May the Fourth is a fun day for Star Wars fans everywhere! It’s a day dedicated to recognizing the popularity and importance of Star Wars in the global community. Online retailers, such as ThinkGeek and Her Universe, will have exciting sales, but if you’re looking for new material to read, author and scholar Natacha Guyot has got you covered.
In honor of Star Wars Day, Natacha’s eBook, A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation & Storytelling in Star Wars, will be available for free on May 4 and May 5, 2015.
“I am very happy to be able to partake in this great day for my oldest fandom,” she wrote in her blog. “I hope that you enjoy the book if you read it!”
Scroll down further to read a description of A Galaxy of Possibilities as well as a brief interview with Natacha about what inspired her to write the book, her thoughts on diversity in Star Wars, her advice for other writers, and the projects she’s currently working on.
Star Wars has been a best-selling franchise since its creation in 1977. In the media landscape and audiences’ imagination, its longevity isn’t surprising, given the efficient narrative models and strong multiple influences it possesses. Fictional universes of this importance that are meant for audiences of many ages have a responsibility in terms of representation and inclusiveness. This collection of essays looks at different aspects and eras of the Star Wars universe: movies, television series, video games, and novels. It addresses portrayal of children, women, ethnic diversity, and disability; and whether they offer positive and layered images of both heroes and villains. Almost forty years of narratives of plural forms has pitted Star Wars against societal and media evolutions, thus affecting narrative approaches and choices. A Galaxy of Possibilities explores some of their impacts on the franchise.
Star Wars is a franchise we both love dearly. What inspired you to write a collection of essays about the Star Wars universe?
This collection of essays started out of the blue! I had submitted several individual essays for academic publications and was planning more. After a couple didn’t make the cut, I realized that I could create a collection and take my leap into self-publishing, which had been on my mind for a while. So I retrieved the other submitted essay and began to organize what I had. Back then, the Star Wars Rebels chapter was only at the outlined stage (it was the last one I wrote after getting Star Wars: A New Dawn for last Christmas!) The two pieces that weren’t originally included are the Tenel Ka and the Nala chapters, which stemmed from discussions with my friend, Rose.
I started thinking about self-publishing when I was a teenager and it means a lot to me that my first project like this was about Star Wars!
Diversity and representation are prominent topics of discussion nowadays, and awareness continues to spread through social media. What are your thoughts about diversity in Star Wars and its current projects (Star Wars Rebels, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, etc.)?
I hope that these important topics continue to be included in discussion, and I especially hope that not just words but actions come out of them. One thing I regret seeing put beneath the rug about diversity in Star Wars is the existence of the prequel trilogy. More female characters emerged during this, not only Padmé, but also her handmaidens, Shmi Skywalker, and several Jedi. We shouldn’t forget either Jango Fett and his clones, his son Boba, or Bail Organa and even his wife, Breha.
Without the prequels, we might not have had another important development, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which continued to expand on diverse representation.
I was among those worried about the original reveal of Episode VII: The Force Awakens cast in April 2014. I still believe they might have arranged for more actresses to be included in the reveal, especially with how quickly Gwendoline Christie and Lupita Nyong’o were mentioned afterwards. By now, I have greater faith in the cast! The new trio makes me extremely happy.
The first cast announcement for Rogue One being a woman, Felicity Jones, was pretty cool and I am curious to see how things will go.
As for Star Wars Rebels, so much love for the cast! From the newly introduced characters (did I mention how much I adore Hera?) to the returning ones (so many feels for Bail Organa and Ahsoka Tano!), this show has proven to be Star Wars at its best. Having a main cast with great diversity is important.
Now, if Disney could understand that we want merchandising for our beloved female characters (and this want expands to their Marvel products!) this would be fantastic. Until then, you will see me on my soapbox waving #WeWantLeia, #WeWantHera, #WeWantSabine, and assorted signs.
I enjoy reading Star Wars fan fiction and creating crafts inspired by that galaxy far, far away. What are some ways you express your love for Star Wars?
My first fanfiction (years before I even knew what it was) was about Star Wars. It was a sequel to Return of the Jedi. I remember that Luke had a daughter (I have always been adamant about Luke having a daughter), and of course, Han and Leia were married. There was something about a new Death Star, too. I was eight years old!
For the past ten years (in August this year), I have created fan videos for many fandoms. I have made quite a few for Star Wars (41 videos and a few crossovers also featured Star Wars moments), whether canon or several alternate universes (based on my roleplaying characters or a big alternate universe fanfiction project I co-created with a friend who wrote it).
You can find some of these Star Wars videos on my YouTube channel.
Writing takes time, research, and dedication. Do you have any advice for other writers looking to write about their fandoms or fiction in general?
Being passionate about what you write about is a must. The more you write, the better you will become, as well. There are lots of resources to improve one’s craft available, whether blogs or books, so I recommend reading not only in the genre you love, but also about writing itself. Believe that what you have to say matters. We all have our own stories to tell, our opinion to give. As long as we do this respectfully, we should speak up.
I know some writers write without much of a structure in mind, but save for a few short stories, I always need an outline, especially for nonfiction. I’d be lost without my outlines! Also, remember to have something with you to take notes on. I can’t live without notebooks and pencils. If there is one thing ideas don’t care about, it’s timing!
I admire your scholarly approach to Star Wars and science fiction. What are some projects you’re currently working on?
Thank you very much! I have written about Star Wars and science fiction since I was in high school. I couldn’t imagine not doing this as an author! 2015 has already been a busy year and will continue to be so, which is very exciting.
I am currently writing the last two short stories for an urban fantasy/paranormal collection (which will be a series). I am aiming for a late spring/early summer release. I also plan two more nonfiction books for this fall, one about The 100 (focusing on the TV show, not the books) that should be released prior to the third season airing; and one in defense of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I already have structures for these two books. My book about Dana Scully from the X-Files is postponed until late 2015/early 2016 for the writing, since we are lucky to get new episodes next year!
Visit Natacha’s blog for her insights on Star Wars, science fiction, and storytelling.
Lastly, make sure to check back on May 4 and May 5 to download a free copy of A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation & Storytelling in Star Wars.