January 10, 2014

About that Darth Maul Clone Wars comic and Star Wars fandom

Star Wars fans are passionate, wonderful, and truly some of the best people I know. But - big but - more than a few of us are excitable. Excitable cranked up to infinity and beyond. Fans are hungry for any Star Wars news relating to The Clone Wars, the upcoming movies, the upgrade of Disneyland's Tomorrowland, any of it. When a piece hits the news feeds, blogs rush to cover it and fans read the articles enthusiastically. So much so that they skim and either miss information right in front of them, misread it, read too much into it, and/or don't question it. Wording in the articles has lead to increased confusion on more than one occasion.

The confusion builds and intensifies until Twitter is lighting up and fans are tweet-ventilating. I've been guilty, but I'm trying to get better. When news or "news" related to Star Wars comes across my screen, I read it once, take a deep breath, and read it again before I post anything. Because man, if I received any amount of coinage every time a Star Wars fan got his/er knickers in a twist over nothing, I would be rich enough to buy the franchise from Disney and make Admiral Thrawn G-level canon.

In the past week,two topics have reminded me about just how wound up everyone is: the upcoming Clone Wars Darth Maul comic and Lucasfilm's Story Group.

On January 7th, Newsarama released some exclusive news that a Darth Maul arc initially intended for The Clone Wars is now headed to the pages of comics published by Dark Horse. Reponses showed people flipping out about two things: 1. That this was it for The Clone Wars and we weren't getting any of the other arcs or bonus content - this is not mentioned anywhere in the article or even implied. 2. That the Maul arc was intended to be the series finale for The Clone Wars - that one was confusing because Dark Horse told N'rama this even though it was actually not true. Lucasfilm employees Pablo Hidalgo and Jen Heddle corrected this on Twitter the day the article was posted and Dave Filoni released a statement today on his FB page that clarified everything:
You may have seen the recent Clone Wars / Dark Horse Comics news, and I thought I would chime in and clarify things a bit. I am very excited about our collaboration with Dark Horse and this opportunity to tell an unfinished story developed for the TV series.
Before we get into the details about the Maul comic, I’d like to make clear that this storyline does not represent The Clone Wars series finale. I’ve seen some confusion about that online and want to set the record straight. There are additional Clone Wars episodes on the way and one arc in particular marks the series finale in my mind. We’ll have fun discussing that in the not too distant future.
Point two I get. The article was worded in such a way that it did read as though the Maul story was slated to be the end of The Clone Wars series had it remained on television. Point one though? That's just people getting too jumpy and pulling information from between the lines, and then they went to social media. That leads to crowds getting rowdy to the point that you need a fake thermal detonator to calm everyone down.

Look, we all make mistakes. We all assume incorrectly. We all have knee-jerk reactions. We includes me. However, if we all started breathing and looking at the facts we could become part of the calming group instead of the panicking group. Remember that if you're not sure about a particular point, it's okay to ask questions on social media instead of stating the bits you're making assumptions about as facts.

And as far as the Story Group, I've been watching the story float around from site to site all week and watching people act as if it's fresh information. Bleeding Cool initially posted some recent  tweets from Leland Chee as talking points to think about for its readers. News sites immediately went the doom and gloom "Disney is ruining Expanded Universe canon" route and freaked people out. I write for some sites like that, I know the articles get hits, but if we took our time to get it right like Bonnie Burton over at CNET's Crave, everyone would know this isn't anything novel. From her post:
While this may sound like startling news to bloggers and those journalists keeping a Probot-esque lookout on every move made by Lucasfilm, most hard-core fans know this is old hat.
The truth is, the goals of Lucasfilm's Story Group are nothing new. In fact, the Story Group's own members (Chee and Hidalgo) gave presentations at last year's Star Wars Celebration Europe, as well as interviews on the fan-run podcast Forcecast, which can be heard here starting around 1:05:13.
She references informative quotes from the podcast released in early October that offers much more information than the few tweets that spurred the post-tornado. It might be news to some folks, but Story Group isn't some brand-new-last-week directive from Disney like some sites are treating it.

Being passionate about Star Wars is wonderful. Just approach news cautiously.
In short, keep calm(ish) and love Star Wars.


  1. It's been really funny to see people freak out about the Story Group. That's how I know who is a ForceCast listener and who isn't! :)

    1. Right?! I was really confused about why everyone got so excited. But, it's what fans do - some of them, anyway.

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