Extrapolation

Hokey Religions

Star Wars and Star Trek in the Age of Reboots

Extrapolation (2017), 58, (2-3), 153–180.

Abstract

Disney’s recent “decanonization” of the decades-old Star Wars “Expanded Universe” in preparation for the release of The Force Awakens once again raises the question of the triangular relationship between the corporate ownership of intellectual property, the mainstream audience to whom the blockbuster films are addressed, and the much smaller hardcore fanbase whose loyalty sustains a franchise during its lean years. Considering fandom investment in the processes of world-building and continuity construction across the landscape of SF media forms, this article will focus specifically on two key franchises in mainstream SF, each in its own way paradigmatic of the “merely” science fictional, and each of which has recently undertaken a radical revision of its “expanded universe”: Star Wars and Star Trek. A concluding discussion extends these observations to other two franchises: Superman comics and the long-running British television series Doctor Who.

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Wendig, Chuck. Aftermath. New York: Del Ray, 2015. Print. Aftermath Google Scholar

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Zahn, Timothy. Heir to the Empire. New York: Random House, 1991. Print. Heir to the Empire Google Scholar

Abrams, J. J. Star Trek (2009). Paramount, 2009. DVD. Star Trek Google Scholar

Abrams, J. J. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Paramount, 2013. DVD. Star Trek Into Darkness Google Scholar

Blish, James. Spock Must Die! Bantam Books, 1970. Print. Spock Must Die! Google Scholar

Canavan, Gerry. “The Discovered Country.” Los Angeles Review of Books. 29 Jul. 2016. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-discovered-country-startrek-beyond. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

“Canon Policy: Quotes and Disputes.” Canonwars.com. http://www.canonwars.com/SWCanonwars-2.html. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Chee, Leland Y. “What Is the Holocron?” StarWars.com (updated 20 Oct. 2011). Now archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20120505040737/http://blogs.starwars.com/holocron/4. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Doctor Who. Originally created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, Donald Wilson; showrunners for the returned series Russell T. Davies (2005–2010) and Steven Moffat (2010–). BBC, 1963–1989, 1996, 2005–. Various media platforms including BBC America and Netflix. Google Scholar

“The Doctor Who Reference Guide.” http://www.drwhoguide.com/who.htm. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. “The Myth of Superman.” Diacritics 2.1 (Spring 1972): 14–22. Print. The Myth of Superman Diacritics 2.1 14 22 Google Scholar

Ellsworth, Spencer. “Star Wars Aftermath: The Expanded Universe Will Not Go Quietly.” bleedingcool.com. 7 Sept. 2015. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/09/07/star-wars-aftermath-the-expanded-universe-will-not-go-quietly. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Foster, Alan Dean. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. New York: Del Ray, 1978. Print. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye Google Scholar

Gellar, Eric. “Anger Leads to Hate: Inside the Movement to Save the Expanded Universe.” theforce.net. 7 Oct. 2014. http://www.theforce.net/story/front/Anger_Leads_To_Hate_Inside_The_Movement_To_Save_The_Expanded_Universe_160167.asp. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Gray, Jonathan. Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. New York: New York UP, 2010. Print. Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts Google Scholar

Hartwell, David. “The Golden Age of Science Fiction Is Twelve.” Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction. Ed. James Gunn and Matthew Candelaria. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2005. 269–288. Print. The Golden Age of Science Fiction Is Twelve Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction 269 288 Google Scholar

Hickey, Walt. “Star Wars Killed a Universe to Save the Galaxy.” FiveThirtyEight.com. 15 Dec. 2016. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/star-wars-killed-a-universe-to-savethe-galaxy/. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Hines, Jim. “One-Star Wars.” jimchines.com. 6 Sept. 2015. http://www.jimchines.com/2015/09/one-star-wars. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Jameson, Fredric. “from ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society.’” Postmodern American Fiction. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997. Print. from ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society.’ Postmodern American Fiction Google Scholar

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide Google Scholar

Kotsko, Adam. “The Inertia of Tradition in Star Trek: Case Studies in Neglected Corners of the “Canon.” Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 (2016): 347–370. Print. The Inertia of Tradition in Star Trek: Case Studies in Neglected Corners of the “Canon.” Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 347 370 Google Scholar

Lindbergh, Ben. “‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ Author Chuck Wendig on Building the Bridge Between ‘Jedi’ and ‘The Force Awakens’ With His Universe-Rebooting Novel.” Grantland. 4 Sept. 2015. http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/star-wars-aftermath-author-chuck-wendig-on-building-the-bridge-between-jediand-the-force-awakens-with-his-universe-rebooting-novel/. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

“The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page.” StarWars.com. 25 Apr. 2014. http://www.starwars.com/news/the-legendary-star-wars-expandeduniverse-turns-a-new-page. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Liptak, Andrew. “The Heartwarming Story Behind R2-KT, and How She Joined Star Wars Canon.” io9.com. 28 Nov. 2015. http://io9.com/the-heartwarmingstory-behind-r2-kt-and-how-she-joined-1744986951. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Lucas, George. Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. Ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. New York: Ballantine, 1976. Print. Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker Google Scholar

Lucas, George. Return of the Jedi. 20th Century Fox, 2004 (1983/1997). DVD. Return of the Jedi Google Scholar

Lucas, George. Star Wars. 20th Century Fox, 2004 (1977/1997). DVD. Star Wars Google Scholar

Lucas, George. The Star Wars Holiday Special. CBS, 1978. Periodically available on YouTube. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. The Star Wars Holiday Special Google Scholar

Owen, Phil. “It’s an Awkward Time to Be a Star Wars Fan.” kotaku.com. 6 Oct. 2015. http://kotaku.com/it-s-an-awkward-time-to-be-a-star-wars-fan-1734751595. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

“New Hopes,” Starlog #337 (Aug. 2005): 46–48. Partially scanned and archived at canonwars.com. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

u/ProfessorLaser. “The Real Reason Emperor Palpatine Created the Empire.” Reddit.com. 13 Sept. 2012. https://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories/comments/zt9l8/the_real_reason_emperor_palpatine_created_the. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Rehak, Bob. “Transmedia Space Battles: Reference Materials and Miniatures Wargames in 1970s Star Trek Fandom.” Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 (2016): 325–345. Print. Transmedia Space Battles: Reference Materials and Miniatures Wargames in 1970s Star Trek Fandom Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 325 345 Google Scholar

Robertson, Benjamin J. “‘It’s Just Us Now’: Nostalgia and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 (2016): 479–488. Print. ‘It’s Just Us Now’: Nostalgia and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Science Fiction Film and Television 9.3 479 488 Google Scholar

Roddenberry, Gene. Star Trek. Paramount Pictures, 1963–. Various media formats including DVD and Netflix. Star Trek Google Scholar

Saler, Michael. As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Print. As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality Google Scholar

Saraiya, Sonia. “Your Guide to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.” The Onion A.V. Club. 24 Jul. 2014. http://www.avclub.com/article/your-guide-star-warsexpanded-universe-207005. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. Google Scholar

Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Print. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction Google Scholar

Wendig, Chuck. Aftermath. New York: Del Ray, 2015. Print. Aftermath Google Scholar

Wood, Robin. “Ideology, Genre, Auteur.” Film Genre Reader IV. Austin: U of Texas P, 2012. 78–92. Print. Ideology, Genre, Auteur Film Genre Reader IV 78 92 Google Scholar

Zahn, Timothy. Heir to the Empire. New York: Random House, 1991. Print. Heir to the Empire Google Scholar

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Author details

Canavan, Gerry