. If you had said “No, the new movies aren’t going to follow the EU,” no one would have been surprised (Abrams set that precedent with Trek 09), but more importantly, no one would have fought you. People would’ve seen the movie out of curiosity. Pretty much nobody would’ve bothered picketing it because it wouldn’t have been a threat.

Your “nucanon” is a threat to us, Lucasfilm. It’s a threat because you’re taking away the legitimacy of a canon that made your current life possible, replacing it, and treating us like we’re idiots for not loving the decision.

This is bad. It’s bad customer service. It’s bad franchise/fandom relation. Do you see why we’re so insulted when you say that you’re going to cherry-pick the stuff you like and “bring it back”? It’s because you threw it in the trash, said it never counted, and then you’re basically plagiarizing it.

It’s as if the Empire blew up Alderaan, told the people of Alderaan it was for their own good, and then started processing what was left of the planet into cheap furniture to sell back to them.

That’s why continuation is important but it’s not the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue is that you’re lying to us all. Fix it. Make it right, Lucasfilm. It’s not too late!

All you need to do is say, “Yes, Star Wars 1976-2014 is canon, but it’s a separate timeline from the canon of 2015 and after.” People won’t be confused, I promise. Nobody watches Star Trek Into Darkness and is baffled about how it fits with Deep Space 9.

star_trek_into_darkness_enterprise-2880x1800

We get it!

We’re smart. We’re geeks; it’s our defining characteristic. We can figure it out. And then instead of fans spending time and money trying to get your attention to right this wrong, those fans might start dedicating time and attention to checking out your alternate timeline.

Now, I said continuation is important. It is important. A lot of fans feel that continuation is the heart of the issue, which is why there’s all this confusion. But hear me out. Understand that granting us LEGITIMATE CANON STATUS is what you need to do to fix this, but that continuing the storyline is a great idea because it will completely double your profits.

nolegendsnodeal

Do you know how many fans are saying they would try Lords of the Sith if they only had Sword of the Jedi, too? Do you care? You should. You think it’s more trouble than it’s worth monitoring two timelines? I promise, the EU has been self-policing for decades. Give Leland Chee his job back, fire up the holocron, and for pete’s sake give them their Sword of the Jedi.

I can guarantee you that your profits will soar, and that fans, set at ease that the canon they invested in before is solid and available, will be willing and maybe even eager to explore alternate universe options. Star Wars Infinities were always popular. I promise, after all these decades of X-Men, geeks know how to process and keep alternate universes separate.

Think about it.

Sincerely yours,
Rebel till I die,

The Star Wars Realcanon RebeLibrarian.

Star Wars’ Holy Month

Posted in Announcements with tags , , , , on 9 May 2016 by Megan

What’s up, Wars Fans? I’ll tell you what’s up — the month of May. Or as I’ve decided to call it, Maul. (Jadeuary, Fettuary, Marr, Aaypril, Maul, see?) The month of all months as far as any self-respecting Star Wars fan is concerned. Yes, yes, there’s that greeting card holiday business with May 4, and if you really want Sitho de Mayo or Revenge of the Sixth or whatever the next two days are, you’re welcome to them.

But there are bigger and better holidays afoot, my friends! Star Wars Day is May 25, the date that gave us Star Wars back in 1977 as well as my personal favorite Return of the Jedi in ’83. May 16 gives us Episode II’s birthday; May 19 is for Episode I and Episode III. Empire Strikes Back gets its day on the 21st. And there’s a cornucopia of Star Wars actors’ birthdays this month, too, not least of all Peter Cushing (May 26) and Christopher Lee (May 27).

George Lucas

And then there’s the patriarch. George Lucas. The literal Maker as far as the Wars is concerned. His birthday is May 14.

Now, I legitimately don’t care what you think of George Lucas. My own feelings and opinions are as complicated as they can be about someone who amounts to a complete stranger who created a thing that takes up roughly 40% of my entire life. I don’t like him, but I respect him. I don’t have a high opinion of him, yet I admire him, his imagination, his creations, his tenacity. This guy was barely older than I am now when he was catapulted to the top of an unforgiving industry. And like me, he seems like someone with severe social anxieties, someone ill-equipped for such massive fame on such an abrupt scale. Yes, I think he let his ego get in the way of smart choices when it came to filming the prequel trilogy — but if I’m honest, I could look at Paradise Lost and say “I wouldn’t have done it that way.” The point is not “how would you have done it” — the point is, “Is what was done great?”

The answer is yes. Yes, it is great. All six Star Wars films are great. The Indiana Jones films and TV series are great. If his other contributions — Willow, Howard the Duck— are not great, they are not terrible, either, but are unfortunate mediocre younger siblings of geniuses who would stand just fine on their own if they weren’t constantly compared to their elders. I’ll level with you: I was far more entertained by Howard the Duck than I was by THX-1138. But here, the point is not “do you like it” — the point is, “Is it great?

