Research Seminar: 18 January 2017: Andrew M. Butler on Star Wars and Kevin Smith
Senior lecturer Dr Andrew M. Butler has been invited to contribute a chapter to a book on transmedial Star Wars and is presenting the work in progress.
Canterbury Christ Church University
School of Media Art and Design
Research Seminars 2016-2017
18 January 2017
Invoking the Holy Trilogy: Star Wars in the Askewniverse
Speaker: Dr Andrew M. Butler, Canterbury Christ Church University
Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977) were among the first of many blockbusters that (in Stephen Paul Miller’s words) attempted to eat their audiences and created the tentpole film phenomenon that dominates mainstream cinema to this day. They were a huge influence upon the taste and habits of Generation X and the directors who emerged in the 1990s.
Star Wars-fan Kevin Smith was one such director and he both inserts references to such films in the dialogue of characters in his films and makes allusions to the tropes of the films. The eponymous Clerks and Mallrats of his early features are clearly fans of the original trilogy, Episodes IV-VI, and argue about the minutiae of the films. By the time of Clerks: The Animated Series (2000-1) and Clerks II (2006), the prequel trilogy of Episodes I-III was being released and the characters have a more ambivalent reaction to the franchise. In addition, by the time of Clerks II, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (2001-3) challenged the centrality of the trilogy to the geek psyche. In this paper I want to examine the impact of Lucas’s studio auteurist franchise on Smith’s quasi-independent auteurship and the developing critique of film viewer as worker in relation to the commercial property of Star Wars.
Andrew M. Butler is author of Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s (2011), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2014), as well as books on Philip K. Dick, Cyberpunk, Terry Pratchett, Postmodernism and Film Studies. He is coeditor of Extrapolation. He is the non-voting chair of judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. In his spare time, he investigates real ale and collects shiny trousers.
Powell Building – Pf06
North Holmes Road Campus
Email Dr Andrew Butler – Andrew.Butler@canterbury.ac.uk – for further details
— All welcome —