The Middle Geeks Episode 17: MENA in the Stars and Middle Earth

We’re excited to have on TV writer, blogger, and Star Wars fan Arezou Amin on to discuss the long history of MENA people being excluded from Science Fiction and Fantasy media. Why are we constantly ousted from stories that were, in fact, inspired by works based on the Middle East and our culture? Where could we even find ourselves? We discuss Arezou’s project with Postcards from the Galaxy’s Edge featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Star Wars fans, and what she and the podcast hoped to achieve with it. We also discuss various DCTV news, including the Legends of Tomorrow panel at DC FanDome and the future of Zari and Behrad Tarazi in Season 6, Supergirl ending with Season 6, and Caity Lotz’s bufoonish tweets, and the news that Alia Shawkat is creating and starring in a series based on her family’s Iraqi immigrant experience!

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The Rise of Disney and the Future of Fantasy in the Shadow of the Empire

When I first saw The Force Awakens after a fully funded summer media apparatus of hype in the winter of 2015, I remember the following Christmas morning my mother turned the corner, threw me a Force Awakens pillow, and coldly chuckled “Merry Christmas.” It was a good joke — like many the Force is moderately strong in my family — but it left me to wonder, what Christmas spirit at Walmart possessed my Mom to buy me this gift? I suspect my mother may have unknowingly become a Disney market research statistic. But after the last five years and our predestined Rise of Skywalker, I am largely left to ask the same question.

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‘Lost’ Legacies: How to Re-imagine Sacred Nerd Texts

Before December 2019 ends, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on one of the most significant pop culture artifacts of the year. This is the month, after all, in which one of the co-creators of the iconic series Lost gave us a critically acclaimed and universally praised ninth episode of a series that breathed new life into a franchise that had not been this beloved since the mid-1980s. By shifting the focus away from the historically white male heroes of the original and toward a story centering women and people of color, the creators had to also confront the toxic — and often racist — fan culture that had laid claim to the property for over thirty years. Plus, they were able to do all of this without the consent of the property’s original creator.

Of course, I’m talking about Watchmen on HBO.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 8: The State of MENA Representation in Hollywood and Star Wars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year on The Middle Geeks! Star Wars time! But is it really though, with the latest release of The Rise of Skywalker? Swara and Mae discuss, getting into what they liked about the film, as well as the issues they had with it and the Sequel Trilogy as a whole. Note that this is a SPOILER discussion. But before that, we get into the month of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) representation highs and lows, from the high of having an Arab-American hero introduced to Marvel Comics to the low of Aladdin star Mena Massoud not getting a single audition due to Hollywood racism, even after his film made a billion dollars. We still have a long way to go!

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Some Things are Stronger than Blood: The Core Theme of ‘Star Wars’

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The latest and final installment of the Skywalker saga of Star Wars is now out in theaters. In The Rise of Skywalker, the Resistance must face the First Order once more, in the midst of the mysterious return of Emperor Palpatine.

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Hard NOC Life: The Last Rogue Force Awakens One Solo Jedi

With Rise of Skywalker and the end of the Skywalker Saga at the end of the month to look forward to, Hard NOC Life is going to be a Star Wars podcast for the month of December. Because there aren’t enough Star Wars podcasts on the internet! Each week, Dominic and Keith will be breaking down a different trilogy that make up the beloved Star Wars franchise.

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Kelly Marie Tran Stars in ‘Passenger List,’ a New Audio Drama Premiering Today

That’s right, you do not have to wait ’til December’s release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to hear from Kelly Marie Tran, because she stars in Passenger List, a new mystery thriller podcast arriving today from Radiotopia! Our favorite Space Asian actor voices the lead character Kaitlin Le in this fictional narrative involving “a missing plane, a cabin full of suspects, a search for truth.”

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#RallyForRose Episode II Photo Gallery

We held our second annual “Rally For Rose” during San Diego Comic-Con on July 20. Even though we were competing with Marvel Studios’ Hall H panel, we were able to turn out several supporters and raise some money for both Alliance San Diego and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. The rally — which, this year, consisted of a march (or a “Rose Parade,” if you will) that started at the IMDboat and made its way to the Hilton Bayfront and was covered by Variety and NPR. All the while drawing attention to the importance of representation for all marginalized communities.

