It’s our great pleasure to welcome the team behind Star Wars Explained, Alex and Mollie Damon.

FT: Alex, Mollie, thanks for joining us here on Fantha Tracks to talk all things Star Wars. Could you share your earliest Star Wars memories with us?

Alex: Seeing a Darth Vader cosplayer in downtown Atlanta. That sparked my interest in the franchise, and then my parents took me home and showed me Star Wars on a VHS that they had taped off of TBS.

Mollie: I remember seeing the OT on VHS with my parents but I think what I remember more is seeing Episode I in theatres’ in my friends from school and being blown away.

FT: What’s your funniest Star Wars experiences?

Alex: Probably dressing up in the gold bikini with a bunch of friends at Dragon Con.

Mollie: Mine would be dressing in a green jump suit at Jabba walking around with a bunch of dudes in gold bikinis haha.

FT: What’s been your most enjoyable Star Wars experience?

Alex & Mollie: Star Wars Celebration, easily. We’ve only been to Orlando and Chicago, but it was amazing both times. Overwhelming, but in the best way.

FT: Who is the biggest Star Wars fan between you?

Alex: I’ve been obsessed with it for longer, but Mollie definitely has her areas where her fandom outshines mine. Like Grogu.

Mollie: Yeah Alex is a lifelong Star Wars fan – my love for it has certainly grown much bigger since the sequel trilogy.

FT: Did you collect Star Wars figures or other memorabilia when you were growing up?

Alex: Yes? I wouldn’t have called it collecting, I opened them up and played with them.

Mollie: After The Force Awakens came out I started collecting Star Wars Funko Pops and now we have over 300! And yes, my Grogu collection is never ending.

FT: Have you kept hold of your childhood collections?

Alex: Yes, but when I went off to college I gave away all my action figures to some friends of the family who had young boys. I kind of always regretted that, and a couple years ago my parents got them all back for my birthday, because those boys had aged out of them.

Mollie: I didn’t really collect anything Star Wars as a kid but I did had a nerf gun shaped like the Falcon that shot little foam discs.

FT: Has Star Wars collecting followed you into adulthood?

Alex: Comparing myself to other fans, I’d say no. I tend to collect around characters or specific stories. I have everything Biggs and Max Rebo I can find. I have a little shrine to Fallen Order. But I definitely don’t get every Black Series that comes out, for example. I think people would be surprised at how small my collection is.

Mollie: My Funko obsession blossomed in my adulthood hah.

FT: What are the favourites amongst your collection?

Alex: The Biggs helmet Mollie got me for my birthday one year is great. I also have a Comic-Con exclusive Biggs Funko Pop! That is kind of rare. And I have a replica of Cal’s lightsaber from Fallen Order that I love.

Mollie: Mine is the Graflex handle I found at an old job I had dealing with old camera parts. It’s so cool to have a piece of history that was used to create the first lightsaber in A New Hope.

FT: Is there a holy grail on your collection wish list?

Alex: At one point it would have been that Biggs Funko Pop! So I guess I need to find something new. Maybe Biggs’ real helmet if that ever goes up on charity auction.

Mollie: At the moment the Queen Amidala Funko Pop is on my wish list.

FT: When growing up, did you submerse yourself in Star Wars literature?

Alex: Yep! My friend and I had basically a Star Wars book club on the bus every morning. We lived down the street from each other and I vividly remember discussing what chapter of Heir to the Empire we would read through that night. And then in the morning we’d discuss what we’d read. We did that with a lot of the Legends books.

Mollie: I never read any Star Wars books until I was an adult and after we started the channel. I’m not a big reader but some of my favorite books are Star Wars books now!

FT: Do you have a preference for written or graphic novels?

Alex: I guess written. I don’t really have a reason why, I just never got into comics growing up but loved to read. Even now I only read Star Wars comics.

Mollie: I’ll also say written – but I was big into Sailor Moon manga when I was younger.

FT: Anything you haven’t gotten around to yet?

Alex: I haven’t read the Adventures in Wild Space or Join the Resistance series. I have them all I just haven’t set aside the time to read them.

Mollie: There are LOTS I haven’t read but right now the next on my list are the High Republic books!

FT: Is there any upcoming Star Wars literature you are looking forward to?

Alex: I am so psyched to keep going in The High Republic. The first three books were exactly what I wanted, especially Light of the Jedi. I want more books from Charles Soule, but I cannot wait for The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott.

Mollie: Same!

FT: To maintain your encyclopaedic Star Wars knowledge, this muse demand time investment.  How much time do you commit to exploring this far away galaxy and do you periodically revisit sources?

Alex: I revisit the movies the most. It’s rare that I go back to a book quickly. As much as I like reading I am not a fast reader. I feel like I’m just barely keeping up with everything coming out as it is, so going back and reading things again feels daunting. I tend to retain information from books pretty well, so I think I do revisit the comics because I will have forgotten small details.

