Tag Archives: Star Wars

Inhabiting Your Characters – Cosplay

Hey everyone!

If you keep up with my fiancee’s blog, you’ll have read that we recently attended Anomaly Con, a Steampunk convention in the Denver, CO area.  And as part of our time there, we were in costume!

Tinker and L3GEND. Photo by Death’s House Productions. Makeup by Beck Stewart.

Specifically, on Saturday Beck painted us up to be like robots!  In fact, if you’ve never heard of them before, we were specifically ‘fan bots’ from the Steam Powered Giraffe music group and their fictional universe.

And I’ll say this…it was a unique experience for me, for many reasons.  A couple of weeks before, Beck did a test run of my bot’s makeup on me, and it was a surreal experience when the makeup was done and I looked in the mirror.

I was someone else.

That’s how it felt.  Like, for a moment, I seriously felt like I was the fictional character we had made up together, named L3GEND.  And then interviews with characters from sci-fi and fantasy movies started playing through my head, about how they felt the same when they first got into the full makeup and costume from their characters.

In fact, we just went to the Denver Art Museum’s Star Wars Costumes exhibit, which is part of why I’m a day late on this weekend’s post.  While waiting in line, they showed videos about the costumes, including Natalie Portman talking about how she felt donning Padme Amidala’s costumes, and it sounded like she had a similar experience.

And it got me to thinking something for writers…

Inhabiting Your Characters in Cosplay

I’ve toyed with the idea in the past, and Wayne Adams has even mentioned trying to find cosplayers to portray my characters at conventions when I have a booth.

Photo by PixieGoddess Cosplay and Art. Wig styled by Beck Stewart.

But what if I worked on creating costumes for some of my characters, and actually wore them?  Would this allow me to ‘get into their heads’ so to speak?  More than I already am, any way?

In and of itself, that might not be enough reason to, but then there are the reasons of being ‘in character’ at cons when I have tables, not to mention, if the costume is impressive enough, it might garner more interest in the novels.

But I want to go back to the original point: inhabiting my characters.

Maybe doing so would give me ideas about different directions I could take their characters.  Maybe even totally change the story direction, as has happened more than once already.

I can’t do this for all of my characters, but maybe the primary protagonists.  Cardin Kataar being the most immediate character I’m thinking.  But which costume?  His tattered rags and worn out, mismatched armor from The Sword of Dragons?  Or his newer armor from Burning Skies?

Cover by Christian Michael

To be honest, that matters a little less than the actual prop itself, the Sword of Dragons…how in the world could I construct such a large weapon?  Especially to make it acceptable to take to places like conventions, where they have very strict rules on what they will allow for prop weapons?

And then the armor itself…thanks to an artist I hired last year to start doing character sketches, I actually have a sketch of Cardin Kataar I could go off of for the armor.  Could I learn to make the leather pieces myself?

It’s an exciting idea, but also a time-consuming one.  I am intrigued enough at the idea that I might at least do some preliminary research into it.

What do you all think?  An intriguing idea?  Any authors out there ever do this before?

Thanks for reading! :)
-Jon Wasik

2nd Editions – Should Stories Be Changed?

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned in the past couple of posts, due to delays and the desire to re-brand/re-cover the Sword of Dragons novels, I’m planning on releasing what would essentially be a 2nd edition of the first two books in the series.

While talking about this plan with some friends, one of them made a suggestion that I could add in new parts, new sections, new characters to tie in later novels, etc.

I DO intend to do a complete read-through for proofreading and to ensure sentence structure flows (and to make sure there are no glaring errors I missed during all of the other edits.)  However, I hadn’t originally planned to make any story changes.  And I still don’t.  But the suggestion made me start looking at other stories that have done so…

The Hobbit – Gollum Was Not Nasty

Image Source – Wikipedia

What if I told you that in the original version of The Hobbit novel, when Bilbo and Gollum had their little game, Bilbo won and Gollum willingly gave over the ring?  Not only that, but they parted on relatively friendly terms.

