How Fandom Changed During a Year and a Half of Pandemic

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. One of the ways many of us have faced this tumultuous time is by delving into the things we love as comfort and joy. Even the fandom has changed a lot in the year and a half of the pandemic.

We’re all in the same boat… “This” being online Fandom

The cancellation of in-person fan events like conventions has disappointed (and in some cases continues to disappoint) many of us. Some online versions of these celebrations fared better than others, but mostly pale compared to their original counterparts.

The online events that stood out the most, however, were brand new events born out of the pandemic. DC Fandome from last summer was a wild hit that returns next month. Disney’s Investor Day – which had previously been held but now allowed anyone with an internet connection to see plenty of presentations and new content – also generated tons of buzz, and now Netflix is ​​getting into it. action with their online event “TUDUM” later this month.

The shift to this style of big studio presentations was already starting before the pandemic, with fewer and fewer big studios showing up for events like San Diego Comic-Con in favor of events in which they were sure to get the hang of it. star. This held true even during the “At Home” editions tailored to SDCC’s pandemics versus ones like the aforementioned Disney and DC virtual storefronts.

While in-person events will surely increase again (as they are already starting to do), it seems easier to have big stars participate in pre-filmed video presentations rather than having them fly all the way for very long. brief appearances on stage.

What’s great about online celebrations like DC Fandome is that it’s all the news and previews without the jealousy and continued influence that comes with in-person introductions. As someone who has been on both sides of the coin when it comes to being in “the room where it happens”, these virtual events have cultivated a fun community vibe on the internet that we can only achieve when goods are experienced by all. of us at once.

Crafted Mysteries

No, we’re not talking about political conspiracy theories, or any of the various theories surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. This is another side effect of the fact that the internet has become pretty much the only way to connect with other fans of just about anything during the pandemic.

There wasn’t a lot of new entertainment coming for a while, so any new content that came out was dissected on a whole new level. Dedicated fandom wasn’t new, but now even more casual fans were joining in the action; people needed something to occupy their minds, and for many, trying to unblock the supposed “puzzles” presented by various media did.

Vision vs White Vision on Wandavision

(Marvel Entertainment)

The most obvious example of this was the discussion that surrounded Marvel’s WandaVision when it released on Disney + earlier this year. Not since Game Of Thrones Was there a better argument for streaming services to use the weekly delivery model; the show was all the rage on social media every Friday, and everyone wanted to know what was coming next in the superhero-sitcom hybrid that was the first Disney + series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While some of these theories clearly went a bit far, as fans read far too many comments about an “aerospace engineer” who turned out to be none of the favorite characters of Marvel fans, Reed Richards and Huey. Williams, the theories that Mephisto was the real series villain flew all over the place, and of course, the much-publicized cameo that turned out to be… Paul Bettany acting alongside him.

It wasn’t fair WandaVision, although. Shortly after that, Marvel fans turned their attention to the first Spider-Man: No Path Home the content and release date of the trailer, which to their chagrin turned out to be much later than normal for an MCU movie. On the music side, Taylor Swift fans tried to figure out the order in which the singer’s remaining re-recorded albums will be released by analyzing her every move and social media post, and when. Red turned out to be next, the discussion immediately shifted to what would be the first single. Even things like knowing which celebrities do and don’t bathe are treated as major mysteries to be solved on the Internet.

The Web was created for people to share information and consult with each other (although determining Hollywood’s showering habits was probably not what its creators had in mind). During a pandemic with little to explore on the outside, however, everyone was eager to weigh in on the trivial mystery to be solved. (If only we were all smart enough to help figure out how to thwart COVID once and for all!)

Peak of nostalgia?

Nostalgia has always been and probably will always be present in our world; society tends to look at the decade that happened 20-30 years ago with rose-colored glasses, and that affects the current sphere of pop culture in music, fashion, and film. For the past decade or so, however, it feels like every series and every movie has been remade in some way or another, with no signs of slowing down… until now, maybe.

Neo in Matrix 4

(Warner Bros.)

During this pandemic, especially early on when everything was new and scary and we didn’t know what to expect as we were forced to stay home for who knows how long, people took great comfort in watching their old favorite shows and favorite movies or video games from the past. Yes, a lot of people used the time to finally watch this series that everyone has been recommending for years, but a lot of people just wanted to escape into the past in any way they could.

Unfortunately, the things we use as coping mechanisms during difficult times like a pandemic can create negative associations with them, and the way we experience the media creates memories associated with it, for better or for worse. . Withdrawing in the past may have been our only option at the start of the pandemic, but those in places where things are more open now are largely eager to move forward, and it is likely those who are currently in some form of lockdown or quarantine will also want to do so ASAP.

Getting back to the reboot craze, the growing desire to experience something new and make new memories could very well end up seeping into the entertainment industry in a to some extent. That’s not to say that no property will ever be restarted (as we all know it’s not going to stop), but it’s possible that the nostalgia market will start to decline in favor of a thirst for a new one. time.

Changing celebrity culture

While we speak of nostalgia and tainted memories, it would be remiss not to mention how the public image of celebrities has changed since the start of the pandemic. It started when Gal Gadot and his company singing “Imagine” on Instagram a few days later awakened many people to the privilege of these stars, and only grew as the health crisis unfolded and so many rich and famous opposed it. advice from health experts in a very public way.

It is not just those who directly disseminate false information about the virus or the treatments for it. Many of those who rolled up their sleeves in public to get vaccinated have also been seen partying or flying away on lavish vacations (often to countries of very poor condition with the pandemic) while everyone was still locked in their home. Celebrities have always operated under a different rule system than the rest of us, but a lot of people didn’t really see how different it was until the pandemic hit and they couldn’t resist exercising their privilege – a privilege that has put the lives of many without it in danger.

Some famous people have also shown their true colors in other ways; with so many social issues taking center stage in the media since the start of the pandemic, we have uncovered many unpleasant truths about people who were once heroes to many … looking at you, JK Rowling. Being forced to work on feelings on people like this also began to dismantle the phenomenon of idol worship for many people involved in the fandom, and that, combined with the increase in attention and awareness. appreciation for essential workers, has changed the definition of “personal hero” for many.

Keeping in touch with celebrities isn’t inherently unhealthy, but their unconditional worship is, and while the phenomenon is far from over, it’s good to see a lot of people pop their cult bubbles and pull them off. of the pedestal of their mind.

(image shown: Disney, DC Comics, Comic-Con International)

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