Matthew Reddin

Toxic Star Wars Fans, May the Farce Be with You

Enabled by their headlines to remake The Last Jedi, the toxic fandom of Star Wars is becoming more powerful than we could ever imagine. 

 

Every day I make the mistake of logging on to various social media platforms. I do this under the guise of “staying informed.” Many of the feeds and sites I follow are either news and politics or the world of film and entertainment. Of late, neither has really done a lot more for me than made me despair at the state of the American republic, either in response to its body politic or its cinematic output.

In one domain, there’s Trump. All of it. Madness. In the other, it’s this odd subculture with a predilection towards content-specific bubbles. Music Twitter. Film Twitter. And there is, understandably, Star Wars Twitter.

I’ve been living in my own Star Wars bubble, it seems, for many years – owning the films on disc, having enjoyed them to one degree or another, and having seen them all in cinemas; the notion that there’s new films coming out is always a thrill, the franchise being one of the cornerstones of my childhood. As a child, I had the merchandise.

But as the first Corinthians spake, when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The nature of this bubble of mine seems to have revealed itself in that I paid for my ticket to The Last Jedi, sat down, watched the thing, was impressed, and then went home. Because, at the end of the day, it’s only a movie. That’s the way the transaction works.

I became surprised to see that despite the glowing reviews the film got from critics, a large and vocal cadre of “fans” took umbrage at it, and have directed said umbrage at both The Last Jedi‘s writer-director Rian Johnston and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.

On Star Wars Twitter, this has recently taken a pair of interesting and ludicrously stupid turns.

One had a selection of (what could easily be presumed as) virginal, unkempt, self-obsessed man-babies who are so wrapped up in their own self-importance and opinions that they have launched a laughable quest for them to obtain $200 million in financing, as well as the commensurate intellectual property rights, to remake The Last Jedi the way it was intended. By them.

 

 

Quite amusing in the sheer scope of its misinformed presumptive arrogance, it seems to be the brainchild of some basement dwellers who did not like the fact that Luke Skywalker was reduced to a character with depth, who was featured in a film depicting him to have endured some grief and hardships over the span of three decades and became reclusive as a result of trauma. You know … character development. Kind of a staple in narrative storytelling.

Anyhow, their start-up to remake a perfectly serviceable space wizard movie for children is fairly emblematic of what’s wrong with obsessive fandom, in that it wasn’t just a case of them not liking the work, but the fact that they put women … and people of color in these movies – which is not how their minds work.

Another chinless turd went and put some ludicrous mission statement online calling for the aforementioned Lucasfilm head Ms. Kennedy to be removed from her position at Disney so that someone who understands “the fans” can continue to make films that these “fans” will like. Never mind that the four films released by Disney since purchasing Lucasfilm have thus far grossed $4.8 billion … and that’s before ancillary sales, merchandising, and the rest of it. Dexter in his mother’s basement in Arseclown, Nevada, doesn’t care for ladies being heroes, bemoans social justice warriors, identity politics, and political correctness. He wants what he wants and thinks only he can solve the problem. (Sound familiar?)

 

 

The account, which at press time had 97 followers, presumes to speak for “We, the fans.”

In this boneheaded screed, they complain about the films, which is fine (art is subjective), but then laughably complain how anyone who doesn’t like the choices the Lucasfilm brains trust made are labeled in unflattering terms: stereotypically misogynistic, racist, narrow-minded denizens of Trump’s alt-right. And had Last Jedi actors John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran not been subject to vicious racial and sexist trolling online, they may have a point. But they have, so they don’t, and they should just shut up and go outside and get some vitamin D and eat a salad and do as George Lucas says and remind themselves that it’s only a movie.

And it’s all quite amusing, if badly formatted. (And, because they’re twits with too much time on their hands, they reposted their idiotic recitation in the fictional Star Wars language of Aurebesh. Because, of course they did.)

 

 

Long gone are the days when you could just enjoy something (or not), talk about it with friends of yours, and then get on with your day. Now we have fans of certain franchises becoming so incensed about the direction these things take that they form themselves online cabals and weasel their way into what used to be civil discourse. I like Star Wars, always have, and it’s all too bad if you don’t, I’m sure you have your own thing. I feel the same way about Rick and Morty, but again, if you don’t, that’s fine. If you just enjoy it as a smartly written property as I do, good work. If you take it as a cue by which to live your life and license to treat the rest of the world as sub-mental troglodytes, then you’ve clearly got some issues to work out.

Fandom has become cancerous and runs the risk of infecting the rest of us who just like certain things with the toxic effluent of those fans who take these things waaaaaay to seriously.

Calm down, boys. You’re making all of us look bad.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music, and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines, and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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