NYCC 2015: Star Wars: A Galaxy of Fandom Panel

Joey Sack ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Official Description: The new era of Star Wars is here! Join Special Guests from the worlds of games, books, comics and entertainment as they share memories of seeing Star Wars for the first time; discuss how the sprawling space epic shaped their lives; and more. Geek out over your favorite parts of that galaxy far, far away with Superfans from Wookieepedia and get hyped for The Force Awakens and other exciting new chapters in the Star Wars saga!
Comic Con and Star Wars go together like Macaroni and Cheese, and nowhere is was this more apparent than the entertaining “Star Wars: A Galaxy of Fandom” Panel, presented by EA in conjunction with Wikia. The panel consisted of Heather Antos, an assistant editor at Marvel currently working with the new line of Star Wars comics, Mike Delaney, an administrator on Wookieepedia, Terry Dodson, a comic book artist currently doing work on Star Wars: Princess Leia and other titles, Katie Cook, a comic book writer who writes for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic series and her own webcomic entitled Gronk, and Alexander Freed, a writer on various Star Wars: The Old Republic graphic novels.
The panel mostly talked about the fandom of Star Wars, and how each of the panelists got exposed to it for the first time. Heather Antos recalls that when she was in third grade, her class went on a field trip to the movies to see The Phantom Menace. She didn’t go back to school that day, as she stayed in the theater to watch the movie over and over again; she got in trouble, but from then on, she was hooked. Katie Cook remembered when she was younger and her brother showed her the Mel Brooks comedy Spaceballs, which she thought was Star Wars for quite some time; when she finally did see Star Wars, she understood why she was so confused by Spaceballs. But one of the more interesting Star Wars experiences was that of Alexander Freed, who, though he couldn’t remember his first encounter with the saga, could vividly remember coming home from school when he was six or seven, popping in one of the movies, and “serializing them for [himself],” watching each movie for 20 minutes or so until he had gone through them all.
One of the high points of the panel were various Fantasy Faceoffs between different Star Wars characters, not for only for the fun hypotheticals, but also for allowing people in the audience to voice their own opinions; for example, when Darth Vader was pitted against Kylo Ren (from The Force Awakens), the mediator asked the audience: “Darth Vader?” *Applause* “Kylo Ren?” *Much lighter applause, followed by* “You suck!” coming from the audience, which elicited laughter and more applause.
The Q&A session did not get into much actual Star Wars news, but did touch upon the question of the Expanded Universe, at least in terms of the panelists’ opinions. When asked what elements of the Expanded Universe they would want to see in the new movies, Heather Antos said that she would love to see Revan (from Knights of the Old Republic) brought back in some way; on the flipside of that, Mike Delaney doesn’t want any elements of the now-non-canon stories leaking into this “reboot” of the saga. The panelists also shared their feelings about when Disney purchased Lucasfilm back in 2013. Heather Antos remembered how nervous she was when Disney bought Marvel in 2009, but then The Avengers came out and changed everything. Katie Cook had a simple initial reaction: “I’m getting a Star Wars theme park.” Mike Delaney knew he would have to “rework elements” on Wookieepedia; and Alexander Freed, having recently finished work on The Old Republic mostly felt relief, since he wouldn’t have to deal with all the changes.
One of the things the panelists touched on was the drive that keeps Star Wars a part of their everyday lives; all of them spoke about having a passion for the saga and working with it. Heather Antos spoke about how Star Wars was the catalyst through which she met many of her closest friends. Katie Cook advised attendees to “start a Twitter (your mom will follow you out of pity), say you like Star Wars and see what happens.” Terry Dodson noted “if you’re passionate about Star Wars, examine that passion … find out what it is about Star Wars that really excites you … see if you can replicate that in your own original work.”
For more New York Comic Con 2015 coverage, keep your eye on Emertainment Monthly, and may the Force be with you, always.
 

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