Hyperspace Theories (Special Edition)

The theatrical trailer for The Last Jedi is here! The evening after its premiere, Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay recorded a special episode of Hyperspace Theories with our reactions and analysis. We consider the visuals, dialogue, and music in the trailer, as well as connections to the previously released teaser and behind-the-scene reel. Although the trailer is strong at conveying tone and themes and light on story details, we also incorporate some (spoiler-free/rumor-free) informed speculation about what might happen in The Last Jedi.


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Direct download: The_Last_Jedi_Reaction_Final.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay had the pleasure of attending Star Wars Celebration in Orlando last week, so of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to record this month's episode of Hyperspace Theories in person from the convention. What better topic for discussion, too, than the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, which was revealed on Friday morning by director Rian Johnson at the conclusion of the movie's panel.

In the episode we share our first reactions to the teaser trailer. We consider the imagery shown, the dialogue included, and the themes and connections to The Force Awakens and other Star Wars stories that resonated with us in the teaser.

At the time we recorded this episode, we had viewed the trailer twice at the panel and several more times on a laptop on YouTube. Upon closer review with better equipment, we had more success with determining the words spoken by the whispering in the background audio:

  • just before Rey says, "Light," and underneath the flute motif that introduces Rey's theme: Princess Leia saying, "help me, Obi-Wan."
  • just before Rey says, "Darkness," and underneath Kylo Ren's theme in horns: Ben Kenobi saying, "seduced by the dark side."
  • just before Rey says, "the Balance," accompanied by violins holding a note: Yoda saying, "surrounds us ... binds us"

Celebration delivered much more content than The Last Jedi teaser, and we'll be breaking it all down in detail on upcoming episodes of Hyperspace Theories.


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Direct download: HT_SWCO.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

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.



Direct download: GGC16_HJ_panel.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 4:07pm EDT

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

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

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

Join Tricia Barr, BJ Priester and Kay of FANgirl Blog plus special guests Sarah and Richard Woloski of Skywalking Through Neverland podcast as we break down what was and wasn't said at The Force Awakens panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_SDCC2015_Special.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 1:06am EDT

BJ Priester rounded up Geek Kay and Tricia Barr to recap Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The fans have awoken!

Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_SWCA_Fri_On.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 10:24pm EDT

Day One of the convention was all about the Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams panel for The Force Awakens. Hear our thoughts!

Direct download: SWCA_Apr16.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 10:44am EDT

The fandom has awakened with the first The Force Awakens teaser trailer dropping online and in theaters. Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester and Geek Kay share our initial reactions!

Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_3x.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT