TheForce.net, also known as TFN, is one of the oldest and most visited fan-run Star Wars news websites.
The site began in late 1996 as "Texas A&M University's Star Wars Page," founded by roommates Scott Chitwood and Darin Smith. Originally, the site was, in Chitwood's words, "a few pictures and tons of text," but it eventually outgrew its environment. In September 1997, TheForce.Net was born.
Soon the staff numbered over a dozen. Eventually, Joshua Griffin came on board as partial owner. Later, entrepreneur Philip Wise, owner of both the collecting site Rebelscum.com and the Lucasfilm-licensed autograph company Official Pix, joined Griffin as a co-owner of the site. The site's main technical staff are Anthony Baratta and Michael Spellacy.
Early in TFN's lifetime, the site was a resource for spoiler information on the upcoming prequel films. However, as its profile grew, and as StarWars.com started meeting much of the demand for advance information, the site's focus moved away from spoilers and into more standard news reporting.
- Star Wars literature reviews
- Star Wars book release schedule
- Fan Films - the Fan Films section is for fan-created works of art, including many renowned short films such as "TROOPS" and "Star Dudes." There are also tips and tutorials on creating your own fan films and a very large film and actor database.
- Jedi Council Forums - a testament to the vastness of TFN's readership is its discussion forums, home of the FanForce organization.
- The ForceCast - The official podcast of TFN and Rebelscum.com. The ForceCast features the latest news, interviews, events, and opinions from the Star Wars fan community.
- Convention coverage - In collaboration with Rebelscum, TFN staff report from conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con and Star Wars Celebration.
- The Clone Wars episode reviews
- CUSWE (Completely Unofficial Star Wars Encyclopedia) - one of the longest-running subsections of TFN, Bob Vitas' Unofficial Encyclopedia is an exhaustive database of the Star Wars universe and one of the conceptual progenitors of Wookieepedia. As of March 2006, the CUSWE is located at its own website, www.cuswe.org.
- Fan Fiction - one of the largest public fanfic archives, complete with a comment system allowing readers to give feedback on their favorite stories.
- Star Wars Technical Commentaries - The Technical Commentaries are written and maintained by professional astrophysicist Curtis Saxton. Attempting to translate the fantastic into the scientific, these articles have been a source of much contention among readers.
- Expanded Universe Roundtable - a series of uncut three- to five-person chat sessions on a variety of topics.
- Ultimate Timeline - an in-depth chronological source listing
- Time Tales - a chronicle of Star Wars history containing thorough summations of stories both major and minor, and information on how they all fit together. The majority of the site has been undergoing reconstruction for some time.
Philip Wise is TFN's webmaster and majority partner. His other projects include the collecting site Rebelscum.com and Official Pix, Lucasfilm's officially licensed distributor of cast-autographed photography. He is also notable in the Star Wars community for having one of the largest private collections of memorabilia in the world.
Joshua Griffin is a partner in the site. Griffin was the editor-in-chief of the website for five of his eight years actively contributing to the site. He has written many editorials on the subject of Star Wars and thousands of news articles on the site. Griffin has been featured in publications like The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and Business 2.0. Offline, he has been involved in youth ministry since 1992 and is on the staff of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California.
He blogs daily at morethandodgeball.com.
- Chris McGuffin - reporter