Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire was first released in hardcover on May 1, 1991. It was the first Star Wars novel to be released since L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka dropped in November 1983, and the first Star Wars novel to actually take place after Return of the Jedi. It was a lot of firsts, actually.Continue reading “Heir to the Empire is 30 years old”
I don’t think this will come of any surprise to anyone who’s actually been following this blog recently, but it’s time to make something official: I’m done with regular blogging.
Club Jade itself, as a group and a community to discuss Star Wars, began in 1995. I wasn’t a part of that – I joined a little bit later – but I did eventually end up taking over the website, sometime in 1997. In 2004, just a little under a year before Revenge of the Sith – the second “final” Star Wars – was released, I turned the site into this blog. Our focus wasn’t really the movies back then, but the Expanded Universe, specifically the stuff set after Return of the Jedi that is now the most Legends of Legends. The aim has changed quite a bit over these 15 years, as Star Wars itself has changed. But it’s begun to be too much, and I always knew I was too much of a taskmaster to pass things on.
I will never not be grateful to the sequel trilogy, for not only revitalizing the fandom, but for giving me these five years of… Well, overtime. Before the Disney sale, I was foundering with the franchise. The prequel era never did it for me in any format, the post-ROTJ books weren’t getting any better, and I’d finally lost faith that they ever could. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi returned my faith in the franchise, and even if The Rise of Skywalker is a bit of a let-down, well. We can’t say we’ve never been here before. Sooner or later, Star Wars disappoints us all.
I made the decision to quit months ago – there are a few people who’ve known this was going to happen since April’s Celebration Chicago – so please don’t go on about how the movie or toxic fandom drove me off. I’ve been in internet fandom through six movies – nine if you want to count the Special Editions – and no reaction this fandom has to anything will ever truly shock me at this point. It’s always been “toxic,” in one way or another, in the corners and margins if nothing else. Hell, I’ve lit plenty of little fires of my own over the years, both intentionally and unintentionally. Nature of the beast.
I’ll still follow these things, and be “in fandom” – I’m not sure I know how not to – but I need a break from the obligation to write about Star Wars, to follow every little (and not so little) drip and drab of news. I don’t just need a hiatus, because even if I couched it in those terms it would be a lie. As I’ve pulled back on things over the past year or two – so many things – I’ve realized that it’s time. I want to be done. I’m not saying I’ll never do a blog post here again – who knows, maybe someone will find more bathroom graffiti! – but I need that to be an option.
And, frankly, we know so little about the future of the franchise right now, and what we do know… None of it really thrills me. None of it makes me want to keep doing this for another year, let alone three. And there’s so much of it! Even without movies, we have at least four seasons of TV coming up and who knows how many books.
The funny thing is, this was always an old-school kind of blog – even back in 2004. I found things, I linked things. I expect you to follow the links. And social media has taken the place of that sort of thing. You don’t need me – not on a regular basis, anyway.
My advice, if anyone even wants that, is to find what you love about fandom, and find the people who love it like you do. I was lucky enough to find my people in Club Jade early on, and they’re the ones that gave me this foundation to build on. Thanks to them, and those of you who’ve kept reading.
May the Force be with you. – Dunc
The New York Times has a feature on female Star Wars fans today, including several familiar names, like Johnamarie Macias of The Wookiee Gunner, Tricia Barr of the podcast Fangirls Going Rogue and Lauren Kell of the Women of Star Wars Tumblr.
It’s all fairly basic info to anyone who’s been hanging around fandom recently – even if you haven’t been around long enough to be classified as a relic. But at the end of the day, what’s old hat to us is still in the New York Times today. And isn’t that something?
And yeah, I probably do need to update that FAQ page. Whoops.
It’s been almost 21 years of Club Jade, but all things must pass. In accordance with Star Wars canon, Club Jade is being renamed after a more worthy ginger. Behold Club Hux!
