Hyperspace Theories


Star Wars
Special Edition





October 2016
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Maybe you don't need an excuse to re-watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we'll give you one any for #InternationalPodcastDay!

Hyperspace Theories had its origins in significant part in the excitement of the buildup to Episode VII, when our interests in storytelling and informed speculation converged. At that time, we were endeavoring not only to sift credible rumors from less plausible ones from among the reports in fandom and entertainment media venues, but also to work through the storytelling decisions necessarily involved in crafting the movie's characters, world-building, themes, and plot. From that dual exercise, the format of Hyperspace Theories was forged, and we have since explored numerous aspects of informed speculation, storytelling, characterization, and world-building in Star Wars.

Given that origin story, then, it only makes sense that our first movie commentary track episode is The Force Awakens. In addition to sharing our thoughts and reactions to our favorite aspects of the film, we also discuss how the movie presents its storytelling choices to the audience.

Cue up your DVD, Blu-ray, or digital copy of The Force Awakens and watch along with Tricia, B.J., and Kay as Rey, Finn, Poe, and the rest begin the next trilogy of the Star Wars saga.

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Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_TFA_Commentary.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 9:19pm EDT

We’re beginning to learn more about the production and story of Rogue One, and these developments are the focus of this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories.

Whether based on information revealed previously or the newer details, speculation about Rogue One has to take into account the involvement of a significant new player in the movie’s production: Tony Gilroy. The Hollywood Reporter disclosed his prominent role in both the filming of reshoots and the editing of the film in post-production. Subsequently the latest teaser trailer confirmed that Gilroy also is a co-screenwriter – Rogue One has “story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta” and “screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy” in the credits. Under the WGA’s rules for awarding writing credit, this means Gilroy made major additional contributions to the screenplay after Weitz’s version, which itself was a complete reworking of Whitta’s draft. Gilroy is highly regarded for his work on the Bourne movie series, produced by Frank Marshall, as well as his own project, Michael Clayton. He also previously worked with Gareth Edwards in completing Godzilla, so the collaboration on Rogue One seems to be a natural fit. Further insight into Gilroy’s perspective on storytelling and movie-making appears in his BAFTA screenwriter’s lecture, which is definitely worth the time.

Before concluding our meta segment on speculating wisely, we also discussed Kathleen Kennedy’s comments on the importance of female executives in the development process, and Kay shared her thoughts on Carrie Fisher’s appearance at Wizard World.

Our world-building segment turns to the two Rogue One teaser trailers released recently. One aired on NBC during the Olympics; the other premiered in Japan. We share our reactions to the two trailers, and note how they convey different messages about the story of the movie and its characters.

We also consider Edwards’ comments on what the title Rogue One might mean, and some hints about the planet Jedha from Entertainment Weekly. Additional images from the film appeared in Empire magazine and EW’s gallery.

For the storytelling segment, we turn to the characters of Rogue One. So far the most has been shared about the lead, Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She spoke to EW about her character, as well as to Kyle Buchanan at Vulture, who shared several outtakes on Twitter. Additionally, Forest Whitaker at EW offered some intriguing insights into Saw Gerrera at the time of Rogue One, including a fascinating parallel with none other than Darth Vader. While hardcore Star Wars fans have been excited by what’s been revealed so far about the movie, we noted the ongoing discussion in fandom and the media about whether the marketing has been doing enough to reach casual fans. The Hollywood Reporter noted that reaction in China has been muted, especially compared to other properties, like the Marvel films, which already have a large established presence in the country.

We conclude the episode with our plot bunny giveaway, with inspiration drawn from the Rogue One trailers.


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Direct download: HT_20_final_rev.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EDT

For the July episode of Hyperspace Theories, our topic of discussion naturally is Star Wars Celebration Europe, held in London on July 15-16, 2016. Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester attended the convention, and Kay caught up on all the excitement with the official livestream from The Star Wars Show and the other great video content shared on the official Star Wars YouTube channel.

