On September 11, 2007, Leigh Alexander wrote an article for the Escapist titled “Midgar is Burning”. In it, Alexander describes the rise and fall of the Final Fantasy VII role-playing community on AOL. She speculates regarding the future of fan involvement in media creation, that moviegoers will shape the future of films and franchises. She also posits that this process has already begun in some nascent fashion.
What Leigh Alexander didn’t know at the time of writing this was that she was describing the blueprint for a cycle of modern fan culture. Since this was in the burgeoning days of the internet, these events unfolded much more slowly than in our social media and mobile-friendly present.