Collection: Essays Examining Franchise Storytelling

deadline for submissions: 
July 16, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Rhonda Knight / Coker Col. and Donald Quist / U. of Missouri
contact email: 

We Want the Wilderness: Essays Examining Franchise Storytelling


We contend that inventive storytelling within media franchises, such as Star Wars and Marvel, becomes hampered by the commercial needs of business on one side and the fans’ desires for continuity and references—in the forms of callbacks—on the other. We Want the Wilderness: Essays Examining Franchise Storytelling will look for moments when content producers were able to skillfully negotiate (or avoid all together) these dual pressures or, conversely, when these pressures created insurmountable obstacles to storytelling.

The title of the collection acknowledges the term from Doctor Who fandom, The Wilderness Years, which refers to the years that Doctor Who was not being produced as a TV series (1989-2005). In these years, both fans and established content producers explored the world of Doctor Who in various forms ranging from novels to webcasts, and in doing so produced some innovative narratives that fueled the fandom until the 2005 reboot.

This collection seeks essays about wilderness texts, texts that overcome commercial and fan pressures to create new stories, or stories that push the boundaries within their own franchises. Essays on original media, reboots, spin-offs, and remakes welcomed. We are also interested in examinations of wilderness content that “gets lost” in its attempt to reinvent source material, failing to produce compelling new narratives within pre-existing frameworks. The work of Henry Jenkins, John Tulloch, Manuel Alvarado, and John Fiske informs our contention; therefore, we encourage, but do not require, essays that similarly engage in fan theory, fan studies or media studies.

Possible subjects for essays might include but are not limited to:

  • The merits and detriments of shared universes
  • Torchwood in the Doctor Who Universe
  • Doctor-Lite episodes of Doctor Who
  • Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (hereafter, MCU)
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Netflix seriesin the MCU
  • Marvel’s Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I E.L.D. in the MCU
  • Logan in the X-Men Universe
  • Deadpool in the X-Men Universe
  • Rogue One in the Star Wars Universe
  • Prometheus in the Alien Universe
  • Storytelling and/or getting lost in the D.C. Cinematic Universe
  • Storytelling and wilderness moments in any other universe, including the Star Trek Universe, the Supernatural Universe, the Whedonverse, or the Potterverse.

Please send a 300-350 word abstract to Rhonda Knight ( and Donald Quist ( by July 16th, 2018. If your abstract is accepted, the full essays of  5,000 to 7,000 words will be due December 15th, 2018. Please note that submission of an abstract and or paper does not guarantee publication.