The show opens with overall reactions to Celebration. In the end Tricia, BJ and Kay agree with the assessment of Graeme McMillan’s article in The Hollywood Reporter that the convention focused on the fans and their engagement with and passion for the franchise, rather than on breaking news or seeking coverage in the entertainment media. One major theme of Celebration, like last year’s convention in Anaheim, was how much Lucasfilm understands and appreciates the importance of the fans to Star Wars’ success.
Another interesting theme at Celebration was Lucasfilm’s goal of leading the push into the future of storytelling mediums. Tricia and B.J. both got to experience the ILMxLAB virtual reality short story “Trials on Tatooine.” The interaction between technology and storytelling also played a big part in the panel on STEM Heroes & Heroines of Star Wars that Tricia organized.

Discussion moves on to the two tentpoles of Celebration Europe this year. For the upcoming standalone movie Rogue One, the Hyperspace Theories team analyzes the panel, the sizzle reel, and the exhibit of costumes on the show floor. For Star Wars Rebels, the big news is the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the iconic villains of the Star Wars Legends tales, as the featured adversary for the Ghost crew in Season Three. Our last episode covered the 25th anniversary of Heir to the Empire, the novel in which Thrawn was introduced; at Celebration, we learned that author Timothy Zahn also is returning to pen the new novel Thrawn to reintroduce the character’s story leading up to his appearance in Rebels.

The show concludes with the Future Filmmakers panel, which was light on information but gave a lot of insight into the directors of the next Star Wars films. Rian Johnson shared a list of classic movies that comprised a “film camp” he held as inspiration for the people working on Episode VIII. Phil Lord and Chris Miller brought both humor and heart, as well as new Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich, for their untitled movie.


You can also listen to Hyperspace Theories at Libsyn or download the show there. Or subscribe on iTunes. If you listen, please rate us and write a review as a simple offer of gratitude. Hyperspace Theories is now available on Stitcher, as well.

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Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_19_main.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48am EDT

The team from FANgirl Blog dive into the New York Times Bestselling novel Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray.

Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35pm EDT

This month on Hyperspace Theories, we discuss how the music of Star Wars enhances the storytelling in The Force Awakens. Joining Tricia, B.J., and Kay for the episode is Sarah Woloski, who co-hosts Fangirls Going Rogue with Tricia and Teresa and Skywalking Through Neverland with her husband Richard. All four of us have instrumental musical backgrounds, and we share how our experiences learning and performing music have shaped our appreciation of the music of Star Wars.

In previous episodes, we’ve used the meta segment – where we talk about how to speculate wisely – to analyze the impacts of some of the foundational figures in Star Wars storytelling, including George Lucas, Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and more. This month, we add maestro John Williams to the list. Of course, his amazing career spans dozens of famous movies and numerous famous musicals themes – Jaws,Indiana Jones, Superman, E.T., and Jurassic Park, to name only a few – but just as Star Wars is in a class by itself in cinema history, so too is Williams’ iconic Star Wars music. As much as anyone, Williams has added to the language of Star Wars storytelling with the themes, melodies, motifs, and other musical details weaved throughout the Star Wars films. From the powerful tones of the “Main Theme,” “Imperial March,” and “Duel of the Fates” to lyrical refrains like “Han Solo and the Princess,” “Yoda’s Theme,” and the “Force Theme,” the music adds considerable depth and emotional weight to the story.

In the worldbuilding segment, we consider how the soundtrack of The Force Awakens elaborates upon the characters and storytelling in the movie. Williams has described his use of deliberate musical connections to the previous films in some respects, while also shaping new music for other places in the film. Among the tracks we discuss are “The Scavenger” and “Rey’s Theme” for the new heroine, Kylo Ren’s motif for the new villain, “Torn Apart” for the fateful showdown, “March of the Resistance” and “Scherzo for X-wings” for the new heroes fighting back against the First Order, and “The Journey Home” and “The Jedi Steps” that bring the movie to a close.

