The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars

The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars

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Overview

The trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens made a strong impression on fans. Many were excited by what they saw as a return to the spirit of George Lucas's 1977 creation. Others--including several white supremacy groups--were upset and offended by key differences, most notably the shift away from a blond, blue-eyed, male protagonist. When the film was finally released, reactions similarly seemed to hinge on whether or not The Force Awakens renewed the ""mythic"" aspects of the original trilogy in ways that fans approved of. The Myth Awakens examines the religious implications of this phenomenon, considering the ways in which myth can function to reinforce ""traditional"" social and political values. In their analyses the authors of this book reflect on fan responses in relation to various elements of (and changes to) the Star Wars canon--including toys, video games, and novels, as well as several of the films. They do so using a variety of critical tools, drawing from studies of gender, race, psychology, politics, authority, music, ritual, and memory.

""Ken Derry's introduction sets the tone for this book. He argues that we ought to take study of popular culture, in this case the Star Wars saga, seriously, because it opens up areas of discussion and interest that are ignored by theology and film. At the same time that we take popular culture seriously, Derry also suggests we take ourselves less seriously. The serious study of religion, myth, and film can actually be fun. You will have fun reading the essays in this book.""
--William L. Blizek, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Founding Editor, Journal of Religion & Film

""'Crazy thing is . . . it's true. The Force. The Jedi . . . All of it . . . It's all true."" So says Han Solo in The Force Awakens. This excellent collection helps us to better understand the Star Wars universe, but also gives us insight into the study of religion in our own universe.""
--Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

Ken Derry is Associate Professor of Religion, Teaching Stream, at the University of Toronto. His published essays have considered the relationship between religion and violence in a range of written and visual creative works, including John Woo's The Killer, contemporary Indigenous literature, The Wizard of Oz, and the Netflix series Luke Cage. He is very fond of Patton Oswalt's routine about the awfulness of the Star Wars prequels.

John C. Lyden is Liberal Arts Core Director and Professor of Liberal Arts at Grand View University. He is the author of Film as Religion (2003) and editor of the Routledge Companion to Religion and Film (2009). He saw the original Star Wars film so many times when it first came out that he memorized most of the dialogue, and can still plausibly impersonate most of the voices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532619731
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 09/13/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)

About the Author

Ken Derry is Associate Professor of Religion, Teaching Stream, at the University of Toronto. His published essays have considered the relationship between religion and violence in a range of written and visual creative works, including John Woo's The Killer, contemporary Indigenous literature, The Wizard of Oz, and the Netflix series Luke Cage. He is very fond of Patton Oswalt's routine about the awfulness of the Star Wars prequels. John C. Lyden is Liberal Arts Core Director and Professor of Liberal Arts at Grand View University. He is the author of Film as Religion (2003) and editor of the Routledge Companion to Religion and Film (2009). He saw the original Star Wars film so many times when it first came out that he memorized most of the dialogue, and can still plausibly impersonate most of the voices.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Contributors xi

List of illustrations xv

Preface: The Book Awakens Ken Derry xvii

Introduction: Being Sith Lord Sexypants Ken Derry 1

Chapter 1 The More Things Change: Historical Political Context and The Force Awakens John C. Lyden 23

Chapter 2 The Brightest Shadow: From Fighting Darkness to Seeking It Lindsay Macumber 33

Chapter 3 Leia "the Hutt Slayer" and Rey "the next generation badass boss bitch": Heroism, Gender, and Fan Appreciation Chris Klassen 47

Chapter 4 I've Heard This Somewhere Before: The Myth-Making Implications of Han and Leia's Theme Kutter Callaway 61

Chapter 5 The Racism Awakens Daniel White Hodge Joseph Boston 74

Chapter 6 Do, or Do Not; There is no Try; Race, Rhetoric, and Diversity in the Star Wars Universe Joshua Call 92

Chapter 7 Ritual, Repetition, and the Responsibility of Relaying the Myth Justin Mullis 106

Chapter 8 Memory, History, and Forgetting in Star Wars Fandom Syed Adnan Hussain 133

Chapter 9 The Ion Canon Will Fire Several Shots to Make Sure Any Enemy Ships Will be Out of Your Flight Path; Canonization, Tribal Theologians, and Imaginary World Budding Kenneth MacKendrick 147

Subject Index 163

Author Index 169

Film and Television Index 171

Star Wars Media Index 173

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