The Old Guard
|Name:||The Old Guard|
|Creator:||Greg Rucka; he also wrote the 2020 film screenplay|
|Date(s):||2017 - present,|
|Medium:||comic books, film|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Old Guard is 2020 film, based on a comic book series of the same name. The Old Guard follows a group of immortal mercenaries, as they struggle to maintain their anonymity in the modern world.
The film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 81% Certified Fresh. It became one of Netflix's "most viewed original films, and director Gina Prince-Bythewood made history as the first Black woman to helm a major comic book film."  This has led to rumors of a possible sequel.
- Andy (Andromache of Scythia)
- Nile Freeman
- Joe (Yusuf Al-Kaysani)
- Nicky (Nicolo di Genova)
- Booker (Sebastien le Livre)
- Quynh (Noriko)
- James Copley, a former CIA agent born in Boston whose family moved to London when he was four years old, resulting in him having a strong English accent. The team worked with him previously.
- Dizzy Ali, a soldier in Nile's company
- Jordan "Jay" Worley (?), a soldier in Nile's company
- Steven Merrick, CEO of Merrick Pharmaceuticals
- Dr. Meta Kozak, lead scientist for Merrick Pharmaceuticals
- Keane, head of security for Steven Merrick
- Celeste, the clerk in the pharmacy
Differences Between Comic and Film
Spoiler warning: 5 major differences between 'The Old Guard' movie and comics
The fandom exploded in popularity following the release of the Netflix film adaptation on July 10, 2020. While the comic series had a small handful of works on AO3 prior to that date, the number grew quickly in the weeks following. By August 2, the fandom tag hit 1000 works. By August 24, there were 2017 works in the tag. By August 27, there were 2156 works in the tag.
In addition, some works are being published only on certain platforms, such as Tumblr, and not reposted elsewhere. Discord servers and channels on multiple other servers added to the growing list of outlets for fannish production and discussion.
Many fans reported being initially drawn in by the promotional trailers and images of Charlize Theron wielding an axe, continuing her recent trend of starring in intense action-oriented films. However, a common reaction  seemed to be genuine surprise at the diversity of the cast, the emotional depth of the relationships, and the subversion of tropes like Bury Your Gays.
man, as someone who’s been in Marvel/DC fandoms for the better part of a decade, to have something like the old guard come around and be like “oh, you want a superhero movie that treats its women with respect?” “you want a canon queer couple that are main characters?” “you want a genuinely diverse cast?” “you want a found family narrative that actually shows the love and affection this group of people has for each other?” finally, some good fucking foodTumblr post by user magicalbloke
The dominant pairing in this fandom is the canon slash pairing of Joe/Nicky. Femslash works pairing Andy/Quynh and Andy/Nile Freeman also appear. Other pairings/relationships include Nile/Joe/Nicky, Nile/Booker, and various permutations of the team with each other as well as or with original characters.
As what commonly happens in fandoms with deep historical ties, an explosion of history references, sources, and debate have been shared and explored. See the #Fandom Practices.
Common Tropes & Storylines
- Pre-canon/Backstory works
- Post-canon works/Futurefic
- Found Family
- Non-Immortal AUs
- Band AUs, based on a line Nile says in the trailer: "An army of five? Shit, let's start a band."
- High school AUs/College AUs
- Gratuitous Foreign Language
- Dream mechanics - how and why the Old Guard members dream of each other. In a small number of works this can extend to shared dreams.
The Old Guard AU
The Old Guard has also inspired fusion fanworks. An Old Guard fusion is an AU that takes characters from a different source material and makes them immortal. In some cases, the canonical death of a character is a jumping off point, with the character resurrected and discovering their immortality. In this way, some Old Guard AU works resemble fix-it fics. However, not all of these works use canonically dead characters as their inspiration.
As of 12 September 2020, the pairing tag accounted for about 2050 works out of a total of about 2700 (although some overlap between movie and comics fandom makes this count somewhat inaccurate.)
