April 12, 2005

Media tour de FORCE: Star Wars

Not everyone is a fan, but the Star Wars conglomerate of George Lucas does exemplify the transmedia culture which is consistently marking the new media market. From comics, movies, books, film, action figures, interactive fiction, etc. the creative teams for Lucasfilm, Ltd. have gone far beyond the limitations of a Hollywood galaxy. Excuse the cheesiness.

While similarities still exist in the packaging of the product: fonts, characters, settings, and overall culture of the Force-driven worlds of Lucas, the contrasts in new media lie in the varying complexity of visual effects, the authors, and, of course, the various mediums which distribute the information.

Okay, a few Star Wars basics:

Episode I--new movie Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor
Episode II--new movie Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman
Episode III--to be released soon

Episode IV a.k.a. Star Wars:older flick Harrison Ford
Episode V a.k.a. The Empire Strikes back:older same cast YODA!!
Episode VI a.k.a. Return of the Jedi: last movie

Independent fan films:


Annual fan film awards 2005 finalists.

When cinema is not enough, Star Wars enthusiasts continue the story after and before George Lucas's cinematic timeline. Books and interactive fiction.

Interactive Fiction:

Star Wars IF gaming

Star Wars Chicks IF for gals

Download a fan fiction zip file

Example of transmedia culture (Laurel).

From Remediation: Understanding New Media

Star Wars, which was ahead of its time, still employed puppetry (Yoda and Jabba's animals) and models to create scenery. Later, in the new episodes I and II, however, computer graphics took precedence, creating a photorealistic world that the audience may begin to believe (Bolter and Grusin 153-154). The Episodes I and II, however, are arguably more realistic with visual effects. They "create a sense of presence...com[ing] as close as possible to our daily visual experience" (Bolter and Grusin 22).

Other mediums: books. If I could, I would show you them, but I don't have my digital camera; I have new and old versions of Star Wars books. I plan on assessing their book covers with a focus in the enhanced graphic design as the series develops.

This is a stepping stone presentation for my final, which will be on Titanic--all forms.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at April 12, 2005 2:38 PM | TrackBack

While I'm not into Star Wars as nearly as much when I was in gradeschool, I find Lucas' universe (and the success of such) rather fascinating. Some folks call moves like his "selling out", cashing in on every product he can pedal. But really he's just a good marketing man. He has a product, the Star Wars universe, and he knows how to push it into every facet of sales and marketing.

These models have been imitated mainly by other sci-fi franchises (The Matrix and Chronicles of Riddick come to mind) however none have expanded as much as SW has. Star Trek has quite a following, perhaps even larger than SW, but they remain tied strictly to TV and film.

The only thing I found I disagreed with was the quote about the new movies looking more realistic than the old ones because of the new computer generated graphics. There is something tangible about puppets, which even though they are nothing but foam and wires, that interacts with the scenery much more than any computer can. A prime example: Jabba the Hutt in RotJ vs Jar Jar Binks... bleeccch!

Posted by: Mike at April 12, 2005 3:35 PM

I agree that Jar Jar is a disappointment in every way possible, both as a character and as a visual effect (notice how little he is seen in Episode II).

What I was focusing on is the setting's visual effects, especially when viewing the aircrafts speed over planets, and also in the city scenes in Episodes I and II. However, in the newly-remastered originals, the visual effects geniuses have gone back through the old films and have added various sound and visual effects to amend some of the issues of the former editions' shortcomings.

Apologies for the confusion.

Posted by: Amanda at April 12, 2005 8:10 PM

I liked the star wars chick thing, that was pretty cool. Unfortunatly I haven't seen the new movies of Star Wars, but some tell me that its not worth seeing because it was disappointing.

Posted by: Sue at April 13, 2005 6:34 PM
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