The Movie Waffler Book Review - <i>Fan Phenomena: Star Wars</i> | The Movie Waffler

Book Review - Fan Phenomena: Star Wars

Collection of essays examining the cultural impact of George Lucas's sci-fi franchise.
Edited by: Mika Elovaara

UK publisher Intellect Books' Fan Phenomena series is a line of books that looks at popular movies (The Big Lebowski, The Hunger Games), TV shows (Twin Peaks, Star Trek) and stars (Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe), with an emphasis on how fans have created a wider phenomena beyond the original material.
George Lucas's franchise, recently sold to Disney of course, seems ripe for an analysis of how fans have created entire new worlds and mythologies beyond Lucas's original works, and that's exactly what we get in Fan Phenomena: Star Wars. To quote chapter 10, "Star Wars is no longer just something to watch, it has become something to do." 
Through 10 essays from a host of authors, the book examines the variety of ways Star Wars has affected both its fans and popular culture at large.
Writers Marc Joly Corcoran and Sarah Ludlow examine the world of Star Wars fan fiction and the reaction of LucasFilm to such works. Some hilarious cease and desist correspondence between the company and the authors of dubious "erotic" stories featuring the steamy couplings of our favourite sci-fi heroes is referenced, outlining how worried LucasFilm are about the tarnishing of Star Wars family image.
Erika Travis writes about female fandom, with much emphasis on Princess Leia's status as a positive role model for young women.
Jediism as a religion is examined by Zachary Ingle, who looks at how Lucas borrowed from various existing faiths to create his series' central philosophy, but also how some have adopted Jediism as a faith in itself.
The essays are informative, though casual readers may find them a little dry in tone, and each is accompanied by a host of "further reading" web-links that hardcore enthusiasts will appreciate. 

Eric Hillis