With so much to say about Williams and his music, we’ll resume with our other usual segments in the next episode. Stay tuned for more analysis of The Force Awakens and the future of Star Wars storytelling.

You can also listen to Hyperspace Theories at Libsyn or download the show there. Or subscribe on iTunes. If you listen, please rate us and write a review as a simple offer of gratitude. Hyperspace Theories is now available on Stitcher, as well.

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Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm EDT

Rey's Hero's Journey in The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a record-smashing box office success, a reinvigoration of the movie side of franchise for longtime fans, a launching point for new fans of all ages – and the origin story of a fan-favorite new character in Star Wars, Rey. The film’s plot structure and protagonist’s character arc also provide an excellent touchstone for examining one of the iconic features in discussions of storytelling: the Hero’s Journey.

In this special edition of Hyperspace Theories, we use the prominent Hero’s Journey frameworks by academic Joseph Campbell and screenwriting consultant Christopher Vogler to analyze the elements of Rey’s progression from Jakku scavenger to Jedi apprentice over the course of The Force Awakens. Along the way we compare Rey’s story to other well-known examples of the Hero’s Journey, including Luke Skywalker, Katniss Everdeen, and Dorothy Gale. This episode will appeal to fans of Star Wars intrigued by the deep storytelling themes in The Force Awakens, as well as anyone interested in learning more about the Hero’s Journey in modern storytelling.

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Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_SE_Rey_HJ_final.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

After last month’s episode sharing our initial reactions to The Force Awakens, this month’s episode begins our analysis and discussion of the new movie, as well as the lessons about storytelling and speculation that can be learned from it. Needless to say, we’ll have plenty more discussion of the movie to come in future episodes.

Before turning to The Force Awakens, though, we start off the show with a different topic for our meta segment on how to speculate wisely – the Star Wars Rebels midseason trailer for the back half of Season Two. We consider some elements of the trailer that make connections to The Force Awakens to increase interest in Rebels, such as the Jedi crossguard lightsaber, a Jedi temple site, and the appearance of Princess Leia. We also discuss the trailer’s links to prior Star Wars lore, such as a Sith holocron, Twi’lek freedom fighters and Mandalorian warriors from The Clone Wars, and the “Old Master” Ezra encounters. Another feature of note was the social media message shared by showrunner Dave Filoni prior to the trailer’s release, advising fans about its spoiler-heavy content.

For the world-building segment, longtime fan of the Empire, Jay Shah, joins us to talk about the First Order in The Force Awakens. In some ways the First Order operates as a direct descendant of the Empire, but in other ways it differs significantly. Some of these distinctions, Jay points out, have significant moral implications for whether fans would feel willing to root for the First Order in the way they may have done previously for the Empire. In addition to the politics and military statuses of the galaxy, we share our views on the individuals who lead the First Order, including Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren, and General Hux.

The storytelling segment focuses on the use of the Original Trilogy’s legacy heroes in The Force Awakens and the hints at their post-Return of the Jedi backstory revealed in the movie. A key touchstone for our discussion is Devin Faraci’s article at Birth Movies Death on the portrayal of Han Solo in the film. Faraci analyzes Han’s character arc in The Force Awakens as a regression to his early Original Trilogy persona rather than progression forward, and maintains that alternative characterizations and backstories for Han could have kept his role in the movie essentially the same in relation to the new generation heroes while making his characterization stronger and more believable to the audience. Our discussion of the legacy Big Three agrees in large measure with the kinds of concerns Faraci raises, and we discuss similar dilemmas with the portrayals of Leia and Luke in the movie, as well as Han.

Our plot bunny giveaway draws upon one of the great open questions after The Force Awakens: how missing scenes might be used to reveal or further hint at Rey’s heritage.

You can also listen to Hyperspace Theories at Libsyn or download the show there. Or subscribe on iTunes.


Hyperspace Theories is on Twitter @HyperspacePod!

Tricia is @FANgirlcantina on Twitter, as well as posting at FANgirl Zone on Facebook and on Tumblr.

Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.

B.J. tweets @RedPenofLex.

Jay Shah tweets @admiraljello.

Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_16.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 10:28pm EDT

The Force has awakened. In the December episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay from the popular Star Wars critical discussion site FANgirl Blog share their initial reactions to Episode VII. We discuss the characters, plot, and more after multiple viewings of the film, with minimal additional information from opening-weekend creator interviews or the opening-day book releases. We also address the storytelling decisions to withhold certain key information from the audience in the first movie of the new trilogy, as well as the trailers and other marketing containing imagery and dialogue that do not appear in the final film.

This episode contains discussion of all of the major spoilers from The Force Awakens from the opening minutes of the show, so steer clear if you haven't yet seen the movie.

You can also subscribe on iTunes. If you listen, please rate us and write a review as a simple offer of gratitude.

Hyperspace Theories is on Twitter @HyperspacePod!

Tricia Barr is @FANgirlcantina on Twitter, as well as posting at FANgirl Zone on Facebook and on Tumblr. Email: tricia@fangirlblog.com

Kay tweets @Geek_Kay. Email: Kay@fangirlblog.com

B.J. tweets @RedPenofLex. Email lex@fangirlblog.com


Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_15.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

Johnamarie Macias from The Wookiee Gunner joins Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Geek Kay for a wide-ranging discussion on storytelling in Star Wars.

We continue our exploration of the individuals influencing the future of Star Wars storytelling with Diana Williams, a member of Lucasfilm’s Story Group. In October, Johna attended “A Conversation With Diana Williams” at the New York Film Festival, in which Williams talked about her upbringing, her path into the entertainment industry, and her perspective on transmedia storytelling and other technological changes altering the ways people can tell stories. At Lucasfilm, Williams is the Story Group’s lead on videogames, including the recently released Star Wars Battlefront, which offers a wide variety of gender and ethnicity combinations for players to use. She is vocal on Twitter about her criticisms of Hollywood for its problems with diversity, inclusion, and representation, and she no doubt speaks her mind within Lucasfilm’s creative team, as well. Thank you to Johna for sharing her report and reactions to Williams’ presentation.

For our world-building segment, we discuss Claudia Gray’s novel Lost Stars, released in September as part of the Journey to The Force Awakens. Like the three regular hosts, Johna also is a big fan of the book. We praised Gray’s effectiveness at designing the two cultures on the planet Jelucan, the valley kindred and the second-wavers, to create the personality traits in the lead characters, Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, which ultimately motivate the choices they make as the Empire and Rebellion clash over the course of the story.

The early season two episodes of Star Wars Rebels are featured in our storytelling segment.

Johna is keeping spoiler-free for The Force Awakens, so Tricia, B.J., and Kay conclude the show with a Spoilers Beware segment examining the new information and clues revealed in the marketing for the movie since our last show.

Next month The Force Awakens arrives! Look for a reaction show from Hyperspace Theories soon after opening weekend.


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Hyperspace Theories is on Twitter @HyperspacePod!

Tricia is @FANgirlcantina on Twitter, as well as posting at FANgirl Zone on Facebook and on Tumblr.

Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.

B.J. tweets @RedPenofLex.

Johna on Twitter @bluejaigeyes

Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_14.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 6:46pm EDT

In the October episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Geek Kay of Fangirl Blog share our reactions to the newly released full-length theatrical trailer for The Force Awakens. We also connect the images, dialogue, and music in the trailer to our earlier episodes and speculations about the movie.

You can also listen to Hyperspace Theories at Libsyn or download the show there. Or subscribe on iTunes.


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Hyperspace Theories is on Twitter @HyperspacePod!

Tricia is @FANgirlcantina on Twitter, as well as posting at FANgirl Zone on Facebook and on Tumblr.

Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.

B.J. is @RedPenofLex on Twitter.

Buying tickets to see The Force Awakens through our Fandango link and help support FANgirl Blog.

Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_TFA_Trailer_Reaction_Show_Oct_2015.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT