Monday, February 11, 2013

What is The Wrong Kind of Fan?


Last week I talked about The Wrong Kind of Fan. This is a concept I’ve been thinking about for quite some time but one that, when I bring it up, people tend to call me an elitist. Or asshole.

People call me an asshole a lot.

So let me explain what I’m talking about when I talk about The Wrong Kind of Fan. The Wrong Kind of Fan takes the fun out of the thing you love. The Wrong Kind of Fan brings really negative attention to the thing you love. The Wrong Kind of Fan is a walking bundle of stereotypes many, many people have worked hard to negate and The Wrong Kind of Fan is really fucking obnoxious. The Wrong Kind of Fan is these things, but taken to such an extreme that you’re left wondering if you should stay involved with that thing you love so very much.

The Wrong Kind of Fan comes in many shapes and many sizes, and over the coming days, we’re gonna take a look at some of them.

And I’m probably going to come across like an asshole in the process.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let's Talk About The Star Wars Expanded Universe



One thing that keeps popping up in a segment of Star Wars fandom since Disney’s purchase of the franchise is a fear that the Expanded Universe won’t be left intact.

Never heard of the Expanded Universe (EU)?  The EU is a vast collection of Star Wars stories featured in novels, comics, video games and various other media. For a brief period, it was thought the EU was canon, as after the release of Return of the Jedi, we were told there would be no more Star Wars. The EU expands on everything George Lucas presented in his films, adding new characters, new locales, and new adventures to the universe. A lot of people have dedicated a lot of time to the EU. It has a very loyal fan base and it’s understandable they would be afraid the stories will no longer count. 

But the EU, for the sake of all films and the sanity of audiences old and new, must be counted as nothing but apocrypha.

THE EU HASN’T BEEN CONSIDERED CANON IN A LONG TIME (IF IT EVER WAS)

Let’s point to the elephant in the room right now. A lot of fans of the EU hold to the belief that the EU is considered canon. Well, it’s not. Here’s a few choice quotes from George Lucas himself on the EU:
“’There are two worlds here,’ explained Lucas. ‘There’s my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe —the licensing world of the books, games and comic books. They don’t intrude on my world, which is a select period of time, [but] they do intrude in between the movies. I don’t get too involved in the parallel universe.’” – Cinescape, 2001
Here’s another quote:
"I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.” Starlog, 2005
So there you go. At best, the EU is an alternate universe.

HOLDING THE EU AS CANON IS CREATIVE SUICIDE FOR FILMMAKERS

But let’s pretend the EU has been canon and George Lucas has given it his blessing. That’s all well and good, but Disney is in the business of making movies. Movies, as we all know, are made for the masses (at least the ones that come out of studios are). Disney, after all, just paid billions of dollars for Star Wars and needs a return on their investment.

So why in God's name would Disney require their very broad audience to have read hundreds of novels, thousands of comics and played dozens of video games (and maybe played an RPG or two) to get all the backstory they need to enjoy the film?

Think of it this way. When Marvel and Disney got serious about making their movie universe, did they make it an extension of the comics or did they make it its own thing? Obviously that’s a rhetorical question, but you get my point. The movies exist independently of the comics and rightfully so. To expect an audience to familiarize themselves with at least 40 years of continuity is absurd.

Expecting an audience to consume countless stories from various media to enjoy a series of films is not just absurd, it’s delusional.

THE EU ONLY WORKED AS CANON WHEN THERE WAS NO MORE STAR WARS

The EU was originally a bone Lucas graciously tossed when there was no intention to make any more Star Wars films (and, let's be honest, a way to keep getting people to pay money for Star Wars stuff). Say what you will about George Lucas, but the man has always been cool with letting folks play in his sandbox and it was nice having new Star Wars, even if it was in books, comics and games.

But the sandbox was George Lucas’ sandbox and he’s sold it to Disney. It was fun playing in it, but once it became clear there would indeed be new Star Wars, the idea that the EU was required to enjoy Star Wars should have been abandoned.

Does that mean there shouldn’t be books, comics and all the rest? Absolutely not. Bookstores are filled with Star Trek books, Doctor Who books and books on a large number of other properties. People enjoy those books. There’re comics and video games as well. And people enjoy them. They scratch the itch to get more of what they love.

But they also understand they don’t, and can’t, count as canon. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So Lucasfilm Evidently Does Like Money...


UPDATE: So Disney has announced they are indeed making a Boba Fett movie. I'm going to pretend that someone high up at Disney is an avid Nerduary reader and decided to heed my advice. I'm also going to pretend that a movie featuring a Han Solo played by someone other than Han Solo isn't a monumentally bad idea. Isn't it fun to play pretend?