“NO WAY!”

It sounds ridiculous, given what we know about that magical ring and Gollum.  But it’s true!  Back when Tolkein first released the novel, that’s how the scene played out.  However, when Tolkein was encouraged to write a sequel and he started developing Lord of the Rings, he changed the nature of the ring, and by extension, changed how it affected Gollum.

So prior to the release of Lord of the Rings, Tolkein reworked parts of The Hobbit to be in line with Lord of the Rings, and his publisher released it as a 2nd edition.

Honestly I have no idea how well this ‘revised’ version of the story was received by hardcore fans, and I’m very curious.  And I can only imagine how valuable the 1st edition of The Hobbit is now.  Anyone who has a copy of it today is beyond lucky!

But did people react to that change back then the way so many have reacted to a particularly popular Sci-Fi today?…

Star Wars Special Editions and Prequels

Image Source – https://theexportedfilm.com

If you talked to someone who saw the original Star Wars trilogy before 1997, there is a good chance that something would become very evident: they hate the Special Editions, and they hate the prequels.  This is not universal, because I for on enjoy the Special Editions (except for one addition in the Blu-ray release of Return of the Jedi…), and I enjoy Episode’s 1 and 3 (but 2 is by far the worst Star Wars ever made…)

A quick search on the internet, and you’ll find that not only do thousands of people despise these, but those who once looked to George Lucas as a great creator now look to him as a reviled destroyer of their beloved Sci-Fi.

Image Source – http://www.techtimes.com

Why?  Because of everything he changed in the Special Editions, and because of how much of the prequels went against what they knew to be the established back story.  There are other reasons, of course, but I’ve noticed that this is the prevailing feeling.  So much so that many people, if you ask them what they think about the prequels, will say, “What prequels?  There are only 3 Star Wars movies.”

Image Source – http://www.geeksversusnerds.com

The most vehement response, oddly enough, was to one simple scene in Episode 4…when Han faces the bounty hunter Greedo.  In the original version of the movie, Han blasted Greedo without Greedo ever seeing it coming.  But wanting to appeal more to children and not to ‘sully’ Han, Lucas changed it, with a bit of ‘movie magic,’ so that Greedo shot first, and Han fired back only to defend himself (rather than cold-blooded murder.)

A great movement began, and bumper stickers started showing up, “Han Shot First.”  To which Lucas replied, “Greedo Shot First.”

Should Stories Be Changed?

All of this brings up the question: can and should an author change their story in a 2nd edition if they have ideas to do so?  To clean up scenes or change the history of a character?

This is a question I seriously have to ask myself when I begin to go through the Sword of Dragons books to revise them.  Should I only clean up typoes and sentence structure, or should I actually add/change things to flow better with future stories?  Should characters from The Orc War Campaigns make brief cameos?  Would those who read the original versions of my novels hate and revile me for doing so?

What do you all think, dear readers?  Is it a sin to change a story after it’s been released to the public?  Today, almost everyone accepts the 2nd edition of The Hobbit as canon, I’ve never heard anyone complain about the changes Tolkein made to it.  But is that because it was published in the 1930’s, so few who read that original edition are still around to complain about the difference?  If so, will that eventually happen with Star Wars?  In 50 years, will the Special Editions and Prequels be accepted as canon and no one will complain except a few old-timers who ‘remembered how it was’?

Thanks for reading!  And if you’re at Anomaly Con this weekend, look for us!  :D

-Jon Wasik

The Complexities of Writing a Series – Snowball Effect

Hi everyone!

While the Sword of Dragons is not the first series I have ever written, it is by far the biggest, and I’m only a few books into it!  And the further I go, the more I’m beginning to realize the daunting task ahead of me.

