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GeekGirlCon 2016 Heroine's Journey Panel

Hyperspace Theories

Release Date: 11/13/2016

The Mandalorian: Chapters 1 - 3 show art The Mandalorian: Chapters 1 - 3

Hyperspace Theories

Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester discuss the storytelling and character arcs of the first three episodes of The Mandalorian.

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The Rise of Skywalker Final Trailer Reactions show art The Rise of Skywalker Final Trailer Reactions

Hyperspace Theories

Editors at FANgirl Blog, BJ Priester and Tricia Barr, share their reactions to The Rise of Skywalker final trailer. 

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She-Ra and The Princesses of Power show art She-Ra and The Princesses of Power

Hyperspace Theories

While we love Star Wars at FANgirl Blog, we have many passions. Tricia and Kay share thoughts on Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

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Star Wars ABCs: From Alphabet Squadron to SDCC show art Star Wars ABCs: From Alphabet Squadron to SDCC

Hyperspace Theories

In this episode: insights from San Diego Comic-Con, Alphabet Squadron book discussion and discussing concluding long form storytelling.

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45: To The Galaxy's Edge show art 45: To The Galaxy's Edge

Hyperspace Theories

The editorial team from FANgirl Blog discuss the storytelling in Claudia Gray's Master and Apprentice and the worldbuilding of Galaxy's Edge. Plus a deep dive into The Rise of Skywalker Vanity Fair feature!

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago Wrap show art Star Wars Celebration Chicago Wrap

Hyperspace Theories

On Episode 44 of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia, B.J. and Kay discuss Star Wars Celebration in Chicago and share our reactions to, and favorite moments from, the convention. The convention was definitely a busy one: we didn’t even have time to record the episode live at the con, but hopefully the clearer audio quality is a worthwhile tradeoff.

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43: Queen's Shadow & Galaxy's Edge show art 43: Queen's Shadow & Galaxy's Edge

Hyperspace Theories

The editorial team from FANgirl Blog explore the worldbuilding of Star Wars novel Queen's Shadow and Galaxy's Edge coming soon to Disney Parks.

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42: Playing In The Sandbox show art 42: Playing In The Sandbox

Hyperspace Theories

Each episode, our meta segment is based on the theme of how to speculate wisely about upcoming Star Wars tales. Sometimes that means knowing when to be careful not to draw any big storytelling inferences. This month, that idea definitely applies to a tweet from director Ava DuVernay, who tweeted a photograph of her friend Victoria Mahoney, second unit director on Episode IX. Our storytelling segment features Tricia sharing her thoughts about writing The Dark Side, a new title from Hachette Heroes.

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41: Resistance Aces Fly show art 41: Resistance Aces Fly

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The editorial team from FANgirl Blog discusses Star Wars Resistance and new announcements on The Mandalorian.

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40: Rey the Grey...Jedi? show art 40: Rey the Grey...Jedi?

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We revisit a foundational topic in Star Wars – the Force – from the perspective of the third storytelling trio in The Last Jedi: Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren. The storytelling segment centers on the Hero’s Journey for Han in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Our world-building segment focuses on an article from Tom & Lorenzo analyzing Rey’s costumes in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

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For the third consecutive year, I was delighted to moderate a panel on the Heroine’s Journey at GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Inspired by The Force Awakens and its breakout heroine Rey, we titled this year’s panel “The Heroine’s Journey: Awakening Its Potential.” Tricia Barr and Jennifer K. Stuller returned again as panelists, and we were joined for the first time by Teresa Jusino, a feminist pop culture critic and an assistant editor at TheMarySue.

After introducing the panelists and our respective backgrounds and interests in analysis of the Heroine’s Journey, we briefly reviewed the contexts of our prior discussion for those attendees who hadn’t seen the previous panels. We emphasized that Joseph Campbell’s famous Hero’s Journey framework has its roots in historical myths that arose from patriarchal, misogynist, and unjust societies – yet many storytellers today continue to reflexively rely on its familiar elements without considering the implications for contemporary characters and audiences. The goal, though, is not necessarily to reject Campbell out of hand, but rather for storytellers to make sure they undertake informed decision-making about creating heroes and their character arcs.

We then turned to sharing our thoughts on recent stories which have succeeded in creating Heroine’s Journey tales that can serve as good models for other storytellers. Tricia talked about Rey and The Force Awakens, and Teresa praised the joy of Kara’s adventures in CBS’s Supergirl. Jen noted the great dynamic between Brienne of Tarth and Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, which inverts medieval fantasy tropes. Netflix also earned acclaim for shows including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Stranger Things. Common themes we identified in well-crafted Heroine’s Journey include the roles of sisters and mothers, teamwork with allies instead of solo heroism, the importance of mentors, and an emphasis on love and compassion.

We also discussed the pros and cons of the concept of a Heroine’s Journey framework in storytelling. The similar idea of “strong female character,” for example, often is misunderstood as referring to physical prowess rather than other forms of strength such as willpower, or misses the point that advocating for more and better “complex” or “well-written” female characters is the most important goal. On the one hand, show like Jessica Jones or Game of Thrones illustrate that the value in not limiting the focus to heroism as such, but rather encouraging the creation of more stories of all types with women protagonists. More female characters with nuance and agency in lead roles will make a huge differences in evolving tropes, even if some of them are anti-heroes or other non-heroic characters. On the other hand, Tricia pointed out, Hollywood often only understands simple terms, so the terminology of the Heroine’s Journey may be valuable as a form of consciousness-raising to keep the goal of creating aspirational heroes for girls and women at the forefront of the discussion in the entertainment industry. Ultimately, we urged storytellers to consider both perspectives – all in service of the goal of ensuring thoughtful decision-making about how Heroine’s Journeys, and other stories with female protagonists, are designed and written.

 


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