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Join the #RoseParade at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

This year marks the 50th anniversary of San Diego Comic-Con, and the one-year anniversary since a crowd of Rose Tico cosplayers gathered at Bayfront Park to show their support for Kelly Marie Tran. And we’re doing it all over again! This time, we’re planning to march in a “Rose Parade” from the Convention Center to the NOC Meetup at the Hilton on Saturday, July 20. Let us know you’ll be part of the parade on Facebook!

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#RallyForRose Photo Gallery

This weekend during Comic-Con International in San Diego, nearly 40 people gathered in cosplay and Rose Tico t-shirts outside the Hilton Bayfront for the first ever “Rally For Rose,” including folks such as author C.B. Lee and Marvel’s New Warriors actress Kate Comer.  Our Rally even got the attention of several media outlets like CNET, Rolling Stone, Nerdist, Business Insider, and the Los Angeles Times, to name a few. Oh, and the Rally got tweeted by Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill.

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Hard NOC Life: Shawn Joins Keith to Break Down the Week in Pop Culture

Welcome to a new era of Hard NOC Life! Starting with this episode, Shawn Taylor joins as the permanent co-host alongside Keith Chow as they break down the week that was in nerd pop culture.

Episode 115: “Bathing in Fanboy Tears

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Rally for Rose Tico at San Diego Comic-Con

It goes without saying that we are huge fans of Rose Tico and  Kelly Marie Tran here at The Nerds of Color. Unfortunately, there’s a significant portion of Star Wars fandom that doesn’t agree. Even worse, they’ve taken their disdain for a fictional character and used it to harass the actress so much that she had to delete her Instagram.

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Breaking Down ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

All week, rabid Star Wars fans have been debating the merits of the most recent entry into the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Kelly Marie Tran, Carrie Fisher, and Luke Skywalker, The Last Jedi has proven to be the most polarizing entry in the Lucasfilm canon. To break down what they thought of the movie, Keith invited his DC TV Classics co-host Britney Monae.

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and Moving Beyond Nostalgic Ownership

To properly analyze Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you have to go beyond the trappings of fandom and look at the movie as a part of a larger product of Disney/Lucasfilm storytelling. Approaching this as anything other than a corporate juggernaut mainly concerned with moving merchandise and building the next generation of consumers will result in total anger, confusion, and regret. This might sound cynical and cold, but it’s only the acknowledgment that Hollywood cinema is big business and sometimes actual art will slip through the image factory despite their best efforts to curtail imagination and wonder.

I’m not saying The Last Jedi lacks imagination or wonder, but there’s definitely a middling corporate influence throughout the movie that simultaneously keeps the movie in an inoffensive zone of bland character moments while setting up Rian Jonhson’s long-term vision for the Star Wars franchise.

What makes The Last Jedi interesting, though, is that it deliberately erases the nostalgic underpinnings of the Star Wars saga being about the Skywalker clan. Now this is where you see a lot of online outrage regarding The Last Jedi (even when you remove the knee-jerk right-wing racist backlash to the movie being “too diverse“) with the main complaint is that it “feels different” than previous Star Wars films.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

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The Star Wars Liberals Want

As is customary whenever a new Star Wars film is about to come out, Vanity Fair runs a special edition with gorgeous photographs by the renowned Annie Liebovitz. The Last Jedi is no exception since the magazine just released four special variant covers to this year’s Star Wars issue. They’re all great, but one photo definitely stands out the most for us nerds of color:

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May the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars Be With You

Hard NOC Life is back with a special episode dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Star Wars! Keith is joined by the hosts of Desi Geek Girls, Swapna Krishna and Preeti Chhibber, to talk about their experience meeting Riz Ahmed and Mark Hamill at Star Wars Celebration, Rogue One and the increasingly diverse galaxy, the need for more women of color in Star Wars, and why Rebels is the best!

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An Asian American Woman is the Hero of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This morning was the long anticipated Last Jedi panel at the annual Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, and it didn’t disappoint. In addition to seeing Force Awakens breakouts John Boyega and Daisy Ridley reunite on stage, the world was officialy introduced to Kelly Marie Tran. Even better? We finally got a sense of who her mysterious character is and how she fits in the saga.

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