Photo By Terri Hodges.
Bonnie Burton is no longer with Lucasfilm and StarWars.com. The company has laid her off, she announced today on Twitter.
Bonnie wrote content for the website and handled social media. She was hired in 2003, during the run-up to Revenge of the Sith, and has been an outspoken force for women in the fandom ever since.
We’re a little puzzled by this move on the part of Lucasfilm, but no one is doubting that Bonnie will land on her feet somewhere!
With the Star Wars Blogs in their final days, The Stooge has moved his Star Wars Joke-A-Day, a long-time staple of the Blogs, to Tumblr. So fans, be sure to either bookmark StarWarsJokes.tumblr.com or, better yet, create an account and follow him!
Here a few other Star Wars Tumblrs you might want to follow to get started: Distracted by Star Wars, Professional Geek Girl, Star Wars Backstage, Retro Star Wars, Purple Lightsaber. And you can always poke around the tags to find other stuff you’ll like, though beware spoilers (and/or occasional random nudity.)
Almost a year ago, the StarWars.com forums were closed for good. And now, the other shoe has fallen: Blogs.StarWars.com will be no more. I, and presumably other Ex-Hyperspace subscribers, received an email to that effect this evening. The relevant portion:
We show that you maintain or have maintained an official blog on StarWars.com as a feature of your Hyperspace membership. As Hyperspace services officially ended as of December 31, 2011, we wanted to give you the opportunity to retrieve whatever content you have posted to your official StarWars.com Blog before they are completely retired in 60 days.
A last vestige of the site’s Hyperspace subscription service/fan club, the Blog area of the site was introduced in 2005, spiking with the Revenge of the Sith hype, and has been increasingly abandoned since.
It was, nonetheless, a venue that introduced many fans to blogging – and without it, would fandom have The Stooge? A terrifying concept.
I’ve saved many of my entries (including an embryonic version of the civility post that I’d half-forgotten existed.) I urge you to do the same now, if you haven’t already.
Marketing Week’s Laura Snoad talks to Howard Roffman on how Lucasfilm is keeping Star Wars relevant in the post-movie era. He pings on the books, video games, and other merchandising issues. Includes a question from our very own Eliz, the answer to which contains interesting bit on the StarWars.com redesign:
The website will also be easier for people to shop for Star Wars products and connect with other fans to see what other news is being generated from multiple sources. There’s an evolution in StarWars.com from wanting to be the [only] fans’ site to understanding we can connect to other channels that fans use to communicate with each other.
The official site has a new look – “the biggest re-haul since Star Wars’ official online presence began.” It appears the news portion of the site is now driven by the official blog.
Among the changes is a scaled back version of the Databank – now called the Encyclopedia – which now only seem to features characters from the movies and The Clone Wars. (Sigh.) Entries are very brief, and link directly to the Wookieepedia, however. That’s pretty inclusive for an official site.
On that note, there’s also a page for fan sites and organizations – we seem to have made the cut, which is nice.
And no doubt we’ve only scratched the surface tonight… I’ll be interested to see where this goes.
One thing I will say – this site design is very simple, and very basic. Since there is a tendency in Star Wars design to go completely over the top and throw everything that applies, I’m glad to see at least one aspect is keeping it simple. (Even if I still do wince at that Blu-ray cover art.)
In the latest in a string of big changes for StarWars.com, it was announced today that the Star Wars Shop will be closing down on July 18th.
I must admit I’m kind of shocked by this news – when the site’s advertising went away, I had assumed that the shop’s success was part of the reason.
The announcement says they are looking at “new ways to showcase Star Wars merchandise” and that information would be shared “in the coming months.”
Matt Martin, the site’s buyer, is staying with Lucasfilm, “shifting into something new,” he said today on Twitter.
For that matter, we’ve had no official word on Steve Sansweet’s replacement, though he’s been officially retired from Fan Relations for several months now. Could a reworking of StarWars.com coincide with that announcement?
Between these two tweets, I have to wonder… Could the closing of the forums and the loss of ads be related? Or is it just simply a coincidence? Just part of the site’s regular housecleaning?
I can’t recall exactly when StarWars.com started running ads (Before the forums? With the forums?) but I do remember when Hyperspace membership ceased to mean browsing ad-free. Not a lot of happy people that day…
Of course, you will still see some ‘ads’ on StarWars.com – but they’re all for Star Wars Shop, DVD/Blu-Rays and other things that directly benefit the company. (House ads, called them back in my print days.) Hopefully this is a good sign for Lucasfilm’s faith in the site – and/or Lucas Online’s ability to support itself.
I may miss the forums a little, but the ads? Nah.
LucasBooks editor Sue Rostoni bids farewell to the official forums (which are going away) but refrains from stating whether she’ll return in another venue.
I want to thank you all for welcoming me here. I’ve so appreciated our conversations and the fun we’ve had, and will really miss you all. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you and having this forum be a part of my work-life. I’ve appreciated having a direct connection between the books and the readers — something most editors never get to experience in this way. I’m grateful to you all for your openness, your humor, and for staying with the adventure.
As far as keeping in touch via other sites — the future is hazy; outlook unclear.
Fans don’t exactly lack for places to mingle with Expanded Universe VIPs – both continuity guru Leland Chee and the Star Wars folks at Del Rey have active Facebook pages – but the casual question-and-answer format that evolved in TOS’s Expanded Universe VIPs thread was a great resource. We’ll certainly miss Sue, and hope she finds a place to keep in touch with fans in the future.
Well, it’s official: The StarWars.com forums are not long for this world. They’ll go read-only at the end of the month, and disappear entirely come June.
I spent a lot of time on the forums in their early years as a moderator, but they had ceased to be a destination for me years ago, save for the VIP thread in the book forum where Sue Rostoni and others would often drop tidbits of information and answer fan questions.
Still, the forums in their day were a great community and launching (or re-launching) pad for many of us, and I am a little sad – if not particularly surprised – to see them go.
Hyperspace is going away next year.
Started right before Revenge of the Sith began principal photography as subscription section on StarWars.com, Hyperspace went through several incarnations. During the ROTS filming it offered fans extraordinary access to film’s set in Sydney with a live webcam, chats, and a set diary by Pablo Hidalgo. (It also had the nice side effect of effectively ending the cut-throat fansite spoiler-wars that marked the runup to The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.)
However, once Revenge of the Sith was released, Hyperspace had much less to offer subscribers (even the ‘ad-free’ promise eventually expired.) Features were added, like the blogs, but the content over the past few years has been irregular and often only of interest only to those who enjoy fairly obscure parts of the GFFA.
It even merged with the fan club and became part of a package deal with Star Wars Insider for a time. The Insider is no longer included, but the Official Fan Club still uses the ‘Hyperspace’ name. (If Hyperspace is truly being discontinued, will the fan club be getting another makeover in the coming year…?)
I can’t say I’m surprised at this – the ‘exclusive’ content has been sparse for years and StarWarsShop probably brings in far more revenue – but Hyperspace has been around for quite a while in internet times, and it’s entwined with some particularly interesting times in the fandom for me. But it’s clearly been on the backburner for quite a while, so might as well give up the ghost and move on. And hey, what the hell – I renewed my subscription one last time this evening for old time’s sake.