With The Force Awakens out now, and Rogue One on the horizon for the end of the year, this seems like a perfect year to celebrate Star Wars every day, and I’ve taken it to the extreme! I hope to wear a different Star Wars-themed clothing item for every day in 2016, and made my goal into a Force for good by turning this project into a charity fundraiser. “Wear Star Wars Every Day” kicked off on January 1, and I’m raising funds for Collateral Repair Project, a grassroots non-profit that provides emergency aid, education, and community support for urban refugees in Amman, Jordan.
If you would like to support this effort, you can make a per-day pledge here. Even pledging 10 cents or 25 cents per day can add up to make a real difference. You can also make a flat donation on the Wear Star Wars Every Day GoFundMe page. After only a few days, we’ve raised $675 in flat donations, and have a total per-day pledge rate of $3.50 per day. You can also help extend my streak by lending or donating Star Wars apparel for me to wear. Get tons more info on the project and what your donations can do for refugees at our Wear Star Wars Every Day resource page and watch the daily updates on the Wear Star Wars Every Day Facebook page or on Twitter with the #WearStarWarsEveryDay tag.
There won’t be a Club Jade hit report this year, partially because I never got around to it last year, but mostly because I may have forgotten to add Google Analytics back when I switched templates after our crazy database issues back in… March? It must have been March. It borked a lot of stuff, but we didn’t lose anything too important. In any case, Jetpack generates one for us, so why should I do math?
It was a big year for feminism and diversity here in the Star Wars blogosphere, at least among those of us who write on it. Witness our top ten posts of the year:
- Why the Wookieepedia article on breasts is a big deal. Thanks in no small part to the rollicking comment section, this post was viewed almost three times as much as the next one. But has anything changed at the Wook? The page remains, and no one is surprised, given the level of cluelessness exhibited by the ones who bothered to join us. (Though, for the record: Breasts are no longer canon.)
- Big Moon Rising: Why I don’t mind if the Star Wars sequels mean the end of the Expanded Universe. This went up not that long before the official announcement that the existing Expanded Universe was becoming ‘Legends,’ and it’s pretty much my definitive word on the matter. The actual announcement also placed high, as did an embryonic version I wrote just after the Disney sale, but I suspect that it’s the comment section that put this one over the edge.
- On Star Wars fandom, feminism, diversity and anger. Still no regrets, for the record, though I do kind of want to rewrite that middle section. (I hate doing Feminism 101.) Unfortunately some are still unable to recognize just how measured the post-casting response was, but some people just can’t be helped, I suppose.
- Episode VII cast confirmed: Hamill, Ford, Fisher joined by Boyega, Driver, Isaac, Serkis and more. Actual news makes an appearance!
- Analysis: Thoughts on the Episode VII cast. This one went up a little later than I would have liked, because I wrote #10 first, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed it too much. But if there’s anything on this list I’m wincing at, it’s this.
- The Force Awakens character names revealed!. A nice showing for our last bout of big news, and man do you folks love looking at pictures.
- GMA: The Force Awakens teaser voiceover is indeed Andy Serkis, and about that final lightsaber sound… I don’t know why so many people were so insistent that the trailer voiceover was (my-personal-UGH-of-the-year) Benedict Cumberbatch, and I don’t know why this post on a beyond weak segment of a vapid morning show took off, but hey.
- Yub yub, Emperor: Author Aaron Allston has passed away. This fucking sucked.
- JJ Abrams: “I wish people would stop leaking photos from Episode VII and making ridiculous claims… I wish we’d have had more like this from Abrams, but there’s no doubt this was beautifully played.
- Where are the rest of the women in Episode VII? Just “be patient!” These things need to be said, and yes, we were very glad to hear about more women being added. It’s not about proving anyone wrong, it’s about sitting up and saying that same old same old is not okay, whether it’s movie roles or toys. If there’s any theme for this year, it’s that.
Older posts that still have a lot of juice are the trilogy on Blu-ray from last year (constantly driven by people searching for original versions… Tough luck, people,) Mara’s catsuit and Jedi pick-up lines.
Here are a few other random stats for you:
- Biggest statement: In the wake of the trailer, John Boyega addressed some of the racist reaction with a simple “get used to it.” Boyega has since either deleted or taken his Instagram private, but we still have his message on Tumblr, where it was one of our biggest posts of the year.
