Happy Anniversary Project Stardust!!

We can’t believe it has been one year since we launched Project Stardust! The support and encouragement has been astounding, showing us the very best of Star Wars fandom. There have been many challenges in bringing together a diverse group of fans, and we have learned so much – and know we will learn so much more! To celebrate, the team sat own & thought about why Stardust came to be, the shape of the fandom, our favourite moments (both with Star Wars & Stardust!), and had a bit of fun thinking about our Star Wars favourites (characters, jokes, and obscure trivia). Over the next week, we’re going to share a series of roundtables that celebrate everything Stardust & Star Wars. Thank you for your support & we look forward to Stardust’s future.  

What does Stardust mean to you?

Lee: Family, connection, support, and creativity.

Anna: Community.  Sisterhood.  Chosen Family

Liv: Oh wow. Everything? Stardust is family. It is a community unlike anything I have experienced before. Stardust is a promise made to anyone who has ever felt left out, marginalized or silenced, that our voices matter, that we deserve to be heard, that we all have unique experiences to bring to the table and we will always have a platform, regardless of how hard others may try to shut us out. Project Stardust is not just a creative outlet, it is a support system. We have each other’s back. The comfort I found within this project is the reason why I started writing again, after so many years of feeling like I couldn’t, and that is a gift of immeasurable value to me. Joining Project Stardust has felt like coming home in so many ways. I don’t know what I did to deserve these people, this family, but I will be forever grateful to Meg for founding it.

Kelly Lynn: In a word: Hope. Hope that fandom—and the world—can be a more just and equitable place.

Elena: Hope

Lauren: Stardust came about at a time where the world that we all knew had crumbled and we are still learning how to rebuild from the ashes some semblance of a normal life. During this year, there wasn’t a lot I could personally count on to be stable. I found myself reaching out more and more for the familiar joy that Star Wars brings to me. Finding this group of femme creators with amazing ideas and gorgeous brains and big hearts to engage with on these topics that I spend a lot of time thinking about was probably the best thing that could have happened to me and probably helped me hold onto my sanity. Through all the turmoil of this past year, there has been one safe place.

Vicky: Friendship and love

Emily: Short answer: everything. Long answer: a home, a safe space, a place to learn and educate myself both about fandom and the wider world. Friends. 

Bryn: A community where I won’t feel judged for expressing my likes or dislikes within the fandom.

Ash: Stardust is my family. Don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the last year without this group.

Nessa: Stardust means being able to sing about all of the things I love about Star Wars and feeling supported when I do. It means getting to see what all of these other amazing people love and what they feel passionate about in Star Wars and then sometimes bringing our interests together in a way that reveals new and amazing things about what we both love about Star Wars. Stardust means we are plentiful and we are light and we have a thousand stories to tell and a thousand stories to discover. 

Lindsay: Oh gosh. It is such a strong support system. A source of laughs. A team of teachers who open my eyes to new things. Friends who are there when times are tough but also in the happy shiny moments too. 

Jennie: Stardust is family. I honestly do not know where I’d be without them this past year. We celebrate, laugh, and cry with each other. We fight for one another when it may seem like no one else is in our corner. 

Meg: Love. Patience. Found family. We started this thing because people told me how much they wanted it to exist, and it’s become something I wish more of the fandom could be like. Welcoming and honest and hopeful.

Staci: I feel so attached to the team. You are my fangirl sisters! 

Stephenie: It’s exactly what the others have said: it’s a family where we share our love for Star Wars alongside our daily triumphs and struggles. Seeing everyone’s creativity and minds at work is constantly inspiring. 

Throwback to one of our favourite edits, by Lauren!

What is your favourite Stardust moment to date?

Lee: The constant support! 

Anna: Kelly complimenting my writing.  It really gave me a huge confidence boost

Liv: There are so many, but… just picking one, I’m going with seeing my first real article published on the site. When I joined Stardust, I said I could help with editing, and that I hoped one day I would be able to write something, but I didn’t really believe I could do it. I hadn’t written anything in so long, it felt impossible; even if I did put words on the page, who would want to read them? Why would anyone care what I had to say? But everyone else inspired and encouraged me to try. I also realized that part of the reason why I didn’t feel like I could do it was that previous experiences in the fandom had disincentivized me to even try—and I’d be damned if I was going to let those experiences dictate my life. There are more of us. Always. And seeing my article on the site was confirmation that I actually could do it. I wasn’t voiceless, and I was surrounded by others whose support made it all possible. I belonged.

Lisa: Launch day and the excitement we created on social media 

Lauren: All of it was my favorite. However, I think things became real for me when Dani drew our portraits and we got to introduce ourselves a bit to the SW internet. A million little things could have gone wrong between the time we said we were making a fan website and that moment. It happened! We did it! And now we’ve been making content for a year. 

Ash: All of our zoom calls. 

Emily: The first team zoom when we all collectively lost our minds at each other. Just pure joy.

Kelly Lynn: The way we came together and supported each other when a certain group of Star Wars “fans” started harassing us before we even launched. I think in that moment, we knew we’d hit a nerve, and that what we were doing was important. It also showed that we don’t crack under pressure, and we’ll always have each other’s backs. 

Nessa: I can only pick one?? There are so many little moments that speak to me — it’s mostly those moments when we’ve come together to support and uplift one another. If I can speak to some personal moments (I don’t know if that’s selfish?) but… we lost our dog Bellamy on Christmas Eve of 2020 and Stardust came together to give us so much comfort and love. We were gifted so many amazing memorial pieces for our boy and beautiful notes from the team to share that heartbreak and love… Nissa and I still can’t believe it. And that wasn’t even the only time it happened! Stardust has become such an amazing, beautiful, loving group of people that I am proud to call my friends.

Jennie: Getting to meet Steph, Lisa, Ash, and Patty in FL!

Meg: For me it’s still the very early Facebook group chat absolutely exploding less than a minute after I sent the first message. I wasn’t expecting anyone to respond. Within like an hour we had a name and a mission. I’ll never forget that.

Stephenie: Seeing the team working together, every day, whether to edit or just be there for each other as friends. 

Dusters on Batuu

What have your learned through Stardust?

Lee: That I’m probably neurodivergent in some way. Thanks Patty. And that I’m not alone.

Anna: That I am a better and more prolific writer than I thought I could be.

Liv: So many things… I feel like I’m continuously learning new things through Stardust! I learn new lore through our discussions. I learn more about editing and writing not only through doing it myself, but through having my own writing edited. Above all, though, I’m learning to be more comfortable with sharing my opinions without feeling like I’m taking up too much space, or immediately questioning why anyone would care about what I have to say. Building up my sad excuse for a self-confidence through Stardust is a very slow and grueling process, but it’s made easier by having a whole group of amazingly talented and wonderful people cheering me on!

Kelly Lynn: So much! More than I could express here. Most importantly, though, I’ve learned how to be a better human, friend, and fan.

Elena: Trust and freedom of expression. 

Lauren: I’m blown away every day that we have managed to build a community of femmes who support each other, stay committed to our values, and produce some outstanding content. I’ve been part of other groups who had the same mission. This is the project that actually taught me that it’s possible and I’m still trying to pick apart the “how” and figure out what’s different about this group, but as long as it’s possible, it truly is the hope the galaxy needs.

Vicky: Many humbling lessons, including that I still have a lot to learn. But also that there are many very good people in the world who are trying to lift each other up. And that we need more of us.

Emily: What a fully fledged bisexual academic former gifted kid burnt out gem I really am 

Bryn: That my specialized nerd knowledge is specialized in a more general sense than I thought!

Nessa: Again– just one thing? I’ve learned so much! I’ve learned to trust in my own writing and I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much more than I ever realized. I’ve learned about the biases and problems that underpin the fandom and the work I can personally do to dismantle them. I’ve learned that the terrible parts of fandom are not ALL of fandom and that beautiful things can and do happen. 

Lindsay: There are many ways to have a support system. I think I already knew this but Stardust solidifies it. 

