Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2019 Claire A Pukszta
This paper unpacks the franchise system and the often-tumultuous relationship between Producers and Consumers, especially around the release of new films by the Producers. Star Wars represents far more than just a corporate product. There is a thriving ecosystem around pieces that have touched fans lives personally.
The reaction of fans to new media texts in existing franchises is in constant flux. Tumultuous emotions of betrayal come in waves from fans immediately following the release of new content. Specifically focusing on reception to prequel films, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), reveals how both generational differences and technology affect fan interaction and reaction across iterations of the franchise.
Fans attempt to remediate the differences in cannon and their own interpretations of the franchise through fan creation. Fans have historically been early embracers of new technologies and have used increasingly available editing software and cameras to express their passion for the franchise. A digital world has created ever expanding platforms of interactivity in which Producers/Consumers can reach one another. The spaces in which these interactions occur have evolved from personal fan websites to social media sites. The amount of online information available to consumers, from reviews to fan content, has diminished the power of official franchise content. The release of Solo revealed a dangerous level of apathy from consumers. As opposed to the fervor surrounding powerful media texts at the time of The Phantom Menace, the diversified media landscape has undoubtedly affected Star Wars.
Pukszta, Claire A., "Star Wars and Franchising: Emotional Ownership and Tensions in the Digital Age" (2019). Scripps Senior Theses. 1257.