OMFG, STAR WARS!!!! We’ve covered Game of Thrones podcasts, a Star Trek podcast, Twin Peaks podcasts, and even a Rick and Morty podcast, but somehow this is our first Star Wars podcast. Hokey Religion was born after Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced the expanded universe and continued storyline we’ve already become familiar with. After the rumors and leaks, friends (and admitted Star Wars nerds) Tyler and Michael decided it was time to podcast about their passion.
Though they went into the project knowing their niche was already a crowded market — by no means were they going to be the first Star Wars podcast — they knew how to carve a section for themselves. By being extremely casual with more than subtle doses of humor they were able to take a unique angle on the “traditional” Star Wars podcasts. Thus, Hokey Religion was created.
I got a chance to talk to Tyler about how the podcast was created, his feelings on the expanded universe, and most importantly, whether or not Han Solo fired the first shot. Below is our full Q&A.
DP: Can you describe your podcast in 140 characters?
Tyler: Two guys obsessed with Star Wars since childhood talking about news, theories, and lots of joking around. It’s kind of their hokey religion.
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Tyler: We both love podcasts and had always wanted to do one of our own. We actually tried to start a podcast in 2008…it is horrible. It was a technology news and rambling mess called “Plug N Play”. We only made two episodes, before it fell apart from lack of commitment. But ever since then we had always kept saying, “when are we going to actually start a podcast?” Six years go by with us wanting to do a podcast but not being able to figure out what the podcast would actually be about. Cut to 2014, Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and is making new Star Wars films. We have both been huge Star Wars fans since we were around 8 years old. So now there was new Star Wars to talk about and we talked nearly daily about the latest news, rumors, leaks, and theories. It finally hit me, that’s the podcast! We love Star Wars and we are going to talk about it nonstop whether we have a podcast or not. That was it, we made that the show and hoped that others would enjoy our humor and silly takes on the topics we discuss.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Tyler: There was never really a time where we wanted to do anything other than a podcast. Our friendship is one of constant jokes or riffing off of each other and with both of us loving improv comedy podcasts it just seemed the way to go. For me I think there is a comfort and freedom in podcasting. I get to just hangout in a room with friends with no feeling of pressure or performance anxiety.
DP: With more and more Star Wars movies added the franchise, how has your opinion changed on expanding the universe?
Tyler: I love the direction Disney and Lucasfilm have gone with the expansion. You mention movies specifically, which have been fantastic, but don’t forget about books and other storytelling formats.
Prior to Disney purchasing Lucasfilm we had the “expanded universe”, usually referred to as “The EU”, that was the continuation of the Star Wars stories through books, comics, etc. I think it was getting close to 400 books before the end. For me, it was getting very messy. There were some GREAT stories, the “Thrawn Trilogy” by Timothy Zahn being my favorite, but there were so many stories that you started to have a lot of conflicting information. Timelines were all over the place, Chewbacca was killed by a planet’s moon crashing into it while he was there, and more. When Disney bought Lucasfilm they made the decision to take The EU and rename it “Legends”, in an instance hundreds of stories were suddenly not Canon. People freaked out, but Disney/Lucasfilm had to clean things up if they wanted to move forward.
Since the great cleansing of 2014 all books that have been released are official Canon. Lucasfilm has what they call the “Story Group” that work to keep consistency and a unified story for Star Wars as a whole. This has been so much fun for me as a fan that loves that consistency and universe building. Everything released now is “real”, if you will, and we are getting new stories and information about the characters we love.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast? Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Tyler: There are plenty of other Star Wars podcasts and we knew going in that we were joining an existing market that may be difficult or impossible to find a foothold in. We aren’t trying to break news stories or reveal exclusive rumors, that was never the plan. We love Star Wars, but we love it enough to be able to poke fun at it as well as discuss it seriously. I would hope that our humor and dynamic is what listeners find to be unique about Hokey Religion. When someone listens to our show we want them to feel like that are hanging out with friends, having a drink, talking about Star Wars, and laughing.
DP: What’s next? Where do you want to take your podcast?
Tyler: Right now we are a bi-weekly show, which is mostly due to our schedules. We would love to make Hokey Religion a weekly show. Going weekly would help to narrow how many topics we want to fit into an episode. Beyond that I would love to start getting guests on the show. Recording a live show would also be fun.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
- Comedy Bang Bang
- SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins
- Hello from the Magic Tavern
- Rooster Teeth Podcast
- How Did This Get Made
DP: Did Han fire the first shot?
Tyler: Now you’ve done it! Watch as my eyes glaze over with a darkness the likes of which you have never seen!
We actually have three versions of that scene: Han shooting first, the special edition where Greedo shoots first and Han shoots him in return, and lastly them shooting at almost exactly the same time.
I take issue with a couple things here. First, Greedo must be the WORST bounty hunter in the universe to miss at point blank range like that. Second, Han is a smuggler and complete scoundrel. When Han shot first he was tough and unpredictable, turning that scene into self-defense weakens his character.
So yes, of course Han shot first! That was what happened in the original release and it made sense!
DP: Do you think we’ve reached “peak podcast”
Tyler: Studies show that podcast listenership increases every year. While I do not think we’ve reach “peak podcast” I do think that podcasters are having to get more niche with their topics and audiences. I’m not sure making a generalized ramble-on podcast is as viable as it used to be. However, a good podcast will always speak for itself and make it’s way to the top.
DP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tyler: If you like the Star Wars films and TV shows but have not read any of the comics or books, this is the time to jump in. We are only a couple years into the new canon, jump in now while it is not a huge investment of time. There are some FANTASTIC stories to be found.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/I2xm2htzsp7ezuntdsdrpkz7dqq