Image Source - https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442197257133712811/
Image Source – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442197257133712811/

Whether or not anyone else has used it before, I call it the snowball effect.  With each and every new story, there’s more material built up, and therefore more material I have to be intimately familiar with to ensure continuity.  (Because I hate continuity errors…as much as I love Star Trek, it was pretty bad about that in later series.)

Now with three books (2 published, plus the Orc War Campaigns which is as big as a novel), working on book 3 has required me to go back often and reference notes, thoughts, and actual pages from previous stories to ensure I’m getting all of the characters, locations, and plots straight.

Image Source - https://magisterscorner.wordpress.com/tag/mass-effect/
Image Source – https://magisterscorner.wordpress.com/tag/mass-effect/

I’m beginning to understand why the creators of the Mass Effect series did not want to take the story beyond the 3rd game.  For me it’s just one continual story I have to keep track.  For Mass Effect, in each game, the player gets to make a multitude of decisions that affect not only the outcome of the current game, but the games to follow.  Keeping track of and including all possibilities into each game must have been crazy difficult!!  And as far as I could tell from playing the trilogy, they did a great job!

I’m curious to see what they do with the new game, Andromeda…how much of player decisions can show through into Andromeda?  Or can players even load in their Mass Effect 3 play through to affect it?  We’ll find out soon enough :)

Star Trek Dragon – My First Series

stdragonThe first time I wrote a continual story was my fan fiction, Star Trek Dragon.  Spread across 7 season, 66 episodes of which were a part of the main seasonal run, and 4 more that weren’t part of the episode numbering, it was a pretty big story.  I never brought them all together to get a word count, but I can imagine it’s pretty massive.

There were many instances, especially in season’s 6 and 7, where I took things I had written in the earlier seasons and made them vital to where the story and characters went.  It was fun!

Started while I was at the tail end of Jr. High and finished in College, it wasn’t the most popular fan fiction out there, but it was well received by those who did read it, and I did have a small fan following near the end.

The Sword of Dragons – So Much More Complicated

Cover by Christian Michael
Cover by Christian Michael

So knowing that I successfully wrote 7 seasons and only created a couple of plot holes and inconsistencies, why does The Sword of Dragons feel so much more difficult?

When thinking about this question this morning, the answer seemed rather obvious: in Star Trek Dragon, I had copious amounts of references to look back on, plus I knew the Star Trek universe better than any other.  It was pre-established. And fans are really good at documenting what has happened in it.

With the Sword of Dragons, it’s an entirely made up Universe, one which I’ve built from the ground up and continue to build.  There’s no fan wiki out there (if only I had the time to build one…)  And unfortunately, I don’t have a team of editors helping me with continuity.  It’s just little ‘ol me taking on an entire Universe…

I also wonder how much of the difficulty writing book 3 is stemming from my flare-up of ADHD, because it seems like it’s been harder than it should be.  In any case, I’ll continue to work my hardest to keep it all straight, and will depend on my awesome beta readers (Nick, Natalie, you both rock!) to help keep me on the straight and narrow :)

Final Thought – The Star Wars EU

Image Source - http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/02/we/
Image Source – http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/02/we/

I was just about to finish this blog when I realized something: I think I understand now why Disney decided to split apart the Star Wars Expanded Universe and the Cinematic Universe.  There are literally hundreds of Star Wars EU novels out there: keeping track of everything and getting the continuity right, all while trying to come up with an original story for the new movies, is beyond daunting…

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Is Romance in Fiction Always Necessary?

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite movies!!
One of my favorite movies!!

Think about some of your favorite movies, TV shows, or novels, and tell me…is there a romantic plot or subplot to it?  The chances are good that the answer is yes.  Why?

Because just about every single fiction story out there has romance in it.  No seriously, think about it.  Think about every movie you know, ever TV show you’ve watched, every novel you’ve read, and how many of them have no romance in them what so ever?  I’m willing to bet it’s less than 10% (and that number is probably being generous.)

