• Zoë

I'm not even part of that fandom...

I feel like I'm going to get murdered for this, but I'm not a fan of "Star Wars." I watched a couple of the movies when I was a kid, my younger brother was super into the "Clone Wars" show, and I've seen a couple of the new movies, but it's never been my thing.

Now that that's out of the way (and I haven't noticed any assassins enter this coffee shop), I also have to say that I have read "Star Wars" fanfiction.

When I was staying with my dad for a couple months, he put on "Rogue One," "Solo" and "The Last Jedi" more than once each, and one of the times I was doing my own thing while TLJ was playing in the background, I found myself paying attention. I didn't have a full change of heart because the movie was still just ehh to me, but I was intrigued by a couple characters: Rey and Kylo Ren.

I am tangentially aware from the people I follow on Twitter that Reylo is a controversial but also pretty popular ship in the fandom, but beyond that, I'm pretty out of the loop (and not really trying to get into the loop, if we're being honest).

But anyway, since I was intrigued by a couple characters, I had the urge to look up fanfiction for them, as has become habit for me in the last couple years for basically any media I consume. For a relatively new pairing, there are a good number of fics on AO3, and before I knew it, I had downloaded some that appealed to me and was having a grand ol' time reading.

Because my knowledge of "Star Wars" is barely more than basic, I mainly stuck to modern AUs in which I didn't have to know much about the fandom beyond what the characters looked like (which Google is great for).

But this post isn't supposed to be all about how I dabbled in Reylo for a bit (and am tempted again after seeing everyone on my feed talking about Dark!Rey, but that's beyond the point), I want to talk about reading fanfiction for fandoms you aren't a part of.

I've known a few people in my life who have partaken in fanfiction for fandoms and source material that they have no knowledge or only a basic understanding of, and it always confused me. Specifically, in college, I knew a girl who read for multiple fandoms she had never been part of, such as reading Destiel without ever seeing "Supernatural."

I didn't get it because I thought, why are you reading about a pairing you have no knowledge of or stake in? How do you deal with fandom references and background information that is pretty necessary for any fic that is even sort of related to canon? What even made you want to read for a pairing you have never experienced before?

And I still have questions even after I found myself in the "reading for a fandom I'm not in" camp, and I don't have many answers.

I didn't start reading Reylo because I just had to see them together, or because I was really invested in their story. I just had the urge to read them (maybe because their dynamic, or what I understood of it at least, lended really well to some of my favorite tropes) so I did. I still wouldn't say that I'm in the "Star Wars" fandom and I wouldn't say that I ship Reylo, at least not actively, even after reading and enjoying some of their fics.

I don't know if this will happen again where I get the urge to read for a pairing I don't know anything about and don't have any desire to study up on because any time I've been intrigued by another pairing, I've caught up on the source media and become part of the fandom. That's how I got into "Shameless" and Gallavich: I saw stuff about them on Tumblr and started watching the show.

But I'd like to hear from you guys if you have a similar story or if this has happened to you too: Do you guys read for fandoms you're not in? Have you ever felt the urge to read for a pairing you know nothing about? Do you think it's weird when other people do?


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