About two and half years ago, I first came across an exciting documentary project exploring female and non-binary fans in Star Wars and how the figure and influence of General (née Princess) Leia has shaped, guided and informed their lives. My wife and I happily spared what we could to help get the thing funded, inspired as much by our own little girl on the way as we were both us just beginning to enter fandom.
It’s one of those pleasant little coincidences that getting involved in the Star Wars community came as the documentary was racing towards its funding target. You see, although I’d always been a fan of the franchise, on and off again, it wasn’t until The Force Awakens that my love went into overdrive. When that first fifteen-minute sizzle reel from the documentary was released, it was like diving headfirst into this beautiful, inclusive and exciting world of fandom – one that was free from all the toxicity and machismo. It felt safe, welcoming and something I could be a part of.
From this sizzle reel I first discovered Skytalkers which not only became the first Star Wars podcast I ever listened to, but one of my absolute favourites. Through them I have discovered so many other outlets exploring the saga in smart, funny and engaging ways. I was quickly inspired to start my own outlet – not a podcast, but this very site. It’s my own small corner of the fandom, somewhere my wife and I can share our thoughts, feelings and opinions as well as chronicling our own efforts to raise our daughter as a Star Wars fan. She’ll be two in March and, so far, my little rebel is coming along in leaps and bounds.
I was delighted at finally being able to watch the documentary – now a docuseries – in its entirely. My wife and I sat down and spent the evening watching through each section, covering everything from fan creators and droid builders, to cosplayers and the legacy of Carrie Fisher herself. That last one was what eventually pushed me over from feeling deeply touched, to full blown crying.
Looking for Leia is a wake-up call to the world at large that female and non-binary fans are not only a part of Star Wars but have been there from the very beginning. These people have formed, shaped and guided everything we know about fandom and continue to make, create and support to this day. It hasn’t always been an inclusive, welcoming space for everyone, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but like Leia herself, the documentary offers hope. That’s something I cling to and cherish in these dark, uncertain times as I think about fandom now, and my daughter’s future. Hope.
The docuseries is scheduled for a multiplatform debut on Saturday, December 21. All seven episodes will be available on SYFY.com, VOD, YouTube, and NBCU’s OneApp.