The analogue strikes back: Star Wars, star authenticity, and cinematic anachronism



Fleming DH & Knee A (2020) The analogue strikes back: Star Wars, star authenticity, and cinematic anachronism. Celebrity Studies, 11 (2), pp. 205-220.

As if responding to the widespread condemnation of George Lucas's 'CGI-heavy' prequel Star Wars trilogy, J.J Abrams’s 2015 'reboot' The Force Awakens displays an extreme reliance upon star presence and authentic practical effects, to an extent that produces significant textual effects at a variety of levels. We here show how the film is premised upon and preoccupied with the authentic and authenticating presence of the main stars of the first wave of Star Wars productions (1977-83). However, on this outing we also expand what traditionally counts as a star 'actor' beyond the likes of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford courtesy of actor-network theory and recent 'media archaeology' trends. Indeed, Abrams proclaimed that his Star Wars film would hark back to a more 'authentic' aesthetic, by employing Panavision cameras and vintage Kodak stock, among other things, to capture images of the legacy stars, and other practical and animatronic effects. Consideration of these non-human 'actors' here helps us to re-perceive the role of 'zombie media' forms that move into composition with human stars to enhance the marketing and enjoyment of an authentic Star Wars experience.

Star Wars; Harrison Ford; Carrie Fisher; Mark Hamill; Analogue Technology; Kodak Film; Panavision Cameras; Actor-network-theory;

Celebrity Studies: Volume 11, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online22/01/2019
Date accepted by journal21/12/2018
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Dr David Fleming
Dr David Fleming

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture