Jump In: An Easy Entry into Star Wars

Star Wars at Dragon Con launched their 2021 virtual programming on Dragon Con TV’s Main Channel 2 Thursday evening when track director Brandy Roatsey welcomed Daniel Eisenhauer, Alex Damon (@StarWarsExplain), Myles Willis, and Bria LaVorgna (@chaosbria) to answer the question how does one enter the world of Star Wars?  

The panel agreed that anyone interested in the franchise should enter through the films. The debate, however, centered on the issue of order. The discussion broke in two directions: release order versus chronological sequence. Damon argued for release order because he appreciated the references in the prequels and sequels that point toward the original series of films. LaVorgna argued for a universe chronological order but ultimately concluded that the answer is often generational. Each trilogy, original (1978–1983), prequel (1999–2005), and sequel (2015–2019), introduced Star Wars in a unique way to a new audience. 

The question of TV series recommendations fell into the same generational context. Willis entered the world of Star Wars through The Clone Wars, which ran for seven seasons (2008–2020). Rebels offered another entry point which, along with the hugely successful The Mandalorian, stand as LaVorgna’s TV series recommendations. Damon characterized The Mandalorian as a Star Warsgateway drug.” He sees it as perhaps the most accessible because of its scope, introducing new fans to a wide variety of important Star Wars elements and characters. 

Turning to print, LaVorgna and Damon recommended the work of Claudia Gray. Her Lost Stars novel retells the original trilogy through the perspective of two lifelong friends who wind up on opposite sides of the conflict. Bloodline is another Gray title the panel highly recommended. The focus on Gray’s work led to some conversation about books written for young adults. There is a tendency among some fans to shy away from Young Adult” (YA) books based upon a kind of ageism in which a reader dismisses the work just because of its designation. Damon once spoke with Gray about the issue and her response was to remind him that Star Wars is about young adults! So, it’s a mistake to shun stories simply because of their age designation. Another panel recommendation is the short story collection From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars) which tells the stories of the supporting characters” in the original film. As for comics Damon recommends anything with Charles Soule’s name on it. His Star Wars: Lando, a five-issue story, is a great introduction to the genre. LaVorgna pointed viewers to Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader series which introduced one her favorite franchise characters: Doctor Aphra.  

When the panel turned its attention to video games their recommendations focused on two very successful and popular games, Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) and Star Wars: Fallen Order (2019).  

As the session wound down the panel distilled the conversation down to a single, fundamental recommendation: find what interests you and jump in! 

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