Transmedia storytelling – a concept sported by Henry Jenkins, is the act of telling numerous stories over numerous platforms, to form a cohesive point. Of course, I’ll try not to bother those who’ve already binged the lecture, but there are several points and a very obvious example which illustrates the issues that can surround it.
A separate entity from multimedia, transmedia text is fictional universe built as an encompassing umbrella. And anyone can theoretically contribute their stories and characters under this umbrella with little inconvenience.
But when the IP rights holder of Star Wars, Lucasfilm Ltd, decided to ultimately scrap the entirety of the brand’s extended universe, there was obviously backlash. A decision that was considered “wiping the slate clean”, many fans were outraged at the fact that the contributions of thousands had just been wiped away prior to the release of the new film.
So these contributions, utilizing many forms of media, whether it’s graphic novels, video-games, comics, or books, have been marked as a resource by the company, but do they have the right to do this?
Obviously they do, because they sort of own the brand. But this leads to the subsequent question of whether or not it matters to fans.
While many fans and authors might be distraught, their ability to add content under the umbrella of the brand is still entirely available, it just isn’t guaranteed to be ‘officially’ canon in the Star Wars EU.
So yay or nay to this decision? Do they have a right to just brandish the works of thousands of people as “unofficial”, or does it even matter?