The Star Wars Actors Guild 77 Project Campaigns
While Disney Corporation, Lucasfilm Limited, and others cannot review fan-made material and intellectual property, fan groups can advocate ideas to relay to the Corporation through direct action, grassroots activism, and letter-writing campaigns. The Star Wars Actors Guild 77, as consumers and sellers of Disney Lucasfilm Star Wars products, books, and activities, thinks that at some point, Disney hears public voices as a public service. Disney is well aware of this action and knows that it needs to have positive interaction with the public and fans.
Some fan groups are belligerent and intrusive. SWAG77, as a fan-based group, knows that is not the best outreach to Disney. Moreover, letters get lost in the system, and responses are absent as if Disney is silent to some fans’ inquiries. It feels hopeless, and fans feel unheard. Fans have become resentful toward the Corporation and create a fabricated hate action against targeting other fans and fan groups who are patient. SWAG77 was targeted in 2014 by toxic fans that mass reported our social media accounts to deplatform us with our activities. They said that only by violent protest will Disney Lucasfilm hear their concerns. Part of their violence against SWAG77 is posting hate messages, and the owner of SWAG77, Dr. Gina Moore, an African American woman was named to white supremacist groups online for harassment. The social media company did nothing to protect her.
Dr. Moore worked on the Obama Affordable Cares Act in 2009 – 2010. As a college student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1987, she marched with Hosea King for the right to move to Forsyth County and saw the Klu Klux Klan for the first time. In 1988, Dr. Moore joined Amnesty International and added to the books to end Apartheid in South Africa. In graduate school at San Diego State University (SDSU) and University of California San Diego (UCSD), she advocated for graduate student rights, diverse student rights and created a scientific review journal article club for a group of African American students. As an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, Incorporated from college to current, she has been active in advocating voting rights since her mother, an AKA member, was water cannoned in Nashville, Tennessee 1962 voter rights. With a real-life track record of activism, Dr. Moore’s skills could transfer to Star Wars project campaigns that Disney executives are willing to hear. Because of Dr. Moore’s scientific career, she efficiently organized public health forums in 2005-2007. Her interactions included Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Swedish Hospital Systems. She did the Star Wars campaign action on a dare to prove to too toxic fans that Disney executives would listen.
The project and campaign that worked is the “Get Thrawn In” campaign. Grand Admiral Thrawn, since 1991 has been a beloved character in the Star Wars Legends canon. Dr. Moore saw this character, Mitth’raw’nuruodo — a blue-skinned, red-eyed Chiss species as low-hanging fruit that would please most fans and be profitable for Disney Star Wars through books and comics, toys, and games. The possibilities were endless.
While true, SWAG77 learned that Thrawn was on a character list to cast in productions in 2014; this character seemed like he was low on that list at that time. Many others could be considered and are just as legitimate as bringing Thrawn back from obscurity. In 2015, SWAG77 interviewed Tom Kane, the voice of so many animated Star Wars characters, such as Yoda. We asked him to say a quote from Grand Admiral Thrawn, and when he did, Dr. Moore knew Thrawn was the character to create a project for a grassroots fan-led campaign. In 2015, most new Star Wars fans, when asked about this character, said, “Thrawn who?” Long-time fans wished Dr. Moore luck and discounted her efforts.
A handful of fans were very supportive, such as Brittney Becker, Ashley Arceneaux, Tony Borgheinck, and Jake Carlson. We divided tasks into reasons to add back and direct actions on social media and arts and crafts for children. We tested many ideas for fans. But what worked are two actions, to convince fans to add Thrawn back to canon, we had a fan table at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in 2015. We educated fans about Thrawn, which novels to read, handed out stickers, and gave any Thrawn cosplayer sock “ysalamiri” puppets created by Brittney Becker, who is disabled and worked tirelessly for this cause. The other action SWAG77 to think pieces or “bluepapers” (as we called it) convince Disney to hear SWAG77 position. But we genuinely think what swayed them was asking, “DOES DISNEY SUPPORT ART?”
Because one of the direct quotes to Thrawn notoriety is, “Learn about art…for if you understand the art, you understand the species.”
Dr. Moore knew that Disney knows a lot about art since Walt Disney started the company. However, in 2014-2015, there was not much in public art consumption the Disney sponsored. Art directors and artists produced art, and Star Wars fans missed the appreciation of art back then. Art competitions or gallery showings for Star Wars art were not easily accessible for fans. Moreover, Star Wars fans were quite illiterate about several artists’ masterpiece works, such as Klimt, Jackson Pollock, Monet, Renoir, Basquiat, or Banksy, to name a few. SWAG77 felt that the character Thrawn could support art appreciation by his canon art analyses to educate children about art and encourage them to become artists. Or at least know art well enough to purchase it. SWAG77 thought this task convinced Disney the most because all those who produce shows and movies are creative artists, and they love. Respect art so much that they knew this character, Mitth’raw’nuruodo could be promoted with Disney’s vast resources in marketing the higher ideal goal of supporting the arts.
And Dr. Moore has fun with the art concept. Some of the Twitter accounts that showcase masterpieces knew who Thrawn is, and they seem a bit timid to have Thrawn analyze the art. A few people asked SWAG77’s Thrawn portrayal account if he was going to purchase art from a gallery show as if one speaks to a physical cosplayer, Thrawn answered accordingly. SWAG77 knows fans are watching that dynamic on social media, and they discuss it among their friends, who exponentially expand the reach. That is another avenue that Disney could pursue.
In conclusion, the Star Wars Actors Guild 77 develops projects for roleplay performance as a grassroots, direct activism to ask Disney Lucasfilm Limited under Star Wars to listen to fans who present and debate the validity of concepts will be beneficial to fans. We think it is not fan-servicing because fan servicing is begging Disney through puerile and superfluous stunts to offend both the company and the fans. SWAG77 is uninterested in pursuing our campaigns by those abusive tactics. SWAG77 wants to be inclusive and, most of all, creative in our pursuits. We think we are uniquely positioned, qualified in leadership with real-world experience to bend Disney executives’ ears to hear us out respectfully.