Gender, Paratexts and Everyday Heroes? From #WheresRey to 'Chewbacca Mom'
Gender, Paratexts and
TO “THE CHEWBACCA MOM”
Luke Webster (@lukeweb) and Dr Tama Leaver (@tamaleaver)
Department of Internet Studies
1. Fan activity as paratext
2. Heightened networked connectivity,
transmedia and The Collective Journey
3. Questioning gender roles in superhero
The role of fans
• Collective intelligence
• Attracting new audiences
• Creating pathways and acting as guides
• Keeping a franchise within the zeitgeist
“Transmedia storytelling is the art
of world making.”
- Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, p. 21.
Shift to the Mothership Model
“Hollywood has shifted toward a
“mothership” approach; that is, the
focus is on one core property that may
be extended into other platforms
depending on the market response.”
- Henry Jenkins, Wired TV, pp. 246-7
Good transmedia implementation
requires an “architecture for dialogue”
-Jeff Gomez, C.E.O. Starlight Runner
“…the “peripherals” are often
anything but peripheral. Instead,
they often play a constitutive role
in the production, development
and expansion of a text.”
- Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately, p.175
Both protests about lack of
female character toys
reinforced the lack of strong
female character activity in
Avengers: Age of Ultron
#WheresRey reinforced the
prominence of strong female
20 May 2016
Candace Payne: Chewbacca
Chewbacca Mom Takes
James Corden to Work
The Star Wars Show
“Chewbacca Mom Holiday
Special” Hasbro Ad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knsbtus_f80 (23 Nov 2016)
Where do we go from here?
1. Gender is one example
2. Fan paratexts are important
3. Expect to see more everyday superheroes
Gomez, J. (2012, October 20). The 10 commandments of 21st century franchise production. Business Insider Australia.
Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-commandments-of-21st-century-franchise-production-2012-10
Gomez, J. (2015, December 1). The Collective Journey. Paper presented at ASCILITE Conference: Shaping the future of
tertiary education, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
Gomez, J. (2016, February 23). The Collective Journey: Transmedia and the rise of a new form of story. Paper presented
at The National Arts Club, New York, USA.
Gray, J. (2010). Show sold separately: Promos, spoilers, and other media paratexts. New York, USA: NYU Press.
Jenkins, H. (2006a). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York, USA: New York University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2006b). Fans, bloggers, and gamers: Exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2010, March 8). On anti-fans and paratexts: An interview with Jonathan Gray (part two). [Web log post].
Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2010/03/on_anti-fans_and_paratexts_an_1.html
Jenkins, H. (2014). The reign of the “mothership”: Transmedia’s past, present, and possible futures. In D. Mann (ed),
Wired TV: Laboring over an Interactive future. Retrieved from