Full disclaimer, I do not believe that all Star Wars fans are toxic, not by half. So please actually read my article before you get all hot under the collar one way or another. If you disagree with me, let’s talk about it in the comments.
Okay, I know I’m treading on rather sensitive grounds here, but this is something I really think I need to go over. As of late, there has been a lot of mudslinging back and forth between Entertainment News Media, Hollywood, and the fan base of Star Wars. Though admittedly my blog has a limited readership, I wanted to do my part to try to tackle each of these and create a point of order… or some semblance of sanity.
First thing I want to tackle, is Star Wars dead? I’ve actually heard some people out there, including independent journalist Tim Pool say that Star Wars was dead the moment The Last Jedi hit the theater. A lot of people stated that the more they saw it, the worse it got… and honestly, that’s fair criticism. Upon seeing the backlash to it, I wrote a post defending the Last Jedi. I stand by what I said at that point, though even I have to admit that each time I watch it, it really does get worse and worse. Perhaps another bad sign that it wasn’t good was when I left the theater, my wife asked me if I liked it, my response was ‘I don’t know’. That has NEVER happened. I loved Episode 1 so much that I went and bought all the action figures when I left the theater… and they’re pretty much worthless now. I still defend the prequel trilogy because I don’t think it was as bad as everyone said and has a lot of good elements that adds to the Star Wars mythos.
For The Last Jedi, okay… I’ll come out and say it. It was bad.
HOWEVER, if you think The Last Jedi was the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars, go watch The Holiday Special, Caravan of Courage, or the Battle for Endor, realize why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me.
A close acquaintance of mine once said that once Disney purchased Star Wars, we’d all be begging for Lucas to come back within a few years. I’m honestly not sure that’s true. Let’s take a look at what Disney has put out individually…
The Force Awakens: AWESOME! Yes, somewhat of a retread of ANH, but there was enough new stuff to keep us interested and IT FELT LIKE STAR WARS!!!
Rogue One: A gritty look at the Rebellion’s behind the scenes activities. It was gutsy and had the best space battle since Endor. It was action packed, and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Rebels: I have to admit… I love this show. Like… I REALLY love this show. it had a few problems and… God help us, it brought continuity-killing time travel themes into Star Wars, but it handled them well (so far), brought back fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, introduced inquisitors, and brought Malachor from KOTOR 2 into the fold.
The Last Jedi: This… yeah, was a horrible HORRIBLE mess. However, one issue I take with the criticism was the concept of fuel… um… fuel has been around in the Star Wars universe for a while. In ANH we see them fueling the fighters, and in TPM, they literally say “There’s not enough fuel to reach Coruscant”! That’s the whole reaon they had to set down on Tatooine.
Solo: Had some problems and no one asked for it, and yes… I don’t like who they cast as Solo, but the movie itself was pretty good. It was a somewhat dark, but lighthearted heist movie. For what it was, it was pretty good.
The Mandalorian: SO FAR, it’s been awesome!
So, there you go. One truly bad movie. That’s it, that’s all we have to complain about here. The jury is still out on The Rise of Skywalker, and granted we’ve heard that there have been production trouble… but the movie isn’t even out yet. This movie could be a make or break for Star Wars as everything comes down to how it ends, but we still have to wait and see.
So let’s move onto the second topic, toxic fandom… Are Star Wars fans truly toxic as a whole? NO! Absolutely not! Star Wars fans are really the most loyal fanbase there is. These were the people who kept the hype going even during the dark ages of 1983-1991 when there was close to nothing coming out for the franchise and kids like me, who were born after the movies came out, had to rely on their older cousins and siblings to get their hands on the merch. It is a very diverse group of fans ranging all ages, cultures, ethnicity, and backgrounds.
I will admit that some fans consider Star Wars sacred and I can understand that. My intro to Star Wars comes before I was even born! My mother saw Return of the Jedi in theater while pregnant with me! Apparently I was very excited during the whole thing. So I can understand why Star Wars fans get so vocal about their disdain when something bad comes out.
Now, does that mean that some fans don’t take things too far or are not worthy of the label ‘toxic’? No…
The toxicity has been on full display with the treatment of people like Kelly Marie Tran and Jake Lloyd. It is sad commentary on what they’ve had to deal with. On top of that, we get people who are saying that the whole franchise is dead because of one movie, or are refusing to watch the good movies/shows because the franchise is dead, or just seem to be unable to please. This is part of the reason so many directors have refused to tackle Star Wars.
That being said, they are hardly the majority or even a vast percentage. These days, for some reason, Hollywood has gone head-first into the political realm… and not just politics, but deeply divisive, arguably radical one-sided politics. As a result, they seem to have become part of the twitteratti and entered into a bubble where everyone who doesn’t like the direction they go is… seemingly akin to Adolf Hitler himself. As such, when people criticize their movies, those people are labelled as haters and toxic. This is propaganda and nothing more. I think in many cases, this meme sums up the problem pretty well…
So if you want to make the argument that Hollywood is complicit in creating this whole ‘toxic’ fanbase problem, I’m right there with you. This also lends credence to my argument that politics can ruin a story if that is the focus. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I try to keep things apolitical with the exception of two areas; children, because I love kids and have long advocated for their welfare… something that should be universal, and escapism, because I feel like it’s so important and politics has invaded almost every facet of our lives, making it near impossible to escape.
So in summation… Star Wars is not dead and Hollywood is as toxic as they claim the majority of the fan base is. People… it’s just a creative universe. I know we all love it, but it’s not worth getting this worked up over. If you loved the original movies and the clone wars series… they’re still there, you can go watch them and enjoy. The books from the original Expanded Universe are still being published, as are the comics! Star Wars is awesome, go enjoy the literal universe of material!
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