Mollie: We are constantly going back and studying the movies and we are in the middle of a clone wars rewatch right now and plan to do rewatches of all the shows.

FT: Since Disney’s acquisition of the Lucasfilm stable including their Star Wars franchise, the variety of content has accelerated and traverses many mediums.  How challenging is it to keep fully up to date with Star Wars Canon?

Alex: It depends on the time. When The Mandalorian is releasing it feels like we’re buried under that, in a fun way. But then we got The High Republic books to read, and so I was up late making sure I got through them, but that was a blast. I also wanted to stay up late reading them. So that’s nice. When it’s just periodic books and comics coming out it’s not too tough.

Mollie: I don’t try to read EVERY single book and comic so it’s not as hard for me.

FT: What are your thoughts regards Disney archiving some fan favourites to Legends and defining a new Canon?

Alex: I was bummed about it at first, but I also understood. I remember where I was when I read that was happening. But I knew it was necessary for the flexibility of the franchise moving forward, and I thought the sacrifice was worth it to get new Star Wars films and TV series weren’t even on my mind at the time. It didn’t take me long to get on board, and I mean those books are still there. The stories are still great whether they’re canon or not. I still love the X-Wing books to death.

Mollie: I never really got into the now legends content so I wasn’t really effected by the change.

FT: What tales or characters from Star Wars Legends would you hope to see join Canon?

Alex: With Rogue Squadron on the horizon I would love to see at least some nods to Corran Horn, Gavin Darklighter, and so on.

Mollie: I think Mara Jade is a really cool character but obviously they would have to drastically change who she is which I think could work. A character inspired by her perhaps.

FT: Do you have a favourite Star Wars era and storyline?

Alex: The Galactic Civil War is what defined Star Wars for me. I love Rebel pilots and Stormtroopers. But I do tend to see that a lot of my more recent favorite stories have taken place in between Episodes III and IV.

Mollie: The OT and the ST are both pretty high on my favorites. The OT is classic but the ST really got me to fall in love with Star Wars.

FT: You recently suited up for a Star Wars Explained livestream of Star Wars Squadrons.  Now, with a little more time to explore this game, what are your thoughts?

Alex: I love it! It’s definitely not for everyone, but as a pilot junkie I adore it. It’s very competitive, but I find that to be appealing, especially playing in a team with my friends.

Mollie: I have only played it a little and I’m terrible at it haha but it is super fun!

FT: You have spent some time in other Star Wars digital sandboxes, what are your most notable storyline or entertaining experiences?

Alex: Fallen Order is one of my favorite Star Wars stories of all time. Definitely one of my favorites from the new canon. My jaw was on the floor for the second half of that game.

Mollie: The Star Wars VR stories have been really cool.

FT: What’s your favourite Star Wars film and why?

Alex: A New Hope. It was my first Star Wars story and kind of like I said, it just defines what Star Wars is to me at its core. It’s my gold standard.

Mollie: I will also say A New Hope because it’s a classic but The Force Awakens is a very close second!

FT: Are you enjoying this season of The Mandalorian?

Alex: YES! Wow it was so much fun!

Mollie: OMG it’s soooo great! I really love it.

FT: Favourite The Mandalorian episode so far?

Alex: Probably ‘The Marshal’. Having Cobb Vanth in the show means so much to me. It means that literally any character from any story, no matter how small, could show up on the screen, and that’s thrilling to someone who reads and watches and plays as many Star Wars stories as they can.

Mollie: Every episode with Grogu in it 😉

FT: Have you enjoyed the Easter eggs and do you have any favourites?

Alex: I like easter eggs that don’t make sense, that you actually have to hunt for. So Boba’s throne spelling out Boba Fett in the runes is fun. Or the Aurebesh under the explosion of the second Death Star in The Marshal being text from the crawl for Return of the Jedi. That stuff is really fun to me.

Mollie: It’s always fun to catch little easter eggs in the shows. I don’t think I have a favorite but the pulse rifle is (was, RIP) really cool.

FT: Have any The Mandalorian episodes provided answers to help your understanding any gaps between other source storylines?

Alex: Not really. If anything it’s raised more questions, but in a good way. When in Ahsoka’s timeline is her appearance? What has she gone through? Why didn’t Bo-Katan take the darksaber this time? That question is the most exciting to me, because I trust there is an answer for it, and I can’t wait to see what it is.

Mollie: Yeah I agree it’s raised more questions than answered any haha but I’m totally fine with that!

FT: Are you looking forward to any future Star Wars in the pipeline such as Andor?

Alex: Rogue Squadron is easily my most anticipated project. Pilots! On the big screen! But all the upcoming shows are interesting to me. The Acolyte is the most intriguing, because it’s the most unknown.

Mollie: I am very excited for Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Acolyte because more dark side content please.

FT: Is there anything else Star Wars you would like to see on TV?

