Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Three Years Of The SWU | A Brief History

Our very first logo, created by Chris
By: Benjamin Hart

Time flies when you're having fun. And we've certainly had a blast these past three years. The SWU is quickly becoming one of the largest and most enthusiastic fan communities on the Internet. But some of you may not know that the Underworld had every humble beginnings. Three years ago the SWU was a mere Facebook page with only seven "Fans". Here's the story of how I became the spark that ignited the community you see today:

I've been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I will admit there were times when my fandom faded in and out, sometimes I would become hyped up about other things, but nothing ever stuck with me like Star Wars did. After the release of Revenge of the Sith not much was going on in the Star Wars universe. During that period I kept my fandom alive by hunting down and watching fan films like "Ryan VS Dorkman" and playing Battlefront II.

Then came 2008 and the Clone Wars film, I was pretty excited for it but ultimately I wasn't able to catch it in the theater. The Clone Wars fell off my radar for a while, until one Saturday I discovered that the first two episodes of the newly launched series were available on iTunes. I was skeptical of this whole Clone Wars thing but I decided to give it a shot and buy one of the episodes, and it was the second episode Rising Malevolence. It was love at first watch. I was blown away and preceded to watch it many more times that day. Needless to say I became an avid viewer of TCW, and soon after began chatting with other fans on the episode guides on

Meanwhile, I had joined Facebook, and for a while I had wanted to start my own page on the site. But I knew one thing for sure: It wasn't going to have anything to do with Star Wars. Reason being, all my friends and Family were well aware of my love for Star Wars, I wanted to do something that would impress them. Creating a Star Wars page would be too predictable on my part. Plus, I felt that I was too "Into" Star Wars, that it may even be immoral to be almost obsessed with the Saga as I was. Oh how wrong I was.

Season one of TCW came and went, on I took on the screen name "AdmiralTrench" and befriended several people, including "Rexbeatsall", a.k.a Anthony Piom, who had his own site called "". Through it he provided episodes of TCW shortly after(Or sometimes before) they aired for those of us who couldn't watch them on TV. About midway through Season two Anthony started a new site called "Master Toons" which served the same purpose and more. It was not long after until we started noticing our posts disappearing, especially those linked to MT.

The admin there was obviously cracking down on us, for good reason of course. Within this I saw an opportunity: We needed a private place to chat and share links to MT, and perhaps I could give this Star Wars Facebook page thing a try after all. And since I didn't know a single person who liked Star Wars as much as I did, this would give me a chance to finally share my love of the Saga. But first I wanted to know what my friends on thought of the idea. So I posted this:

The reaction wasn't encouraging, those who did respond predicted that it most likely wouldn't be successful. But there was no turning back, I was now determined to make this happen regardless of what anyone thought. The next day, April 10th 2010, I created a page and called it "Clone Wars Commentary". A few minutes later I deleted it, realizing that not only was it a stupid name but it would be foolish to limit myself to strictly TCW when I loved the entire Saga. So I started over and came up with a more original name, one that reflected the mission of this page, which was to exchange information secretly and beyond the watchful eye of the "authorities". And it was "The Star Wars Underground". But alas, there was already a fan group called "Underground" on Facebook. So I went back to the drawing board and settled for "Underworld". Although I can't recall exactly how I came up with Underworld, I'm willing to guess the Season two finale trailer helped inspire me, since it mentions the Coruscant Underworld.

The first few posts:

"Fan Records" from the first few weeks:
4/10/10 - 7 - (1st day)
4/17/10 - 40   - (1st week)
4/24/10 - 107 - (2nd week)
5/01/10 - 154 - (3rd week)
5/08/10 - 171 - (4th week)
5/15/10 - 182 - (5th week)
5/22/10 - 211 - (6th week)
5/29/10 - 220 - (7th week)
6/05/10 - 260 - (8th week)
6/12/10 - 265 - (9th week)
6/19/10 - 275 - (10th week)
8/28/10 - 408 - (20th week)

And so it began, by that night it had 7 fans. Within a week it had gained 40, and the next 107. I managed it solo for only few months, and even to created a Twitter and Forums. In that period some of our most loyal supporters and friends discovered the page. Most importantly Chris Seekell and Jordan Petto. Not long after I was preparing to shut down the page for a couple weeks because I was going on vacation, when Anthony suggested that Chris and Jordan should be made admins to take over in my absence. I complied and little did I know it would be the best thing that ever happened to the Underworld. Both of them worked hard to contribute to the page. Chris worked with Tanner Di Bella to establish our official web site and later spearheaded the effort to launch the SWU Podcast which he continues to produce to this day. Dominic Jones joined our staff as head writer, a title he continues to deserve along with co-host of our Podcast. Savanna Kiefer joined us and used her abilities and relationships to bring many celebrity guests on our Podcast. Since then Ruari Williamson, Dave Bouressa, Trey AtwoodCiaran DugganMartin Coronell-RodriguezDavid GremillionDavid Delgado, Chris Lynn and Kat Kiele(If I missed anyone, I apologize) have all poured their expertise and passion into the SWU. Huge thanks to them!

But it all comes down to you, the fans. As of writing this there are over a thousand of you on Twitter, nearly 20,000 on Facebook and an unlimited number of you visiting our various sites and pages. You are what inspire us, you are what motivates us, you are what continues to keep Star Wars alive and well! And for that, we thank You

May the Force be with the SWU... Always!


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