Anyway, here's what I had to say yesterday...

So now word on the Internet is that Lucasfilm is looking to make standalone movies featuring established characters. This absolutely makes sense to me, from both a creative and financial point of view. But what doesn't make sense to me is who the focus of the first spin-off is planned to center on (at least according to Ain't It Cool News)...


Now I don't think a Yoda flick is inherently a bad idea. In fact, I think a movie that shows Yoda in his younger years tearing shit up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away would be pretty sweet. But that's going to be how you kick things off? I mean, you're Lucasfilm. I thought you liked money. Fans love Yoda, to be sure, but you know who fans really love? 


They love that guy. Like, a lot. They love him a in a way that when you really think about it makes no sense at all. Most of the time he's on screen, he's just kinda hanging out in the background, looking all mysterious and saying cool, badass things, sometimes even to Darth Vader.

Fans. Love. Boba Fett.

I'd like to add that I merely like Boba Fett. I have no super attachment to him beyond "his armor looks cool." But a Boba Fett movie would let you branch out and expand your franchise more than a Yoda flick.

A Yoda flick is more of the same when it comes down to it. Jedi Knights doing Jedi Knight things. And maybe Yoda bouncing around a lot. We've seen these movies already. What we haven't seen is Reservoir Dogs in space.

And I really wanna see Reservoir Dogs. In space.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jonathan Hickman on Thanos and Marvel Cosmic. My Brain Shall Shut Down in 3,2,1...

Marvel Infinity. Jonathan Hickman taking on Thanos and all things Marvel Cosmic.

My apologies. My brain cannot handle the awesomeness. There are some things in life that just seem too perfect. Things you've wished for for years. And then they happen, yet still you find yourself completely unprepared.

Read all about it at Bleeding Cool.


I'm going to go lie down for a little bit while my brain reboots.

If Lucasfilm Likes Money Just Make a Boba Fett Flick

So now word on the Internet is that Lucasfilm is looking to make standalone movies featuring established characters. This absolutely makes sense to me, from both a creative and financial point of view. But what doesn't make sense to me is who the focus of the first spin-off is planned to center on (at least according to Ain't It Cool News)...


Now I don't think a Yoda flick is inherently a bad idea. In fact, I think a movie that shows Yoda in his younger years tearing shit up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away would be pretty sweet. But that's going to be how you kick things off? I mean, you're Lucasfilm. I thought you liked money. Fans love Yoda, to be sure, but you know who fans really love? 


They love that guy. Like, a lot. They love him a in a way that when you really think about it makes no sense at all. Most of the time he's on screen, he's just kinda hanging out in the background, looking all mysterious and saying cool, badass things, sometimes even to Darth Vader.

Fans. Love. Boba Fett.

I'd like to add that I merely like Boba Fett. I have no super attachment to him beyond "his armor looks cool." But a Boba Fett movie would let you branch out and expand your franchise more than a Yoda flick.

A Yoda flick is more of the same when it comes down to it. Jedi Knights doing Jedi Knight things. And maybe Yoda bouncing around a lot. We've seen these movies already. What we haven't seen is Reservoir Dogs in space.

And I really wanna see Reservoir Dogs. In space.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Uncle Ruckus Movie

I feel like more people should be talking about this. I feel like I should have known about this before now. I feel like this should have happened before now.

An Uncle Ruckus movie Kickstarter from creator Aaron McGruder.

I usually give some kind of commentary to these things, but for now, I'm just going to let it stand on it's own. I mean, hell... it's Uncle Ruckus.



You can see details of the Kickstarter here.

I've funded Kickstarter projects before and I'm quite certain I'll be funding this one. You?

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Wrong Kind of Fan

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have a fantastic excuse for the radio silence, but really, who cares to hear it? I most certainly don't.

That doesn't mean I haven't been busy though. I've been thinking a lot about fandom of late. Why it's amazing and, well, why it sometimes isn't. Mostly why it isn't, to be perfectly honest. And what I realized is that it comes down to The Wrong Kind of Fan.

I'm still fleshing the post out (and it's looking like it's going to be a series), but understand it won't be a call to be exclusionary. Not at all. Some people want to limit who's invited to the party while I say keep the door open and see who wanders in. Rather, it'll be a look at certain types of people who make being a fan of something, anything, not quite as fun. You've met these people, you've interacted with these people, but hopefully you aren't one of these people. The Wrong Kind of Fan comes in many shapes and sizes and there are many, many different types of The Wrong Kind of Fan, and we're going to take a look at some of them.

But not today. Like I said, it's still being composed. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think about The Wrong Kind of Fan. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and I'll likely have the piece ready early next week (or maybe even this weekend).