TreasurePlanetVHSSo I guess the question is…is this bad?  I started thinking about this after watching Treasure Planet with my girlfriend recently (psst: check out her author’s blog here!), and she commented how there had once been a plan to continue the story as a cartoon series, but she was annoyed that the series was going to give Jim Hawkins a love interest.  She liked that he didn’t have a love interest in the movie.

When she said that, it took me a moment of processing, and I realized she was right.  There hadn’t been a love interest for Jim.  Granted there was a very small romantic subplot between the ship’s Captain and the scientist (I’m horrible with names) but even that was highly underrepresented.

And yet, at least in my mind, Treasure Planet is a fantastic movie!

Image Source - https://fanart.tv
Image Source – https://fanart.tv

So in my opinion, romance is not necessary to make a great story.  However, some of my absolute favorite movies include very strong romance elements.  Stardust (a movie that has become dear to me :) ), The Princess Bride, and Star Wars (especially The Empire Strikes Back) all have romantic elements, and these are some of my all-time favorite movies.

However, just like any other trope in a fictional story, doing the same thing over and over again the exact same way gets boring.  It gets old.  Romantics like me love a good romance story, but even I get annoyed with the same old version of a trope.  While Prince Bride falls into the category of an old trope (damsel in distress,) Empire Strikes Back and Stardust did not follow the old tropes, and in fact Stardust even played with it a little bit with Tristan’s crush in the beginning.

This is why I love playing with tropes, and couldn’t resist doing just that in The Sword of Dragons.  For instance, a dragon in a cave guarding a precious treasure?  Okay, but instead of it being gold or jewels that a greedy dragon is hoarding, it’s an honorable creature protecting a powerful artifact from being used to wreak havoc. (Sorry, no Smaugs in my books!)

Romance in the Sword of Dragons stories

So, what of romance in the Sword of Dragons novels and short stories?  Did I fall into the same ‘ol fantasy tropes for romance stories?

Image Source - http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/102/318623-blackangel.jpg
Image Source – http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/102/318623-blackangel.jpg

Well in book 1, there was never a ‘damsel in distress.’  In fact, all of the women in book 1 are strong and independent.  So that pretty much eliminates that possibility right there.  No princess waiting for some gallant knight to save her.  Plus, without giving away too many spoilers, the hero doesn’t exactly get the girl (but he doesn’t not get her, either…  You’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens ;) )

What of book 2?  There definitely was a romantic subplot in it, and when I first published Burning Skies, I was a little worried about how people would receive it.  Yet I was pleased to find that all of the readers who’ve read it so far have enjoyed it, and are curious to see if it’s going where it seems to be…or if I’ll turn it on it’s head.

The inspiration for Sira's dress in Burning Skies
The inspiration for Sira’s dress in Burning Skies

There was also a scene that I absolutely loved researching and writing in Burning Skies: The Royal Ball.  Researching medieval formal attire for both men and women was fun.  But it was also a chance to bring Cardin and Sira closer together, giving them one special moment…

So what of future stories in the Sword of Dragons universe?  Where are things going with Cardin and Sira?  With Reis?  With Kailar?

Well, as the good Professor River Song says, “Spoilers” ;)  But I will say this: I seem to have a propensity to torture my characters.  If they ever do find ‘happily ever after,’ it will only be after they have been through hell and back again (a dozen times.)  If they ever get there.

What Do You Think?

So what do you all think?  Should there be more stories without romantic subplots?  Should romantic interests be left out?  Or are they appropriate or even necessary to have in fiction?  Leave a comment below to let me know! :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Rise of the Super Heroes

Hi everyone!

When I (finally) saw Star Wars The Force Awakens last weekend, I was amazed by all of the superhero movie previews that preceded it.  A thought occurred to me after about the 3rd one.

For several decades, the popularity of superhero movies has risen and fallen like a tide.  Not quite predictable, but it used to be that no matter how popular a movie was, inevitably its sequels would fall, and for at least a brief time, superheroes left the silver screen.  But then something happened, and all of that changed.  Now every year, the box office features multiple highly successful superhero movies, and they show no signs of slowing down.