- Biggest Episode VII rumor: The pair of ridiculous wishmaking that had Mara Jade to make her new canon debut in Rebels and/or as a disguised actor on The Force Awakens set. We may be Disney now, but that doesn’t mean that wishing-upon-a-star is an actual thing. It’s never shocking for Mara stuff to play high here, though.
- Most popular tweet roundup: #StarWars Tweets Special Edition: #TheForceAwakens teaser trailer (Part 1.)
- Biggest Reddit AMA: Harrison Ford doesn’t know and doesn’t care who shot first.
Any questions? I don’t have quite as many options to look up stuff with WordPress stats as I did on Google, but I may be able to wring some stuff out.
Our own @SWStylebook has been featured on the Daily Dot! And that’s not the only thing brewing for that account… Stay tuned.
Well, the blog is ten years old todayish. At least, the oldest post that’s still up is dated June 21, 2004, so that’s going to have to be good enough.
It’s not a good post, but hey. Not much that’s in June 2004 is all that great, because I’ve learned a thing or two over those ten years. Like how to write proper headlines! And posts with more than two sentences in them! (I took to Twitter so well because ‘quip’ is my most natural length, I think.)
I should note that Club Jade itself, which formed off RASS in 1995, will be celebrating our 20th anniversary next year. And we’ve had a website almost that long – I know I remember discovering it before I was a part of the group, in 1996. (Back when our fanfic was the hot thing.)
One of our founders, JeffP, handed the regular duties of running the site off to me about 1998, not long after I shut down my first site. Sometime around 2002 or 2003 I started thinking about adding a blog to it.
It was basically meant to be a quick way to keep other Jaders up to date. It ended up… This. I never thought it would get much traction beyond a handful of people, any more than I thought we’d be seeing more movies after 2005. We may not be the biggest fan site, we will almost certainly never have a podcast, we might not even survive the sequel trilogy, as so many ’90s fansites broke against the bows of the prequels. But for now, it’s still fun for me. I love doing the breaking news, as relentless as the rumor mill may be at times. I love the chaos and uncertainty of this era so far.
So, I want to say thanks to Club Jade, for letting me run this thing under our name, and all our readers for being generally awesome, and the other sites that link us and basically blah blah sincerity cakes.
And to wrap things up, here’s a look at a few older versions of the site, courtesy the Wayback Machine.
Last year we put Star Wars in the Disney Vault, in 2012 we shared some Celebration VI programming, 2011 brought Ewok recipes, 2010 was the Jar Jar mysteries and in 2009 we debuted a Laurel K. Hamilton Star Wars book.
This year? We got nothing.
After doing this for all these years, I can’t help but feel like we’ve come to the end of the line with April Fools’ Day, at least for the moment. It’s not that I hate the pranks, it’s just that in the current situation of Star Wars and fandom, with this lull of news and rampant uncertainty, when we get ridiculous rumors on the regular, it would be more cruel than ever to come up with something fake regarding the Expanded Universe or Episode VII.
The best pranks are just a tiny bit believable (though I’m still shocked that anyone took that LKH one seriously) and fandom is in such a flux state right now that pretty much anything we came up with is likely to be believed – I’ve seen people do it with our previous pranks, no matter how ridiculously obvious they may be.
And yeah, there’s still plenty we could do, things in the vein of the Ewok recipes, other fandoms, rededicate ourselves as Club Fett etc. – but the sad truth is this has been kind of a shitty year thus far, and we’re just not feeling up to it.
I can’t say we’ll never do an April Fools prank again – the way these things go, I’ll have a great idea for one next week – but this year? No foolin’. Sorry.
I’ll be back later with a roundup from the rest of the fandom, but so far things seem pretty restrained. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.
Our Tumblr has passed 1000 followers! Okay, it’s not breaking news, and that isn’t even considered a particularly big following for Tumblr, but it’s a milestone nonetheless. (Today’s theme: Obi-Wan and Anakin. Yesterday’s was just Obi-Wan.)