Games, costumes, fanfiction… Fans invent their galaxy far (far away)

It’s a normal Wednesday night for Jeremy, Paul and the others. These Star Wars fans meet once a week to play Star Wars Legion. On the table, ultra-realistic models recreate the setting of a battle from the saga: Mace Windu and his clones against Grievous and his droids clash in swampy terrain. Except this battle has never been shown in the movies… With their characters (and the very precise rules of the game), players passionately imagine how the battles unfold. The dice roll, the cries of despair ring out, the clones triumph…

Part of the Star Wars Legion organized by the association The awakening of Dawn – P.Vaillant/The awakening of Dawn

But that night, most Star Wars fans are in front of a screen to discover the new Disney+ series, Andor. “We’ll see,” reassures Paul. But Wednesday night’s Star Wars Legion is sacred. The evening is over, the players carefully put down their figures, which they have spent many hours painting. “It’s a hobby that costs time and money,” explains Jérémy. But the game gives us a lot. In the end, the movies and series show very little of the fighting in this Star wars. This game allows you to live it, tell it and even invent it…”

“The fans make very high demands on the quality of the figures”

At Asmodée, publisher of the game Star Wars Legion, we are well aware that this dimension allows success with game boxes. . When the game launched, there were quite a few bugs and glitches. The game system didn’t fit the narrative. The fans still invested it because they expected it a lot and told us “leave it, we’ll take care of it, because it’s not going well.” And they reworked it in their own way, to not only be able to play, but also to narrate battles, to feed the universe. As with Napoleonic or World War II war games, the miniatures and battles are “realistic”. At least according to the saga. This is why the fans make high demands on the quality of the figures. We have to make it. »

Part of the Star Wars Legion organized by the association The awakening of Dawn
Part of the Star Wars Legion organized by the association The awakening of Dawn – P.Vaillant/The awakening of Dawn

“Most players come to Star Wars Legion because they love the universe and to collect figures,” says Mickaël Diot, who runs the Univers Kids store in Troyes, where members of the Leéveil club meet regularly. de l’Aube, specializing in this game “They have gathered a small community that is growing quite quickly. Me, I sell many boxes of the game, the success has been quite dazzling for a year. And the more there are new players, the more the game has interest and allows combinations, challenges. »

Today, Star Wars Legion has dozens of boxes that allow you to play all the armies, from the three trilogies (or almost, the First Order is still missing), and all the heroes, including those that are less known before they were introduced in series The Mandalorian. “This series brought together all generations of fans, notes José Chaves. The oldest who knew the original trilogy and who read the comics. These familiar cult figures of the Expanded Universe, the smallest details… And the youngest who discovered Star Wars with Disney. If Disney and Asmodée know very well how to rely on these different generations to sell games, movies or series, fans also know how to redirect official products to fuel their passion and satisfy their creativity.

The lightsaber that hides the forest of stories

“Star Wars fans have always appropriated their universe through many different forms,” ​​says Loïc Quinet, of the association Les Héritiers de la Force, organizer of the Star Wars Generations convention, in Cusset. There are e.g. war and role-playing games, but also cosplayers, even the practice of the lightsaber… “In recent years, the lightsaber has become a martial sport in itself, with clubs and associations, competitions, demonstrations.. .” Of course, these are not “real” lightsabers. But above all, the exercise goes beyond hitting each other with pieces of wood painted red, blue or green.

Image of the Star Wars Generations convention in Cusset in 2022
Image of the Star Wars Generations convention in Cusset in 2022 – F.Dumas:Star Wars Generations

“In some lightsaber fights, it’s not just a choreographed fight,” explains Loïc Quinet. There is often a story, a background between the opponents, a Jedi against a Sith. Likewise, not all cosplayers dress up as Darth Vader or Princess Leia. There are plenty of those who make costumes of Imperial pilots or Mandalorians, “anonymous”, who imagine a past, an identity, a history for their characters. »

The great connoisseur of Star Wars fan practice also quotes Lego collectors recreating or imagining scenes with their Lego Star Wars minifigures: “We call that MOCs, my own creation. They are dioramas of scenes imagined from Star Wars, but require less time and skill than models built from scratch. »

No one really knows why Star Wars has sparked such creative excitement among fans, but Loïc Quinet has an idea: “Star Wars is a saga and a universe that leaves plenty of room for the imagination. The story takes place over a fairly short period of time and on a limited number of planets, but the galaxy is vast and many distant eras are unknown. There are lots of things to tell. »

“We don’t really know how Padmé got pregnant…”

To fill these gaps in the narrative, many fans did not wait for Disney series like Obi-Wan Kenobi and write, since the beginning of the saga in the cinema, fanfictions, unofficial alternative narratives. “But all Star Wars is one giant fanfiction, according to Maréva, writer and translator. Comics are fanfiction gone official. The whole Expanded Universe is fantastic fanfiction, but written by people who get paid for it. Also, there are people like me , who do it for fun…” The 28-year-old writera devotee of the prelogy period (“but not only!”), namely Episodes I to III, chose to write romances in the Star Wars universe.

“We write fanfiction to expand on the work we love or fill a void we feel. I think Star Wars is careful about love stories. There are a few suggested stories, but it’s missing. There’s the story between Padmé and Anakin , but it is. Also, there’s no sex in Star Wars either. Anakin is from an immaculate conception… And we don’t really know how Padmé got pregnant… It’s not about correcting the original work that is Star Wars, but about taking it to new territories.”

“I also want to tell my own story. »

The torch of fan fiction is not going out. Under the pseudonym Aux 4 coins du LORE, an 18-year-old young man is preparing a story that takes place after Episode IX. “I’ve always been a passive fan ever since I was a kid. This is the first time I’m embarking on something like this… My story takes place after the recent movies. I wanted to imagine new challenges, new enemies… ” While many fans like to fill in the gaps in the story between Episodes I and IX, our young writer has ventured into the unknown. “I think the more answers we give, the more questions we actually ask. It is endless…”

But like Maréva, Star Wars Legion players and cosplayers, the support of his own story from other fans is crucial for the young man: “We have to find a balance between original creation and homage to the saga. For example, I want to keep the Jedi in my story, but for me the Skywalker story is over. I’m a Star Wars fan, so I want to please other fans, but I also want to tell my own story.”

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