What changed?

The Early Tides

Image Source - comicvine.com
Image Source – comicvine.com

The Christopher Reeves Superman was wildly popular when it came out, and its sequel likewise did extraordinarily well, if Rotten Tomatoes and box offices numbers are to be believed (and lets face it, many still consider the pair as the definitive Superman movies.)

Then came Superman 3, which performed dismally, and Superman 4, which….well, I try to forget these ones even exist.

Then there was Michael Keaton’s Batman, another wildly successful superhero movie that came a decade after the first Superman, and it was wildly successful!  Batman Returns likewise did well, but less so than its predecessor.

Then…Batman Forever.  Followed by Bat Nipples. Uh, I mean, Batman and Robin.  Dismal failures.

Image Source - batmannews.de
Image Source – batmannews.de

X-Men seemed to follow that as well, initially.  X3 was, at least to many, a dismal failure in what started as a very successful series, and the X-Men Origins movie wasn’t any better.

So went the tide of superheroes on the silver screen – ups and downs, with smaller successes (and failures) spotted throughout these time periods, many of which I won’t mention, even though there are some very fantastic honorable mentions (Hellboy 2 :D )

Image Source - http://cinemassacre.com
Image Source – http://cinemassacre.com

But when did it all change?  It seemed to start with Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy.  There is heated debate on the success of the third movie.  While the final entry in the trilogy was the most financially successful, Rotten Tomatoes rates it as the worst in an otherwise successful trilogy.  Surprisingly, the Maguire series didn’t end because of failure, but due to internal disagreements.

But how could this be?  The worst of the trilogy made the most money?!  Since then, there has been a continued rise and fall, but in general, superhero movies have been on the rise, culminating in the colossus that is the Marvel universe.

So again, I ask the question…what changed?

I Need A Hero

Perhaps the most obvious cause is the quality of story telling, visual effects, and just how serious and not-serious film makers started to take themselves with these comic book adaptations.  I mean, come on, for as fun as the Adam West Batman and the Nipple Bat era was, the pure campiness of them told us that the film makers weren’t taking them seriously.  At least, that was my impression.

Image Source - mtv.com
Image Source – mtv.com

And I won’t discount that quality is a big deal. That surge in popularity that started with Spider-Man could possibly be attributed to that.  After the first movie’s success, production companies saw that there was money to be made, so….Batman Begins.  Iron Man.  The Dark Knight.  Superheroes were making money.

But I believe there was something behind that initial Spider-Man success that went beyond just the quality of the product.  And that same source is what fuels the ever-increasingly popular Avengers and the upcoming Justice League.

Society’s rising need for hope.

It’s need for symbols to look up to, to feel like the world and the people in it aren’t all horrible and depressing.

17JulyAug1942superpatriotI’m not saying there hasn’t been such a need before, but we live in a fortuitous time when producing movies about super powered individuals is much more feasible.  Had the same cinematic technology existed during World War 2, I think superhero movies would have been a gigantic hit.

I am not downplaying Sam Raimi’s take on the web-slinging Spider Guy, he did a fantastic job!  But it happened to come out shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

For the first time in a very long time, the U.S. felt vulnerable.  And so did many other nations around the world.  Unknown enemies could attack us on our own soil.  The bad guys could hurt us.  Were we ever going to be safe again?  Can anyone protect us?

This is where the superheroes come in.

Image Source - geek.com
Image Source – geek.com

And let’s face it, as depressing as it is to admit, things haven’t really gotten much better.  Continued terrorist threats, financial crises (they say the recession is over.  I’m not seeing that, either locally or in the news,) and rising tensions between nations worldwide.  That’s just to name a few.  Don’t forget all of the natural disasters that have struck, such as Katrina and Fukushima.

