Okay Star Wars peeps, I’m not one to rant, so I’m only going to address this once, and then I’m done.
After a childhood and adolescence obsessed with Star Wars in the 1980’s and early ’90’s, I went ahead, as they say, and “got a life.” Got married, had stepkids, had my own child, explored other obsessions.
At the time the prequel trilogy came out, they didn’t impress me (note: I adore them now). And though I was still a fan of Star Wars at heart, it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind for many years. Probably 25 years, to be honest.
That all changed with the sequel trilogy. I was excited for them, but wary; and once I did see them, I had to sit with them for awhile and absorb what I saw. But each time, from The Force Awakens to The Rise of Skywalker, I came to love each one. I mean, LOVE them.
Suddenly, I was obsessed again and began to delve deep into the galaxy that I’d been far, far away from for a long time. I had to catch up. I watched The Mandalorian, Clone Wars, and Rebels. I became active on SW fan groups on Facebook. I began reading the new canon books, and some of the EU/Legends. I was so taken with the world of SW again that I began a blog (now two blogs) about it.
And I love it. It’s the greatest fun I’ve had in a long time, and exactly what I needed in this time of my life.
What I didn’t expect, and what continually surprises me, is the amount of controversy that exists in the fandom. In fact, the very existence of Star Wars “haters” within the fandom totally perplexed me at first. How can you be a fan of Star Wars but also hate Star Wars? It seemed a troubling paradox.
Call me naive and out of touch, but I was greatly taken aback at the amount of vitriol I found on social media surrounding certain SW subjects. I’m continually flabbergasted at the amount of rudeness and downright cruelty that certain groups of people level at any part of SW they don’t like, as well as anyone who disagrees with their opinion.
I hadn’t even been aware of the terrible harassment that the actor who played Jar Jar Binks received at the time of the prequel trilogy; so much so that the poor man considered taking his own life.
Excuse me? This is beyond the pale. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t care for the Jar Jar character when the prequels came out (but in my gray-haired wisdom I’ve come to love the goofy guy).
But to harass an actor on social media with hate and scorn? SHAME on them.
The same goes for Jake Lloyd who played young Anakin in The Phantom Menace; and more recently, the ugliness that was spewed at Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in the sequel trilogy.
And don’t even get me started on the hate the sequel trilogy has received. Or the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm in general; or Kathleen Kennedy, or Rian Johnson, or JJ Abrams. All targets of bewildering criticism and hatred bordering on the pathological.
Ruined your childhood? Betrayed George Lucas and Star Wars? Bad writing, lazy writing, writing you could have done so much better yourself? Death threats?
Did I miss something? Call me a geezer, call it a generational gap, call it whatever you want, but I find this behavior appalling and unacceptable. I already knew that the anonymity of the internet age had caused common courtesy (and sometimes even humanity) to fly out the window.
But Star Wars? Really? Damn, what’s not to love?
I don’t understand it, I probably never will, and I don’t think it even matters that I understand it.
I also know that it’s not the whole fandom–nowhere near. There’s a small but very vocal group of fans (trolls) and some unscrupulous Youtubers out there that feed off controversy and bad feelings. It’s the Dark Side of the fandom. They accept their miserable attitude as part of their nature, and embrace it, I suppose. They’re downright Sith-like. That doesn’t make it right.
I’ve always been a fan and champion of the Light Side. As such, I will only ever focus on the love, the positive, and quite simply the greatness of Star Wars.
That said, Star Wars isn’t perfect. It never was, and it doesn’t have to be. The fate of nations doesn’t rely on that to be so. They’re movies. Art, to be sure, to be studied and discussed with passion, yes, but also respect and, I’ll say it, old-fashioned courtesy.
And in the end, Star Wars is meant to be fun. If the haters can’t find the fun in it, or worse, suck the fun out of it, then that’s just plain sad. I pity them.
Okay, rant over, and you’ll never get another one again. Have fun with Star Wars, peeps, and of course–