Star Wars: Essays Exploring a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Emily Strand, Amy H. Sturgis (Eds.)
by Amy Richau
In “Star Wars: Essays Exploring a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” Emily Strand and Amy H. Sturgis offer a compelling new take on the familiar and not-so-familiar corners of the Star Wars universe and media megatext. Organized in three parts–Exploring the Series and Films, Exploring the Ideas, and Exploring the Multimedia Storytelling–the collection interrogates some of the franchise's more eccentric, quirky, and even disturbing dimensions. Part One offers insightful critiques of such wide-ranging topics as the representation of Twi’leks as enslaved people, crafters/makers as a source of resistance, and the disturbing disposability of mothers. Part Two shifts the focus away from critiques of the transmedial text proper and turns to the cinematic influences that shape the franchise, the parallels between Star Wars and the Harry Potter franchises, and the immersive performance of cultural memory through Sabacc. Part Three, on the other hand, embraces the transformative shift from cinematic storytelling to a sprawling transmedia narrative encompassing comic books, novels, video games, and serialized television. Without exception, the essays in all three sections stand as superior examples of the thoughtful, carefully crafted work produced by acafans, or academics who are also fans of the texts they explore. A particular strength of this collection is the book's engagement with almost every dimension of the Star Wars franchise. The Original/Prequel/Sequel trilogies, the “Knights of the Old Republic” games, the various animated series, the episodic live-action Disney+ fare, and the Expanded Universe novelizations all receive the attention they deserve. To my knowledge, this is the first text to look at aspects of The Book of Boba Fett and Andor. Although written as an academic text, I have no doubt that casual fans of the Star Wars franchise will also find the book an enjoyable read. If I had one critique it would be this: give me more! I could see an entire Star Wars series of books focused on each of the three parts developed by Strand and Sturgis.
Derek R. Sweet, Ph.D. Professor of Communication Studies, Luther College
Author of 'Star Wars in the Public Square: The Clone Wars as Political Dialogue'
[...] If you’re a huge Star Wars fan who would like to read a slightly different non-fiction content about the universe you are passionate about, or an undergraduate student who would like to see more examples of how academic writing can be paired with your favorite extracurricular subject - this might be just the book for you.
[Extract from book review appearing at goodreads.com. Reviewer: Elizabeth Laskin]
Back when I was first exploring a galaxy far, far away as my own fandom as a kid, the Star Wars Databank became my obsession. I liked the stories and characters as entertainment. But I found myself hungry for facts, for a bigger-picture look at the franchise as a whole, how it came to be — I wanted to know everything I didn’t already know. And I’ve recently found a book that has given me that same sense of wonder and hunger again. I think you’ll like it, too. [...]
[Extract from book review appearing on 'Now This Is Lit'. September 29, 2023. Reviewer: Meg Dowell]
"Star Wars: Essays from a Galaxy Far, Far Away" is a multi-course festive feast, with some fantastic academics and authors round the table. Editors Emily Strand and Amy H. Sturgis present a collection of fascinating essays; the history of alien language creation in Star Wars, parallels between the mirror encounters of Rey and Harry Potter, the complex morality of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the impact that an art house short film called 2187 had on George Lucas, and much more.
[Extract appearing on 'Journals of the Whills' (Instagram.) Hosted by Jonny, host of the Star Wars Book Community podcast. https://www.instagram.com/p/C0P8nIqqdTm/ ]
'Star Wars' is a global phenomenon that in 2022 celebrated its 45th year of transmedia storytelling, and it has never been more successful than it is today. More 'Star Wars' works than ever are currently available or in simultaneous development, including live-action and animated series, novels, comics, and merchandise, as well as the feature films for which the franchise is best known. 'Star Wars' fandom is worldwide, time-tested, and growing; academic interest in the franchise, both inside and outside of the classroom, is high. This accessible and multidisciplinary anthology covers topics across the full history of the franchise.
With a range of essays by authors whose disciplines run from culture and religious studies to film, feminism, and philology, 'Star Wars: Essays Exploring a Galaxy Far, Far Away' speaks to academics in the field, students in the classroom, and anyone looking to broaden their understanding and deepen their appreciation for 'Star Wars'.
Emily Strand and Amy H. Sturgis
Part 1: Exploring the Series and Films
Chapter 1 The Evolution of Twi’leks in the Star Wars Universe
Chapter 2 Saving What We Love: The Hope and Resistance of Makers and Craftspeople in Disney’s Star Wars
Vikki C. Terrile
Chapter 3 The Dead Mom’s Peril: Star Wars and the Dispossession of the Mother Figure
Part 2: Exploring the Ideas
Chapter 4 21-87: Not Just a Number in Star Wars
Chapter 5 The Map in the Mirror: Reflections of Time, Self, and Salvation in Star Wars and Harry Potter
Kathryn N. McDaniel
Chapter 6 Sabacc Fans’ Playable Representations of Star Wars Cultural Memory
Part 3: Exploring the Multimedia Storytelling
Chapter 7 Choice and Consequence in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II—The Sith Lords
Chapter 8 This is the Way: The Mandalorian and the Evolving Serial Medium
Chapter 9 From “Utinni!” to “Aliit Ori’shya Tal’din”: The Glossopoeiac Journey of Star Wars
Chapter 10 Expanding Universes: Star Wars and the Cultivation of Canon
John Jackson Miller
Emily Strand earned a master’s degree in theology at the University of Dayton in 2004 and has taught religion at the collegiate level for nearly 20 years. She is author of two books on Catholicism and several essays on religious and literary themes in popular culture for peer-reviewed publications. Strand co-edited the scholarly anthologies 'Star Trek: Essays Exploring the Final Frontier' (Vernon Press) and 'Potterversity: Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter' (McFarland). She hosts the podcasts 'Potterversity' and 'Meet Father Rivers', writes the blog 'LiturgyandLife.com', and is a proud member of the 501st and Rebel Legions, international 'Star Wars' costuming associations.
Amy H. Sturgis earned her Ph.D. in history at Vanderbilt University, specializes in the intellectual history of speculative fiction, and teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University and Signum University. She has taught either undergraduate or graduate classes on 'Star Wars' every year since 2015. The author of four books and the editor/co-editor of ten others, Sturgis has published essays on 'Star Trek' in academic anthologies such as 'Star Trek and History' and 'Common Sense: Intelligence as Presented on Popular Television', and she contributed the Foreword to the 2020 scholarly anthology 'The Transmedia Franchise of Star Wars TV'. Sturgis has been interviewed as a genre expert in a variety of programs and publications such as NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” 'The Huffington Post', and 'LIFE Magazine'. Sturgis also contributes the "Looking Back on Genre History" segment to the Hugo Award-winning podcast 'StarShipSofa'.
Star Wars, George Lucas, film, cinema, television, animation, franchise, storytelling