With global news on the rise and easy access to it via the web and our phones, the world feels more and more terrifying.

For everything else that superhero movies are or could be, they are escapism.  I’m not saying that’s bad.  In fact, I think it is exactly what we all need.

We face the world and its terrors day by day, whether that terror is the latest disaster covered on Fox news, or our frightening bills overwhelming us.  To be able to forget about all of that for just a couple of hours and focus on something good, something positive, something that gives us all hope…it can go a long way towards making life bearable.

I think hope is what keeps many of us going, when all else fails.  And to see, read, or hear about heroes who stand for something greater than us, heroes who can rise up above the most terrible disasters, well…maybe for some folks, it is what keeps them going.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Image Source - imdb.com
Image Source – imdb.com

So where are we going with all of this?  Is the titanic of the Marvel universe going to get too big and end up sinking?  Will Justice League succeed or fall flat on its face?  Will we ever become accustomed to how the world has become, and could remain for the foreseeable future?

It’s all conjecture and opinion.  Maybe I’m totally wrong about why super hero movies are now insanely popular.  Maybe it’s a simple fact that those who grew up reading comics are now old enough to make movies…but wait.  Comics have been around for a very long time.  So then why didn’t this happen sooner?

Tell me what you all think!  Do you agree or disagree?  Alternate theories?  Supplemental theories?  Or am I just totally talking out of my butt here?

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Taking It Personally – When Does Fiction Become Public Domain?

Hi everyone!

In about 24 hours, the movie millions have been waiting for, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released!  In and of itself, the release of a new Star Wars in theaters is exhilarating, and given that it is the continuation of the story from the Original Trilogy, nerds everywhere (myself included) are ecstatic!

More so because George Lucas has no involvement in its creation!  ….wait, that seriously excites everyone?  The very man who invented Star Wars.  Who created the characters that has inspired generations, and invented the concept of the Force.

obi-wan_kenobi-confused

But let’s face it, over the past 20 years, in the eyes of countless fans, Lucas has slowly dismantled Star Wars and turned it into something that old-school fans despise.  I’m not one of them, mind you – I don’t love the prequels, but I don’t hate them either.  And I actually like most (but not all) of the changes he made to the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy.

Never-the-less, the fire Lucas has received has been incredibly harsh, so much so that he has been quoted recently as avoiding the internet altogether in order to avoid reading the criticism against him.

Which brings me to the point of this article…

A New Era – Fans Taking It Personally

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how Star Trek and Star Wars seem to build upon each other’s successes.  But they seem to be linked in another way as well – the fans react quite vehemently when something is entered into the fictional canon that they don’t like.

The Jar Jar of Star Trek? (Note: I actually like Neelix :) )
The Jar Jar of Star Trek? (Note: I actually like Neelix :) )

I still can recall discussions in fan forums back during the DS9 and especially during the Voyager and Enterprise era of Trek where fans were flat out blaming Brannon Braga for ‘destroying Trek and everything it stood for.’  They were taking it personally, and with each new series, the open hatred towards the producers grew worse.

The same thing has happened with Lucas…but it hasn’t stopped there.  No, not by a long shot.  In fact, if anything, this trend of being offended by aspects of their fandom that they don’t like has only grown worse.

Remember when Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond for Casino Royale?  Fan and media reactions were both very harsh.  Many people criticized him as being not handsome enough, not tall enough, and any number of other criticisms.  In fact there’s still a website online, http://www.danielcraigisnotbond.com dedicated to making sure everyone knows that Craig is not a suitable Bond.

roger-mooreIn reading up on this history recently, I learned that former Bond star, Roger Moore, had a few words to say about this.  While I cannot seem to find that article again, and so cannot directly quote Moore, I recall that he was surprised by the negative reaction to Craig.  He commented how 30 years ago, no one would have reacted to such a different direction for Bond, or any other franchise for that matter.

