Right now in the midst of a storm of protest movements in Hong Kong demanding to liberate the area from its status as a special administrative region in China, review of Western companies which implicitly supports the Chinese government's actions are higher than ever . So of course, the House of Mouse chose right now to announce a plan to try to make Star Wars more popular in China.
Starting up to The Rise of Skywalker – which does not currently have a Chinese release date ̵
The original fiction first revealed by the official Star Wars account on Chinese social media platform Weibo, will be penned by a young author known under the psuedonym "His Majesty", and will distribute exclusively at China Literature digital stores. It's a smart move – instead of asking Chinese audiences to invest first and foremost in stories aimed at Western audiences, it creates a small corner of the Star Wars universe targeted specifically to them.
The galaxy far, far away has had a special history in China. It was never officially released in the country and came out of the cultural revolution when the western world was in the midst of [StarWars mania in 1977. Foreign films, which even today face strict rules before being shown next to the home-grown cinema was simply not released legally. A New Hope first appeared first legally in the country in 2015, and without the nostalgia or pop-cultural influence that Star Wars has built over the last four decades elsewhere, it has meant that all attempts to bring the newer films to the nation have been met with mixed results.
The Force Awakens did quite well and raised $ 124 million – although it faced extremely fierce competition from, of all, a Sherlock Christmas special . But both Rogue One and The Last Jedi bombed, withdrawing only $ 70 and $ 43 million respectively – the latter so bad that Solo: A Star Wars Story its name to remove mentions of Star Wars in hopes of drawing audience without relying on what was now clearly evident: the distinctive lack of cultural cache the Skywalker saga has had in the country. It didn't help, with Solo pulling just $ 16.5 million .
What does not seem to be a smart move in this new publishing strategy announces it with Tencent right now. Over the past week, video game developer Blizzard – the studio behind World of Warcraft and Overwatch among many other titles, and whose parent company, Activision-Blizzard, Tencent has about 5 percent stake in – banned and fined competitive Hearthstone (a digital card game in University of Warcraft ] Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for having used a official broadcast after the game to show support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, drinking a white mask like those worn by protesters on the island and shouting "Liberate Hong Kong. The Revolution of Our Time!"
Although Blizzard in eventually surrendered and reduced Ng Wai's rescission from competitive Hearthstone and restored its fine of prize money, the suspension led to hardness on social media in both Asia and the West, with launch celebrations for Blizzard emissions scrapped and large protests planned for the studio's annual fan convention Blizzcon, at the beginning of next month – and even a less diplomatic event, when US Senator Ron Wyden by the way, seems to have bowed to pressure from the Chinese government.
The central government has consistently threatened increasingly violent outbursts on protesters in Hong Kong during in recent months fighting against potential legislation that would allow the Chinese government to extradite people from Hong Kong – who have struggled to become a democratic bastion in the region for years – and the incident with Blizzard has seen documents from Western companies with Chinese interests commenting on Hong Kong's protest movements will be noticed.
Now, it's Disney's turn to have the same review as well.
For more, make sure you follow us on our Instagram @ io9dotcom .