“Thank the Maker!” George Lucas, Lucusfilm, and the Legends of Transtextual Authorship Across the Star Wars Franchise

Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling, edited by Sean Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest.

Published by Amsterdam University Press, 2017

I am delighted to have contributed a chapter to this edited book collection on the Star Wars franchise and its role in the history of transmedia storytelling.Download Open Access PDF here. 

Paperback available for purchase from Amsterdam University Press and Amazon.

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Chapter 1: ‘Thank the Maker!’

My chapter, titled “‘Thank the Maker!’ George Lucas, Lucasfilm, and the Legends of Transtextual Authorship,” focuses on the authorial significance of George Lucas across the Star Wars franchise and beyond. This chapter examines authorship in the context of a long-running and extensive transmedia franchise, such as Star Wars, and conceptualizes this dynamic using the notion of transtextuality.

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The chapters in this book examine Star Wars as both a media franchise and a transmedia story world, demonstrating the ways in which the logic of media franchising and strategies related to transmedia storytelling have developed in concert over the last four decades, to brings us where we are today with transmedia and franchising being dominant in today’s entertainment landscape.

Previous scholarly study of the Star Wars franchise has focused on its influence on special and visual effects, merchandising and high concept, fandom, and mythology, but this book realises the significance of Star Wars through a different critical perspective by addressing the interplay of franchising logic, world-building, global commercialism, and fan consumption practices.

Description from Amsterdam University Press

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.

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