And then there’s Mass Effect 3.  The ending of this phenomenal trilogy of video games, with such an incredibly in-depth story and amazing characters, was considered to be one of the greatest let downs in the history of video games.

In fact, it was so bad that a law suit was filed against EA via the FTC, claiming that EA was guilty of false advertising.  Reactions were so bad that EA actually released a free DLC for Mass Effect 3 that revamped the ending, adding more choices, and created a somewhat better final experience for the game.

mass-effect-3-ending

Does Fiction Belong to the Fans?

From the looks of things (and based on fan reactions to The Hobbit movie trilogy) this trend is only growing.  So as a writer, this raises a very serious question: does fiction belong to the fans?  At what point does our creative work no longer belong to us?  Should I cater to the desires (or even demands) of fans for where I take my stories?

To my fellow writers out there, I’m willing to bet most of you are going to immediately say “No!!!  Never change your artistic direction to sate fans!  Nor should you do so for commercial reasons!”  I’ve heard this stance over and over throughout my entire life, especially in college, the domain of “Literary” fiction.

But you know what?  Fans matter.  Here, let me repeat that.

Fans Matters.

This has been my stance from day one of this blog, and goes back much, much further than that.  It has always been my greatest desire to connect to readers, to engage with them, to hear their thoughts and desires and opinions about my works.

Is this me selling out?  I don’t think so.  No matter what, my stories will always be the product of my creative vision.  But I also have an active and adaptive imagination.

I’ve also put this into practice.  My old fan fiction, Star Trek Dragon, is the perfect example.  I had this amazing idea to do a crossover between Star Trek and Star Wars.  The setting was perfect, because the USS Dragon was already lost in a galaxy ‘far, far away.’  And my idea was to make it a permanent crossover.

episode-28

It was not well received.  In fact, it is safe to say that the episode titles “A Long Time Ago” is the most disliked episode of STDragon.  So at the end of Season 3, I dropped that crossover…mostly.  And took STDragon in a very different direction from what I had originally planned.

 

And it turned out better.  So much better.

mitchell-sg1This is not to say writers should cater to every whim of the fans.  Do NOT try to please everyone, because that is impossible, and you’ll only drive yourself crazy.  And do not abandon your original creative endeavor.  The original story is still your creation.

All I am saying is don’t ignore them.  And what ever you do, do not ever think of your readers as simple-minded, as stupid, or as crazy.  The majority of readers are intelligent, sensitive individuals who enjoy quality entertainment (yes, I borrowed that quote from the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1.)

I’ve Digressed – Who Owns Fiction?

This is a question I asked my friend Wayne today.  Who owns fiction?  At what point does a fictional body become the domain of the public?

After discussing it with him and thinking further on it, I’ve come to the opinion that it is both, the moment it is released ‘into the wild.’  It is still the creator’s work, and they still will be the ones to guide it into the future.  But it also belongs to the public.  You’ve inspired them.  You’ve engaged their imagination, made them think.

And do not underestimate the impact you’ve had on readers.  If they react strongly to something you’ve written, it means you have succeeded in making them fall in love with your work.  That’s something amazing, and not to be ignored.

Not to mention, collaboration between creators and fans can result in an amazing product.  Look into Star Citizen for a perfect example :)

What do you all think?  This is a pretty heavy and hot topic, and I have no doubt that opinions will vary widely on it.  Please comment below!!  (But please keep it civil!)

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

Is History Repeating? Star Wars and Star Trek Together Again

Hi everyone!

A few days ago while at work, I overheard several coworkers discussing the upcoming Star Wars movie, as well as the events of the previous six movies.  And I thought to myself “I never thought to hear Star Wars talked so openly and frequently again!  This.  Is.  Awesome.”

A meme has started floating around the internet, with pictures of news articles about the new episodes of X-Files, the new Star Wars movies, and the recently announced Star Trek TV show.  The meme goes something like: “which nerd managed to find a genie’s lamp?”

mix-up

Wait, no, that’s not the one……  ;)

Any way, it got me to thinking about the history of two of those franchises, and how they seem to have been linked.  Star Trek and Star Wars.

Image Source - www.memory-alpha.wikia.com
Image Source – http://www.memory-alpha.wikia.com

In many ways, the revival of Star Trek that began with The Motion Picture owes its thanks to the release and insane popularity of Star Wars in 1977.  There’s a story, one that has been repeated in several interviews, in which Paramount Studios saw the success of Star Wars, and thought “What do we have that can compete with that?”  Other accounts say it wasn’t about rivalry, it was more “This has made the genre popular again, let’s build upon that opportunity!”

In either case, the release of The Motion Picture in 1979 was no coincidence.  And fandom saw a new surge in sci fi popularity that hasn’t quite died.

Unfortunately, despite that resurgence, both Star Trek and Star Wars eventually saw an apparent end.

Everything Has It’s Time, Right?

Image Source - blu-ray.com
Image Source – blu-ray.com

In 2005, just when it was finally starting to find its stride, Star Trek Enterprise went off the air.  For many fans, myself included, there was a genuine fear that this was the last time we would ever see Trek on TV.

Let’s face it, Star Trek had begun to lose its gusto.  Fans still loved Trek (myself included,) but many were very much disappointed in Enterprise, and ratings were crashing.

Everything has its time.  And with 5 series spread across 28 seasons (not counting the animated series) and ten movies, it seemed like Trek had reached its saturation.

What’s more, Star Wars Episode 3 came out the same year Enterprise ended, and Lucas promised no more new Star Wars.  Perhaps with good reason.  While the prequel trilogy had done well in sales, many fans despised the trilogy, and even today I have a difficult time finding anyone who enjoyed the new trilogy.

jarjar-fail

It seemed like the end of a mutually beneficial era.  The two franchises that seemed to build upon one another’s successes had come to an end at roughly the same time.

Here We Go Again!

Then something unexpected happened.  Star Trek made a come back!  With a new spirit, new actors, and a new timeline, the 2009 Star Trek reboot brought both old and new fans to the theaters, and once again, everyone was talking Star Trek!

Image Source - Amazon.com
Image Source – Amazon.com

In fact, I have this very distinct memory of seeing the new movie the first time with several friends, and at the very end, one of them leaned over and asked me, “Did we just witness the revival of Star Trek?  I think we did!”

It was an exciting time.  Star Trek was back!  Yes, there was no hint of a TV show coming, and we didn’t have Star Wars, but that was okay.  Some was better than none…

Image Source - starwars.com
Image Source – starwars.com

Or is it?  In 2012, the world was shocked to learn that Lucas was selling the rights for Star Wars to Disney.  And lo and behold, within days, Disney announced not just a new Star Wars movie, but 5 new movies!

Could this be real?

Yes…yes it is.  Both are coming back!!

Fast-forward to today, and what do we have?  A successful 2nd Trek movie, with a 3rd on the way, and previews of a new Star Wars movie that give many, myself included, great hopes for the Star Wars movies we’ve all only ever dreamed of.

To top it all off, Paramount has announced a NEW Star Trek television series is coming!

The Tapestry of the Stars

So what’s going on?  Are these two franchises somehow woven together in the tapestry of fandom?

Certainly they seem to be enjoying the very same fervent popularity they held for so long before their eventual apparent ‘demise’ in 2005.  And I really don’t think it is a coincidence that as one makes a come-back, so too does the other.  I think they build upon each others’ successes.

trekandwarsI will never argue over which is better.  I love both for the unique qualities they bring to such a diverse genre.  And just as Lucas and Roddenberry once shook hands and encouraged each other, I so hope that these two franchises continue to help prop each other up, so that we can enjoy another couple decades of amazing Science Fiction :)

(PS: Is anyone else out there hoping for Stargate to make a comeback?!)

oneil-wacko

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik