Continued from page 1

Do it yourself: Author J.K. Rowling has claimed she’s finished writing “Potter” novels. Not to worry — fans already are picking up the slack, creating “fanfic” (short for fan fiction) about Harry and company. Typically published online — the popular site FanFiction.net hosts more than half a million original “Potter” stories — the tales owe a small debt to “Trek,” which inspired some of the earliest fanfic.

(Also bequeathed by “Trek” is “Slash” fanfic, which features pop culture characters in, ahem, same-sex situations. But moving on.)

As for the less literary-minded? Improvements in video effects and editing technology have turned fan-made films into a genre so hot that George Lucas himself has taken notice. The “Star Wars” creator is sponsoring a contest to recognize the likes of “Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager,” a humorous spoof that chronicles the pedestrian adventures of Darth Vader’s little brother, a down-on-his-luck grocery store middle manager.

“With ‘Star Wars,’ you even see people unhappy with where Lucas has taken the films,” Mr. Frazetti said. “You’ll see them ‘fixing’ what they think is wrong.”

Wish Dumbledore still was alive? Then get typing.

Spinoff and off and off: The original “Star Trek” spawned six television series over four decades. The expanded “Star Wars” canon includes novels, comic books, an animated children’s show and one epochally awful cash-in variety show, “The Star Wars Holiday Special,” broadcast once in 1978 and never, ever again.

Similarly, Ms. Rowling last month announced the upcoming launch of Pottermore.com, a website featuring additional illustrations and 18,000 new words. Given market demand for all things “Potter” — a sign-up page for the site crashed almost immediately following the announcement — it’s a safe bet that the milking of the Potterverse has only just begun.

Stimulate the economy: Video games, trading cards, Dixie cups, not one but two branded versions of the venerable board game “Risk” — you name the item, and chances are “Star Wars” fans can buy it. Or ride it, thanks to the “Star Tours” attraction at Disneyland.

“Potter” followers, of course, already have flocked to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an Orlando theme park that sports roller-coasters and restaurants that serve strawberry-peanut butter ice cream. Plus butterbeer. Which hopefully tastes better than it sounds.

Life imitates … Hogwarts: Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative — the Cold War plan to develop space weaponry capable of shooting down incoming Russian nuclear warheads — earned the nickname “Star Wars.” “Star Trek” has been referenced in everything from Beastie Boys lyrics to “The Simpsons.” In the manner of classic myths, entertainment sagas like “Potter” have a way of permeating their surrounding culture, to the point of blurring or even erasing the line between fantasy and reality.

Case in point? In “Potter,” the fictional students of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry play a fictional game called quidditch, in which wizards fly around on broomsticks and toss balls through hoops. On actual American college campuses, actual students play a version of the game in which they toss balls through hoops and run around with broomsticks between their legs. Alas, nobody flies. All of which would seem stranger if “Star Wars” hadn’t already inspired a real-life Jedi religion, the way the Klingons of “Star Trek,” a race of warrior aliens, have inspired the creation of a viable language.

“They spoke Klingon on the show ‘Frasier,’” Mr. Frazetti said. “Shakespeare and the Bible have been translated into it. There’s an actual Klingon language institute in Pennsylvania.”

Keep hope alive: The promotional poster tagline for “Deathly Hallows — Part 2” reads, “It all ends.” Maybe so. Hollywood’s historical weakness for sequels suggests otherwise.

Mr. Lucas wrapped up his original “Star Wars” trilogy in 1983. After years of hemming and hawing, he produced three additional movies. Were Homer alive today, “The Iliad II: Troy’s Revenge” would likely be in preproduction.

There’s simply too much fan interest and too much money to be made to think “Potter” will be any different. Ms. Rowling has already coyly hinted at the possibility of new “Potter” adventures someday. “It is my baby and if I want to bring it out to play again, I will,” she said before the recent London premiere of “Deathly Hallows — Part 2.” Even if she declines to revive the franchise, there’s always the possibility of a series reboot, akin to director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reimagining of the original “Star Trek.”

Story Continues →