Monday, February 19, 2007

George's Adventures in the Star Wars Universe

For an Imperial Stormtrooper, Davin Felth is kind of a putz. Sent into the military by his wealthy father after seven wasted years at a University, Davin was so unimpressive as a cadet that his superiors sent him to the absolute ass-end of the galaxy: the planet Tatooine. There, Davin spends most of his time charging Jawas speeding tickets, accepting bribes from Hutt crimelords, seducing naive local farm girls with fabricated stories of fighting the Rebellion, and generally wasting his time sipping Corellian whiskey at the cantina. Davin knows that he's wasted his life but is too lazy and cowardly to do anything about it. He lives in perpetual fear of being scalped by Sand People.
George Lucas is upset. He's spent his life building the Star Wars Universe, just the way he wanted, and now his precious creation is slipping out of his hands. A cult of personality is growing among the online Star Wars fan community based on the character of Davin Felth, a throwaway stormtrooper popular in FanFiction. George Lucas knows there's no Davin Felth; knows that, as he clearly explained in Episode 3, all the stormtroopers were clones, lacking individual hopes, dreams, and lives. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia - these people, George's people, are real. To prove once and for all that Davin Felth is not real, George Lucas commissions the greatest scientific minds in the world to build the Virtual World Engine, a complicated system of holographic technology and electromagnetic fusion that opens portals to fictional worlds. George Lucas is the God of the Star Wars universe - he must clean up his galaxy of all excess baggage, reassert his control over his creation, destroy Davin Felth.

Three ways to tell this story:
1) I'm fascinated by the perpetual growth of fictional worlds - the notion that the Star Wars Universe has grown so big (with books, comics, fan fiction, video games, etc) that even its creator doesn't really understand it anymore. I like the idea of a straight dialogue between George Lucas and this random little character who shouldn't even exist - because unlike the people in the trilogies (great heroes and villains), he's just sort of an everyday putz. I think it'd be cool to do a comic strip like "Get Your War On," very minimalist, just one "stormtrooper" graphic for Davin and one "George Lucas" picture for George Lucas, and the two of them arguing over notions of authorship and existence.

2) Duelling video documentaries - one from George Lucas's perspective, one from the perspective of Davin Felth - arguing for and against Davin's existence, and the existence of the Star Wars universe outside of George Lucas's original creation.

3) Telling the story in hypertext style. The internet is the perfect platform for talking about Star Wars, since both are gigantic universes that exist entirely in the mind (and onscreen). Wookiepedia, the online Star Wars wiki, has over 45,000 individual articles. It could be cool to make the central story relatively short, but just include a billion tangents - Davin passes some random throwaway character, link away to his own story and to his wiki. Something to suggest the mass of information swirling even through one tiny corner of the galaxy.

Sort of a Fan-Fiction/criticism mash-up.
Sorry this is so late. I was in New Orleans.

3 comments:

Lauren said...

This is quite an interesting idea. We didn't talk about fanfiction in class, but it is really a very intriguing phenomenon. Nowhere is fanfiction bigger than with Star Wars. Actually maybe not fanfiction per se, but in terms of a fan-created universe, Star Wars is pretty much the pinnacle.

As much as a clip-art comic a la Get Your War On appeals to me, I think I'm even more interested in your third option, because it uses the fan-created universe to talk about the fan-created universe.

You have all the elements of a great story here: an average Joe who is suddenly forced to be a hero-type character, a villain trying to destroy him who is far from being 100% villainous (although I suppose the creation of Jar Jar Binks was an act of pure evil). Adding in the element of hypertext that shows you all sorts of fan-created aspects of the Star Wars universe takes this story and makes it very unique.

It occurs to me, though, that if I'm reading the story, I won't want to read an extensive Wookiepedia entry about every single throwaway character. I wonder if there's a way you can write your own history for these throwaway characters, based on the Wookiepedia articles...without it being plagiarism? I don't know. I'm bringing up a problem without offering a solution, and for that I apologize.

But anyway, you've got a great start here, and I'm excited to see what you come up with.

Adam Johnson said...

Darren,

I’m a big fan of fanfiction, and fan fiction is in demand with the man who makes the plan. Sorry, I just had to write that sentence. There’s something “Truman Show” about Davin Felth waking up from his boondock stormtrooper existence only to realize he’s a creation inside a world fabricated by George Lucas a myth-prone narcissist so in need of control that even in the farthest corner of the galaxy, on a planet named Tatooine, a guy like Davin has to go. Way cool. I wonder if Lucas makes direct, godlike appearances, or if he sends emissaries first.

In terms of medium, an iLife Comic made from Star Wars stills would be really cool. Simple sets like the cantina and a sandy eternity, and the characters are clipartisth as you said. Only with movie stills, you can throw in the occasional landspeeder and sandperson.

Dueling documentaries, honestly, sounds the coolest, but honestly, sounds like an inordinate amount of work. That sounds like a filmschool project, one you get Lucas to cameo in, with an anti-fan rant similar to Shatner’s famous “Saturday Night Live” appearance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMgBPogArbw&mode=related&search=

Jessica Johnson said...

Darren -

I really like the idea of doing a work of meta-fan fiction. Or if not that, then a work of fiction about a reaction to fan fiction. I also really like the idea of duel story lines.

No matter the format you choose, this is something that could take a a long time to do. It seems like if you don't tell a lot of stories about Davin, it's something that will naturally spur others to make fan fictions about.

And though Davin's story I'm sure can be interesting I think the coolest factor here is definitely the interaction between George Lucas and this universe. Especially the idea of him refusing a character's right to exist.
(It's kind of like dealing with copyright and intellectual property on a whole metaphorical level.)

I think documentaries would be awesome, it kind of gives the idea that they both have equal footing. If it's just a comic, somewhere in the back of our minds we know George Lucas has a real presence, but Davin doesn't.

But then you run into a problem of where to stop. You definitely want some grounding of both characters but it seems like this could spiral and spiral into a gigantic project. Be wary of that.

Otherwise, it sounds awesome -- good luck!