In 2011, the Star Wars Actors Guild 77 learned that most Star Wars roleplayers were not on the same page, such as Facebook and Twitter, on large platforms of social media, reading lists, or understanding about roleplay as others. Most were not a part of the Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) Roleplaying groups or Dungeon & Dragons (D&D) type of roleplaying games.
SWAG77 created the Star Wars RolePlayer University (SWRPU) with a lot of collaboration. In 2012, SWAG77 had to change because Star Wars changed into Disney Lucasfilm, and therefore, storytelling and theme emphasis became different.
ReedPop organizes and manages Star Wars Celebration, and SWAG77 had a fan table. For our application to be accepted, Star Wars Celebration told us we could ONLY use canon characters in our roleplay. We had to keep the timelines of the stories, and the storylines remain unchanged.
What that means is:
We could only use the Star Wars’ canon; hence, no original characters (OCs). Of course, there were no specifications between the Star Wars Expanded Universe (SWEU) or Legends Canon and the Disney Lucasfilm Current Canon. So, of course, SWAG77 took advantage of the lack of definition of that in 2012.
Timeline means that Darth Revan cannot interact with Darth Vader and fight physically with or against him, defeating Darth Vader to be the big evil villain. That means Disney Lucasfilm wants us to maintain the timeline delineation of Darth Revan is Knights of the Old Republic vs. Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back in our roleplays. Of course, Force Ghosts happen, but Sith is rarely Force Ghosts in Legends Canon, but in Disney Canon, who knows? It is the story that SWAG77 does to determine that. Besides, a deleted scene in Star Wars: The Clone Wars has Darth Revan speaking to the Mortis god Son.
Star Wars Celebrations demanded the SWAG77 does not change the story of Star Wars. Anakin Skywalker turns into Darth Vader, and Darth Vader fights his son, Luke Skywalker, who defeats his father, but never entirely turns to the Dark Side, mainly in the movies and not the novels. SWAG77 decided that we would roleplay as close to the canon as we possibly can. Our storylines have to be plausible. That takes a lot of work. It is why many Star Wars fans hate SWAG77. The work it takes is to read the books to understand the reasoning behind the stories and plots fully. That means ALL THE BOOKS comprehends how it became the presentation in a novel, TV show, and movie. ALL THE BOOKS means Legends and Disney Canons. There cannot be a distinction. When a fan reviews Star Wars literature, which means novels, reference books, comics, gamer books, and magazines, the theme behind a particular story and characters will be realized and understood. Reviewing the literature is not just going to an annotated website and reading it. It mainly includes the books. That means a fan gets them. Most fans are not going to do that. They do not see a reason to do it.
Then there are Star Wars fans who are literary writers, but not Star Wars authors. Most authors have invested in creative writing and understanding the story development process. Literary writers train for storytelling by their creativity. SWAG77 sees that as remarkable; however, while it helps to clarify the prose written, it may not be the canon of Star Wars. It may not feel like Star Wars. Performance as roleplay is not fanfiction. Roleplay is an improvisation based on the performers agreeing to the actions in the script. It does not use literary tropes. Literary writers become frustrated because it messes with their understanding of comparative analysis, which they have legitimately invested a lot of time to do. However, to circumvent that, literary writers are very good with the screenplay’s meta-analysis that roleplay performance can do. It is a TEST to see if their stories resonate with the audience. This action is what SWAG77 has always wanted to do but has not coordinated successfully due to a misunderstanding between literary writers and what they see roleplayers do, which is not always good.
Then there are the limitations of social media. For some reason, large platform social media will change their operations on their program because — reasons. Facebook and Twitter have severe word restrictions searched by Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) because of real-life issues with misinformation. Sometimes specific accounts are targeted, often after the post with an image has been places several months to a year ago. This event causes the lead account to be suspended or deplatformed deleted due to a whole misunderstanding of the intent of roleplay to provide entertainment and drama. SWAG77 has written both companies SEVERAL times. SWAG77 appealed to Disney and Lucasfilm, and while Lucasfilm is nice enough to reply, they still do not understand what roleplay is — they see it as a hobby that teenagers do. NONE of these companies see it the way SWAG77 wants the audience to see it.
The way the Star Wars Actors Guild 77 has always wanted fans to see our roleplays occurred in 2009-2010. ONCE on Twitter! We decided on the roleplay script spontaneously, and we organized it where all roleplayers understood their role in the roleplay and what we wanted to accomplish. The dialogue was improvised, which is very hard to do. We had three tasks we wanted the audience to see: The conflict, the script was a love plot type, and the action was severe. Then we performed. That performance — heavenly sigh — we roleplay performed it flawlessly that looked like we just broke out (like a performance in the park mob). SWAG77 thought NO ONE was watching. That was WRONG. Many people watched this performance like a soap opera since we interacted daily and took test drives of our characters and plots. Then crushing ending caused the most extraordinary reaction. We ended the performance like a cliffhanger because we thought that no one watched the performance, then suddenly, all roleplay performers’ DMs exploded. SWAG77 quickly decided what they would do in 5 minutes. We had a choice: either play the plot where it lies or change it. It is ROLEPLAY, and the story rules are loose. Moreover, roleplay is like a soap opera and an angsty one, and drama makes the best content. SWAG77 chose to go the pure soap opera route — the DUN DUN DUN reveal. Then, our DMs exploded again for the result. Then we added a side denouement according to the Star Wars story, which is another DUN DUN DUN!
Back then, it was exhilarating, but it takes high trained roleplayers or actors who understand IMPROV and D&D-type activities or productions and the willingness to risk one’s character for respawn. However, a well-written roleplay performance script clarifies each performer’s roles and has vital tasks to accomplish without egos.
Egos are the biggest problems for Roleplay Performance. Roleplayers often think their character, usually a canon character is holy and untouchable, even when scripted. No egos. To minimize surprise, provide the deviation points that either change the outcome or converge back to the decided outcome. At any rate, SWAG77 wanted to be a resource for those who would want to test different outcomes that resonate with an audience without several rewrites and determine the best plan for their work. But egos have severely encumbered SWAG77.
Right now, several years later, SWAG77 portrays Star Wars characters like most other Star Wars fans. We also write fanfics. It looks like we are like any other fan or fan group. But we crave to roleplay perform like previously. It was our entertainment until it became overwhelming to some performers, mediocre plots with emotional dumps rather than action, and not Star Wars-related stories. Right now, SWAG77 is in stasis for far too long and almost to irrelevance. Then another group will do what we did and be successful, which depressing.
But the RP fun is forever.
Link to Star Wars Actors Guild 77 site