fan culture

Thoughts on… FanFiction

Fanfiction (or fanfic) is defined on Wikipedia as “is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator.” It’s all over the internet, and just about every show, film and book out there will have some people who loved it or hated it enough to write fanfic about it.

Fans write fanfic for a number of reasons. To “fix” storylines that went a way they didn’t like, to give characters more in-depth backstories, to get those character who they love together romantically or just to have some fun in a fictional world they love.

I’ve read fanfiction, in fact I go through stages of reading nothing but it in various fandoms to not reading any of it for months. I’ve read it based on soap operas, films and even some TV shows that I only know the basics about. I’ve even written fanfiction in the past – no I’m not going to link to it! While I don’t think I’m ashamed of it, sometimes I feel like fanfiction is a bit like fight club and you’re not supposed to talk about it in the wider world. (more…)

The Hashtag Campaign for a Black Widow Movie

On Tuesday Marvel announced its future film slate up till 2019. Of the nine films there’s two that really excited me (and a large portion of the internet) Black Panther and Captain Marvel. I’ve been wanting a Black Panther movie since I first met the character in the Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes animated series – one of the best animated series ever and I miss it terribly. I’ve been all for a female led superhero movie for ages and Captain Carol Danvers is a pretty great character for connecting the real world of The Avengers and the space-elements of Guardians of the Galaxy.

I still can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that Marvel have no plans to make a Black Widow movie though. Yes there’s talk that she’s going to have a major role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron and in other future team-up movies, but she deserves to be so much more than the sidekick.

I loved Black Widow’s role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I would love her to have her own movie so we could properly see her develop away from other characters like Cap and so we could find out about her backstory.

On Tumblr TheBeckyFord called for a Black Widow offensive before Marvel’s announcements were made. The plan is simple:

“On an agreed day (maybe a week from today, Sunday 2nd November to allow for awareness) everyone in support of a black widow movie tweets marvelentertainment using the hashtag #BlackWidowMovie demonstrating the wide fan base in favour of it. It’s a small gesture to be sure, but who knows. Encouragement doesn’t hurt. And mentioning that DC have female and people of colour led movies in the works can’t hurt either.”

The plan is still going ahead even though Marvel has now announced a female led movie and a person of colour led one. Just because Marvel is making one female-led movie it doesn’t mean ‘one’ suddenly means ‘equality’ what with all the other male (and more than likely white male) led films Marvel has announced are in production.

Just because Captain Marvel is having her own movie – why can’t Black Widow have her own film? It shouldn’t be a case of either/or. We should be able to get both movies.

both is good

So on Sunday I will be tweeting Marvel asking about a Black Widow movie and I hope you will be too – and don’t forget the hashtag #BlackWidowMovie

Here’s all the social media accounts you could possibly need:
@Marvel
@MarvelUK – there are also many other country specific Twitter accounts for Marvel but the Marvel Entertainment one is the most important
Marvel’s Facebook page
Marvel’s Tumblr page

Benedict Cumberbatch for Doctor Strange? Not for me thanks

I shall start this by saying I’m a Marvel fan. From the animated X-Men cartoon in the 1990‘s to the films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I’m now branching out into the comic books. Also my two dissertations have been on comic book movies and one was specifically all about Marvel and how it became an independent film studio to a subsidiary of Disney. So besides from being a fan, I also have at least a vague knowledge of how Hollywood studios work and how Marvel has worked for the past decade.

So now onto why I’m writing this post – Doctor Strange and why I’m not particularly happy.

Yesterday it was reported that Benedict Cumberbatch was in talks to play Doctor Stephen Strange. His was a name rumoured for the role for weeks and other names floating around were Joaquin Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Tom Hardy and Jared Leto – though to be honest, just about every white, middle-aged actor in Hollywood has been rumoured to be up for the role at some point or another.

Now talks of a Doctor Strange movie has been going around for a while but it especially kicked off when the name was dropped during Captain America: The Winter Solider. Fans were choosing who’d be their pick and mine was (and is) Oded Fehr from The Mummy. Fehr along with Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) turned out to be a popular choice among fans. A popular post on Tumblr of Doctor Strange fancasts include Fehr, Pascal, Alexander Siddig, Naveen Andrews and Godfrey Gao. One thing all these actors have in common is that they are not white.

Doctor Strange vs Oded Fehr - the similarities are astounding. Courtesy of @BlackGirlNerds

Doctor Strange & Oded Fehr – the similarities are astounding. Courtesy of @BlackGirlNerds

One problem that the MCU (and Hollywood blockbusters in general) has is that all its leads in its franchises are white men. Yes, The Avengers was an ensemble cast but of the six major leads, only Scarlett Johansen’s Black Widow was the only female character and she has yet to get her own movie. The lack of a female led film in the MCU is a discussion for another time.

Doctor Strange (like the Guardians of the Galaxy before the film came out) is more of an unknown character, this would then allow the filmmakers to do something different with it. So why not cast a person of colour as the lead? Also, why does the actor have to be someone who is so well known – both in the world of fandom and in the industry? Benedict Cumberbatch is part of some major franchises with Sherlock, The Hobbit and Star Trek under his belt, if Thor taught us anything, casting two relatively unknown actors as the leads can work out really well. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have both gone on to be well loved by fans and critics alike. Casting unknowns can be a cheaper way to make a movie and not detract from the character with their “star power”.

In short my dislike of Benedict Cumberbatch being Doctor Strange (a character I know pretty much nothing about bar the animated movie) comes down to two things. Over exposure to him as an actor and him being white. There are too many white male leads in the MCU and I’d love to see more diversity in the superhero comic book movie genre.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw also wrote a great piece about why there’s such a backlash towards Benedict Cumberbatch’s casting.

As I was finishing writing this, Marvel has announced that there will be a Captain Marvel film in 2018 and a Black Panther film in 2017 and I’m excited about both (Black Panther especially) but I’m still a bit upset that there’s no Black Widow movie though there’s still no definite announcement about Doctor Strange. Who knows, maybe Benedict Cumberbatch won’t sign on to it and there will be fresh hope for a person of colour to play Doctor Strange once again?

Getting into Comic Books

I have always loved comic book movies and TV shows – I adored X-Men: Evolution, Teen Titans and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and I got my dad to take me to see Spider-Man when I was 10 years old and have since gone to see just about every Marvel and DC movie in the cinema. So I love these characters, I love the films but I had never gotten around to trying the source material – the comic books.

Now don’t give me that “fake geek girl” nonsense because I have nothing to prove. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if the start is from the TV shows or a movie then that’s fine, and it’s also perfectly fine if they never feel like picking up a comic book in their life. Wikipedia is perfect at filling in the blanks of a characters backstory anyway.

My comic collection (minus Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon 'cos that's at home)

My comic collection (minus Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon ‘cos that’s at home)

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Re: Crazy About One Direction – How fans reacts to their idols

I watched the Crazy About One Direction documentary on Channel 4 last night and it simultaneously amazed me and left me a little speechless. (Obviously now I’m over the being speechless part.) It also made me think. While I do not believe that all One Direction fans are like the girls in the documentary I do believe that in any fan base there are extremes, so those girls do show a portion of One Directions fan base however big or small.

Listening to how some of the girls would react if they ever met the members of One Direction made me think about my attitude to “famous people.” I haven’t met many famous people at all but I’d like to think if I met Hugh Jackman, for instance, who was my first crush (besides Declan Donnelly) who plays one of my favourite characters I’d like to not come across as crazy and obsessive as those girls on Crazy About One Direction.

My only instance of meeting a famous person was when I met Dexter Fletcher at an advance screening of Welcome to the Punch. (Jason Flemyng also happened to be there but Dexter Fletcher was the focus of my attentions.) I was with my friend Amanda and she had to deal with me going on about how much I love Dexter Fletcher’s film and TV work (I think my love of secondary characters is down to Dexter Fletcher to be honest) when I saw him in the audience before the film started. Poor Amanda didn’t know who he was so she probably got bored very quickly. When it was time to leave the cinema screen we went to leave by the same exit as Dexter Fletcher and Jason Flemyng. They were talking I’d never thought I was one to get star struck but I was. I admit that I was just staring at him like a creepy person until Amanda jumped in and said “Dexter Fletcher, my friend wants to say hi.” (She’s awesome!) And FYI Dexter Fletcher is really nice. He shook my hand and asked my name and talked about the film a bit (I said I thought it was great) and then asked if I was into films then so I said I was currently in my final year at University studying film and I wanted to be a Unit Publicist. Jason Flemyng had been listening too and he said they always need Unit Publicist’s and they both wished me luck and I was internally freaking out.

The key word in that above sentence is “internally.” I believe I came across quite well (at least Amanda said I didn’t seem too weird.) I do know that afterwards I had a huge smile on my face and a spring in my step.

As someone who one day hopes to be working in the film industry, I think in the back of my mind I’m thinking “maybe one day I might be working with/for this person so I really don’t want to give them a bad impression.”

In my mind a famous person is just the same as anyone else – they just might be a little more talented in sports or music or acting. They might even be considered luckier as for every famous actor there’s a struggling actor-cum-waiter. Famous people are still people and if someone came up to me and started screaming in my face I’m pretty sure I’d want to take a step back from then rather than talk to them. So to have that every day, everywhere you go – I can’t really imagine what that would be like.

So in conclusion to this rather long blog, I think we can be as crazy and obsessive and appreciative of a celebrity as we like in front of a computer screen but when we’re in the public in front of the celebrity of our dreams, we must remember that they are human and that you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself in front of them. Like I said they are human and humans love laughing at others – and I for one would hate to be laughed at by Hugh Jackman.