The Star Wars Fan Community

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By Mike Filardi, Aaron Petit

The Star Wars franchise spans across multiple movies, books, comics, video games, TV shows, and other mediums. Star Wars is a huge presence in media and entertainment, as well as an important cultural touchstone. Something as well-known and beloved as Star Wars would of course develop its own fan community. The community began is 1977 after the release of the first movie, “A New Hope,” as those who enjoyed the movie came together through fan clubs, amateur magazines called “zines,” and with fan-run conventions. Even from the franchises beginning, its popularity was astounding, and the fan community was never limited to the United States thanks to grassroots endeavors by devoted fans around the world. Movies and merchandise expanding even more to countries in the UK thanks to the use of native speaking actors in the more recent films. Important characteristics of the community are a common understanding and enjoyment of the films and to some extent the expanded universe of non-movie Star Wars media, a desire to discuss and debate various aspects of the franchise, and the common rituals of going to see the new movies when they come out, buying franchise related merchandise, and other actions meant to sustain the enjoyment derived from the experience of the franchise. The Star Wars canon is extensive, but the central texts of the community would have to be the original trilogy, the sequels, and now the reboot movies. The films have always been seen as more important to the franchises canon, in fact many of the novelizations and comic books have been deemed to be “no longer canon” by the creators and the community because their stories and timelines conflict with those of the films. The reason for this is likely because more people have seen the blockbuster films than have read some of the more obscure entries in the expanded universe, and this accommodation to the newer members of the community has likely played a role in how massive the Star Wars fan community has become.

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