Alex: I would have said a pilot show a month ago. But I’m getting that so…I would love to do more in The High Republic, which The Acolyte will take place in. I’d just like to keep getting into new areas with new characters. As much as I like The Mandalorian, I don’t want to keep pulling in familiar faces, I want to fall in love with new characters.

Mollie: High Republic and Old Republic would be very cool to see in a show.

FT: What inspired you to begin creating your Star Wars Explained Youtube channel?

Alex: I wanted to with the trivia contest at Dragon Con. I thought making short videos on subjects would be something worth doing because most Star Wars YouTube at the time was very long form content, and I didn’t have time to watch it all.

Mollie: I got involved to help with the Social Media side of things and I’m so glad I got more and more involved!

FT: What is Star Wars Explained’s ethos?

Alex & Mollie: Even at the start I knew that when I was covering a topic that wasn’t something I enjoyed in Star Wars, I was going to treat it as if it were someone’s favorite. Because everything in Star Wars is someone’s favorite. I’d never want someone to walk away from one of our videos feeling like I trashed something dear to them. So even when we’re talking about films or books or any story that didn’t land for us we still try to see it for what it is. See the merits in it, find things to like about it. It might not be a story I’ll revisit often or ever again, but Star Wars is so expansive and means so much to so many people, I’d never want to talk down to someone who liked something I didn’t.

FT: What challenges did you encounter and how did you resolve these?

Alex: I guess I’m still struggling with having a platform online and how to best use it responsibly. I’m just a nerd who likes Star Wars and wanted to talk about it. But building up an audience does come with a responsibility.

Mollie: Realizing that you can’t please everyone and also that it’s hard to tale breaks while working from home.

FT: Did you have editing skills prior to Star Wars Explained or has this developed organically?

Alex: Yes, I started making silly little videos with my friends in high school and really enjoyed it. My first jobs were in video production.

Mollie: Ehhh no not really haha – I have since learned how to use Adobe Premiere and I’m okay at it.

FT: What is your creative process for producing Star Wars Explained episodes?

Alex: It’s not really that interesting. I usually write off the top of my head, researching and fact checking if I need. Then I’ll record the audio, gather visual assets, and edit it all together.

Mollie: I try and think of fun things we can do on livestreams.

FT: How do you determine which subjects you cover?

Alex: It’s pretty much just whatever I feel like talking about that week. When new stories are coming out I know I’m going to do reviews and find easter eggs and all that good stuff. When there aren’t new stories coming out I will take questions from subscribers and try to answer questions that interest me.

Mollie: As long as there is new content coming out we have something to talk about!

FT: You both bring your certain points of views to each episode, Alex’s studiousness complimented with Mollie’s senses.  Following discussion, have you ever completed an episode with a different perspective to when you started?

Alex: Definitely. Sometimes I find it hard to turn off my “fan brain” or “lore brain” or whatever you want to call it. The thing in my head that won’t stop analyzing the stuff that isn’t really part of the story that’s being told. So if some nit-pick is really stuck in my head Mollie will remind me that it’s usually not important, or she’ll see a very simple explanation for it because she’s not over analyzing it in the first place.

Mollie: I am always right. LOL kidding – I’m always learning new things about Star Wars – if not from Alex then from other shows and podcasts we listen to.

FT: What are your future plans for Star Wars Explained?

Alex: We started live streaming a lot more last year, at Mollie’s suggestion, and it’s been a lot of fun connecting with people and answering questions personally. So we’re going to keep that going. We also started having some of our fellow content creators on some of those streams to discuss new stories, and I’d love to keep that going.

Mollie: I’m loving doing more livestreams! It’s such a great way to interact with the viewers in real time.

FT: Where can people find Star Wars Explained online?

Alex: We are on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon at Star Wars Explained. Mollie has her own Twitter, @MollieDamon and a Twitch with the same name. And I have a Twitch, AlexDamonLive.

FT: Do you have any advice for anyone considering starting their own YouTube content?

Alex: Don’t focus on what you think other people want you to talk about. Bring your own voice. If I had done what everyone else was doing on YouTube when I started I would have been making long videos that I didn’t want to make, and I wouldn’t have set myself apart. Be yourself, be unique, speak from the heart, be kind, and your audience will find you and people will want to work with you.

Mollie: Make sure to talk about something you really love, don’t force it. Take breaks. Keep an open mind. Don’t stress too much and have fun!

FT: Alex, Mollie, it has been a great pleasure meeting you both.  Many thanks for sharing your experiences with us here on Fantha Tracks.  We wish you success for future Star Wars Explained informative and entertaining episodes.

 

The Art Of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (Hardcover) @ ForbiddenPlanet.com

 

Mark Telfer
Mark's collecting focuses are vintage and modern Star Wars 3 ¾ inch figures, and readily shares his Star Wars, collecting and customising knowledge, Mark has appeared on Castle FM Radio shows, featured in the Guardian newspaper and many episodes of fellow Fantha Tracker Adam P O’Brien’s Ausfans Radio Network podcasts. He is also a member of the Custom Coalition.