Other pairings include:
- Andy/Quynh: 288 uses, often as a side or background pairing;
- Booker/Joe/Nicky: 105 uses
- Andy/Nile Freeman: 65 uses, also often as background to Joe/Nicky (see Pair the Spares)
- Nile/Booker: 268 uses, also called Book of Nile
Some fannish activity of note has taken place around the creation of collaborative resource documents. According to its creator's post, the stated intent of The Old Guard Resource Hub (accessed August 24, 2020) (archive link) is to provide access to fannish analysis of the characters, or to link to online or print resources which could help fans with historical context. The Resource Hub Google Doc was created by with-my-murder-flute on August 13, 2020, and by August 18th had expanded from 7 pages to 17 , with collaborative write-ups under way for each of the principal characters. The document also had a section, arranged chronologically, for contributors to provide resources around historical events mentioned in canon. As of September 2020, the document was still being added to and circulated on Tumblr periodically. Additionally, sufficient fans had heard of the Resource Hub to recommend it to other users newer to the fandom, many of whom were looking for resources about character backstories or the timeline of key events the Guard had been involved in, extrapolated from screenshots of Copley's board in the film.
Another document was created earlier on July 23, 2020 and titled The Old Guard master doc (accessed August 24, 2020); contributors suggested changes in the document, and the document was mediated directly by its creator himbojoenicky (formerly brucewaynery). The document as of August 24, 2020 gave character profiles based on their presentation in canon, as well as a general timeline of key events in the Old Guards' history.
Other fannish practices included the hosting of events such as Fests or Challenges. Additionally, an interest form for a fanzine circulated on Tumblr starting on September 15th, with a close date of September 30th 2020. The organizer requested information related to possible contributors of writing and art, as well as logistics around the zine such as price point. The Zine opened for artist and writer applications in October with a close date of October 31, 2020 noted in the application form. On February 1st, 2021, a Kickstarter launched to support the printing of Epoch: An Historical Old Guard Fan Zine.
Events and Challenges
- Nile Freeman Week
- The Old Guard Femslash Fortnight
- The Old Guard Big Bang 2021
- The Old Guard Mini Bang
- The Old Guard Gift Exchange
- Andromaquynh Secret Santa
- The Old Guard Fic Exchange (Feb-April 2021) & The Old Guard Reverse Bang (June-Oct 2021) hosted by The Old Guard Events
Discussions and Controversies
A number of meta issues are being explored and debated in the Old Guard fandom, especially around the themes of race and ethnicity, religion and misogyny. In some cases, fans are trying to counteract inaccurate and/or harmful elements which exist in the comics canon.
- The historical (in)accuracies of fanworks:
- Issues relating to Joe's race, ethnicity, name and religion, often in the context of the perceived preferred fanon dynamics of the Joe/Nicky relationship   
- The fandom's (typical) focus on the slash pairing over works centering the female characters
- The fandom's (typical) tendancy to try and focus on/sympathize with/redeem the (ostensibly straight) white "villain" character in the person of Booker 
- The lack of critical analysis in canon and fanon re:Nile's past as a US Marine deployed in Afghanistan  
- The differences between criticism of fanworks and fandom policing, as evidenced through a summary of discourse provided by mewbotz  with additions by shadowhannibad  and lazaefair . This conversation was notable in that some of the users who were involved in a discourse thread took time to clarify their points of view with each other and defuse a conflict.
- Fandom tendencies to treat POC opinions as monolithic, although why this is considered problematic depends on the individual 
- Concerns that some fans are using discourse or imbroglios within the fandom as an excuse to label fannish creations “problematic” for containing a trope, rather than on the basis of actual content in or attributes of the work See also Top!Joe (trope).
- Differences in readings of canon or word of god statements from the creators
- The Old Guard and the New, by christacarpenter
- the old guard crack #847294, by ifprocrastinationwasaperson, based on a post of the same title by rudderless-in-an-ocean-of-stars
- My immediate response to The Old Guard the first time I watched it was that it felt like the thoughtful female character-centric ficathon entry for a much dumber and more explosion-laden traditional action movie., Archived version by sixthlight
- I think my favorite thing about The Old Guard is that, as weird as it sounds, all the immortals have human limits., Archived version meta discussion between neverdancewithforks, lyricfulloflight and fuckyeahisawthat
- The Old Guard team represents Andy’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos., Archived version by hiskissstillthrillsme
- The Old Guard, and subverting expectations, Archived version by Solovei
- Fandom Stats: descriptive statistics of "The Old Guard" works on AO3 by Garonne, created August 17, 2020 with updates added August 20, 2020. This work has 7 chapters: An introduction; growth of the fandom over time; creators' usage of different categories, ratings, and warnings; creators' usage of different characters, pairings, and other freeform tags; reader interaction with different categories and ratings; other fun stuff; and notes.
- Kidnapping for Dummies by Amiril (Joe/Nicky, podfic by XPods)
- Family Dinner by Dadvans (Joe/Nicky)
- in the deep deep down by zoicite (Andy/Quynh)
- so many signs (no compasses) by liadan14 (Joe/Nicky, Joe/Nicky/Booker)
- The god of my idolatry by Petra (Andy/Nile, podfic by ofjustimagine)
- If Never Again, If Every Day by gallifreyburning and takiki16 - a notable ongoing Joe/Nicky fanfic where the authors are playing fic tennis
- stand up in my holy terrain by growlery (Joe/Nicky, Nile & Nicky)
- Who wins the joy of love by Chani (Joe/Nicky)
- Messengers by greedy_dancer (Joe/Nicky)
- a holy war in the living room by sallysparrow017 (Joe/Nicky)
- i believe, i believe, we can write our story. i believe, i believe, we can be an army., Archived version, an edit by alexmanes
Archives & Communities
- The Old Guard Discord
- The Old Guard (comics) works on Ao3
- The Old Guard (movies) works on Ao3
- The Old Guard Resources Collection on AO3 for non-fiction fandom works
- The Old Guard Fic Recs on Tumblr
- The Old Guard Kink Meme on Dreamwidth
- The Old Guard Community on Dreamwidth
- Netflix's The Old Guard director reveals how the movie made history
- Tumblr post by takethisnight-wrapitaroundme, 22 July 2020
- Tumblr post by with-my-murder-flute, 18 August 2020
- The Crusades: A Fandom Primer, Archived version by sixthlight on Tumblr
- A historical overview of the term Saracen and its implications: a primer for the TOG fandom by figure8/lgbtmazight
- Tumblr discussion about the use of Crusader lore by fuckyeahisawthat, sara_writes, viridanpanther, with-my-murder-flute, Archived version
- Answer to a Tumblr ask about sexuality in medieval ages by mrmarinelli, Archived version
- Answer to a Tumblr ask about homophobia by fuckyeahisawthat, Archived version
- Yusuf ibn Ibrahim al-Tayyib al-Kaysani’s Ethnicity by histori-old-guard-lover, Archived version
- Some Points by ElephantOfAfrica
- Listen. The sexual positions are not the point. Tumblr post about top/bottom discourse in TOG by lazaefair, Archived version
- *whispers* it is not yusuf’s job, in canonverse or modern au, to deradicalise niccolo by tovezza, Archived version
- Meta about Joe's name by lgbtmazight, Archived version
- orientalism and Joe as the unchanging other by gethporno, Archived version
- I have a huge problem with this Tumblr post by fandomhateswomen, Archived version
- fandom statistics on femslash from Oct 5 2020 - a discussion between thirst-teenth, helendamnationx, enechelon, and others, Archived version
- fandom stats re: femslash as of Nov 1 2020 by thirst-teenth, Archived version
- Booker meta by sophiamcdougall, Archived version
- Booker meta by celialestial, Archived version
- Tumblr post by vrabia, Archived version
- Tumblr discussion by vrabia & takiki16, Archived version
- Tumblr discussion by vrabia, fuckyeahisawthat, and sixth-light, Archived version
- Tumblr post entitled "Conversation vs Criticism in the Old Guard Fandom" by mewbotz, Archived version
- Addition to mewbotz's post by shadowhannibad, Archived version
- Addition to mewbotz's post by lazaefafir, Archived version
- really wish that people made the effort to use specific terminology when talking about bias in tog fandom by lgbtmazight, Archived version
- As a POC fan, I’m going to add my two cent by eisul, Archived version
- So I was pretty hesitant in answering these anons by odyssxus, Archived version
- There are problems in The Old Guard fandom that should be pointed out by nizarnizarblr, Archived version
- Anon ask requesting a user to clarify their stance on trope preference with commentary from karanoidandroid and shadowhannibad, Archived version
- Response to an anon re: white knighting / purity police by mewbotz, Archived version
- Anonymous ask re: fic writers making Yusuf or Nicolo bi/pan with response from of-scythia, Archived version
- this is why i have Issues with word of god, especially as it pertains to sexuality and representation – response to an anon by of-scythia, Archived version