Jennie: As an older member of Stardust, I’ve definitely gained more insight to how younger generations view the world and how they want to change it. I have also had the privilege of getting to know and understand more about the BIPOC and LBGTQIA+ communities. It was especially helpful in helping me support my Nibling and they came out.

Meg: Celebrating what we love about Star Wars and the community, and working to make it a healthier place to be for everyone, is the most important thing we can do together.

Staci: I have learned so much about femme voices even though I am female. Our culture is male heavy and I’m glad that it’s changing.

Princess Leia imposed over the Project Stardust symbol

What’s your Stardust dream?

Lee: A Stardust office building, where we all write and do fandom stuff for real money and never have to worry about yucky people ever again.

Anna: Galaxy’s Edge and a panel at Celebration.  OMG AN INTERVIEW WITH CLAUDIA GRAY. I might die if that happened.  Fangirling would commence. 

Liv:  Seeing as I’m so far away from everyone else geographically, just seeing everyone in person would be amazing, no matter where and how. But visiting Galaxy’s Edge all of us together would obviously be an absolute dream. And us one day having a panel at Celebration is a goal that I can’t wait for us to reach!

Lisa: To go to Celebration with the team! 

Kelly Lynn: I just want us all to be together in the same place for a weekend. I don’t care what we’re doing or why we’re there, or where we are. I just want to share space with everyone and enjoy everyone’s presence. 

Elena: Being able to go to Liv’s wedding and also meeting up with all the Stardusters. 

Lauren: My Stardust dream is that more Creators of Color see what we’re doing and want to become contributors. I would just be delighted to have more perspectives on Star Wars. I also hope we, as a group, can start making pilgrimages to Star Wars filming locations! Tunisia 2023???

Vicky: A Stardust trip to Galaxy’s Edge

Emily: Interview Adam Driver. Interview Mark Hamill. Carrie Fisher. Take a trip to a house on a lake and make blanket forts, eat tacos, and watch all the Star Wars while we share bits of lore with each other. 

Bryn: I would love to see some video content at some point. I don’t know if that’s short, silly videos like on TikTok, or deep dives like on YouTube, but adding a visual medium might be fun.

Ash: Celebration as a whole group

Nessa: Disney Trip. Like. All of us in Disney? Stardust Crashes Batuu? PLEASE, that would be the absolute dream. 

Lindsay: Ultimately, I would love for Stardust to be even better positioned to help others feel welcome, even if they aren’t part of our contributor team. I think there’s a whole undiscovered world out there for us to be advocates and allies for so many others, in ways big and small. We have just started to scratch the surface. Also… a group trip to Celebration or something where literally everyone is there. 

Jennie: I’d love for a big Stardust gathering that isn’t about a conference or theme park. Somewhere where we can chat, cook, drink, bond, and be creative. 

Meg:  I would love to do a Celebration panel someday.

Staci: It would be awesome for the whole team to be together in one place anywhere!

Stephenie: All of the above. But especially a group hug. 

Millennium Falcon at Galaxy's Edge
One Day, Smugglers, One Day.

Any other thoughts on Stardust?

Lee: I love you guys 😭

Anna: It’s everything I never knew I needed and am so happy to have found!

Kelly Lynn: I never dreamed of finding a community—a family, really—like this. I’m so grateful every day that I did!

Elena: ❤️

Vicky: I love you all!

Emily: I’m grateful everyday for you all 

Bryn: I’m just so happy to have found it.

Ash: We are the most awesomest.

Nessa: I can’t wait to see where we go from here. There are many opportunities ahead of us and a lot of changes for Stardust to keep growing in amazing ways. I want to see us continue expanding in our inclusivity and broadening the voices we uplift on our page. I cannot wait to see us grow and grow and grow.

Lindsay: I love everyone 😭 and I’m so grateful to be a part of this. 

Meg: We’ve been through a lot together in the past year, and it’s a true honor to work with so many passionate, loving people every day. It’s people like this that make the world brighter.

Stephenie: I am so proud of this team and everything we have accomplished and so, so excited for everything we are working on…. I’m going to go write that article now I promised Patty & Jennie…

Staci: I think this is just the beginning. Stardust is going to blossom!