Who Makes the Franchise?

Essays on Fandom and Wilderness Texts in Popular Media


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About the Book

Fans and the billion-dollar franchises in which they participate have together become powerful agents within popular culture. These franchises have launched avenues for fans to expand and influence the stories that they tell. This book examines those fan-driven narratives as “wilderness texts,” in which fans use their platforms to create for themselves while also communicating their visions to the franchises, thus spurring innovation.
The essays in this collection look at how fans intervene in the production of mass media. Scholars analyze the negotiations between fan desires for both novelty and familiarity that franchises must maintain in order to achieve critical and commercial success. Applying varying theoretical approaches to discussions of fan responses to franchises, including Star Wars, Marvel, Godzilla, Firefly, The Terminator, Star Trek, DC, and The Muppets, these essays provide insight into the ever-changing relationships between fandom and transmedia storytelling.

About the Author(s)

Rhonda Knight is a professor of English at Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina, where she currently holds The James Wayne Lemke Endowed Chair in College Service and Leadership.

Donald Quist teaches writing at the University of Missouri in Columbia and is on the faculty at the Alma College MFA in Writing Program.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Rhonda Knight and Donald Quist
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8415-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4401-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

We Want the Wilderness: A Preface
Donald Quist and Rhonda Knight 1
An Introduction to Fans and Franchises: Essays on the Changing Landscape of Fandom
Donald Quist and Rhonda Knight with John E. Price 13
Section One: Fans and Canon
The ­Pedler-Davis Legacy: Cybermen in the Doctor Who Wilderness
Rhonda Knight 35
The Wild Canon: Examining the Slash Impact in Roddenberry’s Star Trek
Danielle S. Girard 56
A Hero Divided: The Fractured Narrative Arc of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (1977–2014)
Jonathan Hay 70
Section Two: Franchises and Fans
“What we make of it”: Terminator Salvation and the Neglect of Core Franchise Themes
Camilo Peralta 93
Whose Godzilla? Rethinking the King of Monsters Through the Films
Joe Yang 107
Where Auteur Fails: Zack Snyder and the ­Author-Function
Hannah Taylor 131
The Scraps of DC: Media Ownership, Film Economics and the Arrowverse
Tim Posada 147
Reminders of Life’s Impermanence: Death, Endings and Closure in Logan and Avengers: Infinity War
Mike Hernandez 166
Section Three: Fan Responses
“Take me out to the black”: Firefly, Fanfiction and the (Re)Making of Modern Myths
Jim Casey and Nicola Rene Govocek 183
You Always Spoof the One You Love: Thirty Years of Professional ­Take-Offs on The Muppet Show
Jonathan Hartmann 206
“We, the fans of Star Wars”: Negotiating Resistance in an Age of Consumption
Joseph S. Walker 220
Fans, Franchises and Cultural Production: What The Hobbit and Disney’s Star Wars Tell Us About the Internet and Media Entertainment Culture
Zachary Sheldon 233
About the Contributors 253
Index 255