And the answer is still, yes! George Lucas’ visions have not shaped one generation — they will shape many. By using Joseph Campbell’s themes on mythology, by combining and rearranging the best that the best filmmakers of his lifetime had to offer, Lucas created something no one ever had nor ever will again create. Space mythology, space opera — a Casablanca of science fiction, where a hundred cliches expertly linked can move us to tears. And the life that George Lucas breathed into it came from something else, from having a heart and passion for the fans. Once in an interview, Lucas drew an analogy of Star Wars being a sort of “trinity,” himself the “father” (in control), the works themselves “the son” (physical form), and the fans being the “holy spirit” that breathes life and vision into the works. On the back of Star Wars Through the Years, there’s a quote from him that he was trying to recreate scifi as he remembered it, those “free and fun” old serials — he achieved it and then some.

Fanaticism, by definition, knows no bounds or control. Despite the negative opinions I do have about George Lucas, I more than freely acknowledge he has not deserved the treatment he’s gotten. Fans essentially appropriated his brainchild and pushed him out; it is burning insult to that injury that Disney has treated his legacy with as much care as they’d treat a bag of garbage. Childish disappointment in films that could never live up to 25 years of mental hyping caused some of the fanbase to behave abusively toward the man they literally owe their entire fanaticism to.

So the stance I would urge people to take is one of fairness: acknowledge that the man, like any human, has innumerable faults and has made bad choices. Guess what, so have you, and at least your faults and bad choices are generally protected by privacy and anonymity, luxuries he has not had. At the same time, acknowledge his greatness: he created something no one else ever could have. He had the vision and the crew to produce this amazing thing that hit the public in the right way at the right time. We owe him for that.

If you love Star Wars, you owe Mr. Lucas your thanks. That’s basic. That’s human decency. You don’t have to love him; you don’t have to pretend he doesn’t have faults. Just acknowledge “Here is a human being who is responsible for creating something I think is so great that I spend most of my life thinking about it.”

And if you’re really hardcore, how about you send those words his way?

See, friends, what I’m introducing in this post is the concept of a new holiday: Thanksgeorging. This holiday is for Star Wars fans to celebrate on the last Thursday of May (the 26th this year). Although I encourage fans to send Mr. Lucas a note for his birthday, which is Saturday, I know that may be pretty short notice for you. So let’s get together, coordinate our efforts, and send Mr. Lucas a thank you note for our new holiday. Here’s a handy stock guide, if you don’t word good — just be sure to adjust it so it fits your personality!

And lastly, a shout-out to my new favorite blog/store: George Shot First. I invite you to dress the part on the first Thanksgeorging Day, and send me a picture of yourself rocking one of these awesome shirts. I’ll be doing a post on May 26 to showcase pictures of your shirts, letters, and anything else you happen to send me that has to do with thanking the Maker!

thanksthreepio

And if you don’t send me anything, I’ll do a much lonelier version of me celebrating my new holiday by myself . . . *cue sad music* So, come on, let’s show George Lucas what his work means to us!

I’m trying to get the word count to 1138. Can you tell? I’m so close and it’s so fitting! More details will follow, but for now — get your shirt, write your letter, send me some pics. George Lucas deserves some thanking. For more, see also this post.

EUderaan Two Years Later

Posted in Announcements, Opinion, Spotlight with tags , , , on 25 April 2016 by Megan
taken

courtesy Paul Adams of the Alliance

We the Star Wars fan community have often compared ourselves with Alderaan, the demolition of our universe with the destruction of that planet, our plight as homeless nerds with the lost refugees of Alderaan. It’s comparable on every level: a world with hundreds of thousands of vital, living creatures and a rich, deep, ancient history completely destroyed by one cold and unfeeling machine of evil empire.

Were there people from Alderaan who had a bad life there and who sullenly growled that it was better off gone? I have no doubt. Frustrated ne’er-do-wells who couldn’t live under Alderaan’s laws and restrictions, who didn’t care about history, who would rather be going after the latest shiny thing, glit-biting or finding other shallow Imperial-allowed entertainments — you can bet they sounded a chorus of “well I’m glad that planet’s gone.” But they weren’t refugees. They didn’t have something taken from them.

The Graveyard of Alderaan

The Graveyard of Alderaan

Princess Leia and her companion Winter, Tycho Celchu, the other survivors of Alderaan — they did have something taken from them. Some, like Leia, were aware of it the moment it happened — others, like Tycho, didn’t realize what had taken place until later. They banded together to fight against the empire that had created such a menace, and they also banded together to help one another in coping with the loss of something as monumental as an entire world. The Empire had to be stopped, but also, Alderaan had to be restored. It would never be the same, you can’t un-destroy what has been destroyed, but it would be a place for the refugees of a world to call home once again.

A ritual developed among the survivors of Alderaan. Called The Returning, it consisted of a special journey to the Graveyard, a vast asteroid field making up the remains of Alderaan. An intimate and private act of memorial, the Returnees would say a few words and leave a pod of gifts to commemorate those lost family members, friends, faces, places.

Leia's Return

Leia’s Return

We are the Refugees of “EUderaan.” We mourn for what has been lost, because we know the depth and the extent of what has been lost. Two years ago today, Lucasfilm made the announcement that should have shaken the fanbase to its core. When Joss Whedon had the audacity to say the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D wasn’t canon vis-a-vis his Avengers films, people flipped out and he was forced to retract. When the Lucasfilm Story Group declared that a 38-year-old fully unified multimedia canon of Star Wars lore would no longer be considered canon, people were not permitted to flip out. We were muffled, pushed down under hype of new movies and propaganda where the most peculiar, obscure bits of the EU were used to typify the whole. “You don’t get to have a voice until we see how Disney’s movie turns out,” people said, even though we already knew all we needed to know when we were told Heir to the Empire (whose Coruscant is the hinge of the prequels), Dash Rendar (whose ship Outlander was edited into A New Hope by Lucas Himself), and Aayla Secura (drawn from comics for a role in Episode II and III) no longer existed as canon.

Simply put, the Expanded Universe forms the framework for the Star Wars films. Since the entire EU — books, comics, and both electronic and tabletop games — was instigated and supported by George Lucas as canon equal with the films (his only caveat was that he did not need to submit to them if his vision contradicted them — something which rarely happened), by removing the EU, Disney effectively rebooted the franchise. Deletion of 90% source material is as sure a reboot as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. But we were denied the right to call it what it is.

The Empire didn’t let people mourn for Alderaan, either. Such an event should have caused such moral outrage and horror that the Empire would’ve been lost overnight. But the Emperor’s grip was tight, and protestation was muffled — just as our protests for the EU have been muffled.

But now we the community have taken a stand. Star Wars fans have done something really amazing, and the media has noticed —

We literally took a sign out.

We literally took a sign out.

Various coinciding factors allowed certain organizers among the fan community — I reject the terminology that we are an “organization”; no, we are merely fans doing what fans do! — to plan and accomplish getting a literal billboard literally outside the doors of the Lucasfilm offices [more here].

Literally.

Literally.

It’s the message we’ve been speaking for two years now, but this time it cost money to make. Via crowdfunding, the relatively modest cost of a billboard (compare $7 million raised by Msties to bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back) was raised and applied to a sign asking for the EU to be restored to its position, and the response has phenomenal:

We’ve started the conversation. People are finally being heard as they voice dissent against the mouse empire. The anti-EU fighters can no longer hide behind “wait and see, you don’t know, it might be good.” The pro-EU wishers and dreamers who hoped that somehow Disney meant to decanonize and yet incorporate have seen that all the current Star Wars administration means to do is recycle the stories into trash for cash.

It took almost four years for Alderaan to receive justice, and longer than that before her homeless refugees were able to rebuild. This is a long fight, but we’re in it and we’re in it together.

I have another post coming where I try to address some of the repeated confusion in media attention (“what do those Legends people want, anyway?”), but with this post, looking back on the last two years of anger and struggle, all I want to do is say thanks to the Give Us Legends [also Twitter] guys for doing this!

The view from here.

The view from here.

We’re not an organization. There’s no leadership, no hierarchy, no one in charge. We’re just the fanbase. The Star Wars fans in 2016 as we were in 1976, in 1986, in 1996, and in 2006. We just want Star Wars, as it is, as it was, as it should be. Declaring the EU non-canon was no different from declaring Return of the Jedi non-canon — and we will fight for what we love, to bring it back.

For the press release and more information about the billboard, how it came to be, and what it represents and is for, check out giveuslegends.net.

Our love. Our story.

Our love. Our story.

And you, EUderaan, EUderaan,  you are not forgotten. We will not send you quietly into that good night. We will keep up this fight. #WeWantLegends. #GiveUsLegends.

Attention ‘Warriors!

Posted in Announcements with tags , , on 2 November 2015 by Megan

The following is a message for everyone invested in the fate of the Expanded Universe and realcanon in general.

Calling All Jedi! Calling All Jedi!

Dr. William Proctor is a lecturer and researcher at Bournemouth University (UK) and he needs your help! William is Director of ‘The Force Re-Awakens: The World Star Wars Project,’ a global study of the Star Wars franchise which includes talking to the people who matter most: The Fans! The first phase includes a questionnaire to allow each one of you to have your say about the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Please send completed questionnaires to bproctor@bournemouth.ac.uk. This is your chance to have your say! You do not need to be a fan of the Expanded Universe to take part. Just share your thoughts.

May the force be with you,
Dr. William Proctor
Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication

This is an important opportunity to get your voice out there, to demonstrate our passion, and describe to the world what realcanon means to us and why we won’t just let it go.

You can find the Questionnaire on my Facebook page here. Copy and paste it into a word processor or email, and then send it to bproctor@bournemouth.ac.uk.

As always, I’ll be posting my own responses to the questionnaire on the site… as soon as I finish them.

Did I tell you guys I have a real job now? I’m among the actually employed! So I’m not moving as quickly as I normally would in the ol’ mindless entertainment department. But, soon.