Star Wars has reached more than three generations of casual and hardcore fans alike, and as a result many of the producers of franchised Star Wars texts (films, television, comics, novels, games, and more) over the past four decades have been fans-turned-creators. Yet despite its dominant cultural and industrial positions, Star Wars has rarely been the topic of sustained critical work. Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling offers a corrective to this oversight by curating essays from a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars in order to bring Star Wars and its transmedia narratives more fully into the fold of media and cultural studies. The collection places Star Wars at the center of those studies’ projects by examining video games, novels and novelizations, comics, advertising practices, television shows, franchising models, aesthetic and economic decisions, fandom and cultural responses, and other aspects of Star Wars and its world-building in their multiple contexts of production, distribution, and reception. In emphasizing that Star Wars is both a media franchise and a transmedia storyworld, Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling demonstrates the ways in which transmedia storytelling and the industrial logic of media franchising have developed in concert over the past four decades, as multinational corporations have become the central means for subsidizing, profiting from, and selling modes of immersive storyworlds to global audiences. By taking this dual approach, the book focuses on the interconnected nature of corporate production, fan consumption, and transmedia world-building. As such, this collection grapples with the historical, cultural, aesthetic, and political-economic implications of the relationship between media franchising and transmedia storytelling as they are seen at work in the world’s most profitable transmedia franchise.
Sean Guynes is a PhD student in the Department of English at Michigan State University, where he writes and teaches about American science fiction, popular culture, and comics. His dissertation is a critical cultural history of the Futurians.
Dan Hassler-Forest is the author and editor of several books, including The Rise and Reason of Comics and Graphic Literature, Capitalist Superheroes, The Politics of Adaptation, Transmedia, and Science Fiction, Fantasy and Politics. As an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, he became involved in the student protests and was among the founding members of staff platform ReThink UvA.