Reading Imperial documents: Exploring the discourses of the Star Wars Galaxy in its epistolary paratexts

Tonguc Sezen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


At least since early-1990s, ancillary publications claiming to be authentic documents originating from the galaxy far far away have accompanied Star Wars’ transmedia corpus. Written in the form of institutional reports, educational manuals, ideological texts, propaganda posters, and similar non-fictional documents, these “epistolary paratexts” offered unique glimpses into the dominant and alternative discourses of the Star Wars Galaxy from within. They systematically curated and reorganized information on the inner workings of the fictional universe of Star Wars to provide coherence and verisimilitude for the fans but also to evoke trust and devotion in the citizens of the galaxy. Transforming alongside other Star Wars media, they reflected the shifts of power within the fictional universe of Star Wars. Through their palimpsests, they presented sometimes clashing official and private narratives on the events of the films and beyond from a first-person perspective. They combined the object-oriented materiality of extra-diegetic reference sources with the make-believe of fictional narratives within the mimicry of factual narratives.
This paper will explore the construction of conflicting discourses of the Star Wars Galaxy in its epistolary paratexts, focusing on alleged authors’ viewpoints and the functions of the documents. Documents allegedly produced by different factions at different points of the Star Wars/Lucasfilm history will be compared. The effects of their mimicry of non-fictional forms on their relation to contemporary cultural practices and social discourses will be discusses.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2021
EventRealizing Resistance Episode II: Uncharted Galaxies: An Interdiciplinary Conference on the Star Wars Universe - Online Event, United States
Duration: 4 May 20217 May 2021


ConferenceRealizing Resistance Episode II: Uncharted Galaxies
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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