The Star Wars fandom is comprised of some of the scariest fans I know of.
Not because they dress up as characters when they see the movie. Heck, they do the same thing for Rocky Horror Picture Show, and that scares me for completely different reasons. And there are good fans that I hope are the majority. The 501st dresses up for conventions and charity visits, the latter making them some of the best people on this planet, even if they do dress up as the Imperials. (Admittedly they have the cooler outfits.) As a (hopefully) majority Star Wars fans are decent, average, good people.
And then there’s that one group. The one every fandom has, but some how this group finds a way to overshadow the others like none I’ve ever been exposed to. There are three reasons why. One is the first time I ever heard about fans making death threats was a news report in the local paper about Star Wars fans angry that Chewbacca was going to die in the novels. I don’t know what led to the decision but at least it wasn’t a weak shock death. He went out sacrificing himself to save Han & Leia’s kids, but that’s all I know about the story.
The second is when I went into a science fiction chat server and checked out the Star Wars room. I had a Power Rangers screenname at the time and the people in there berated me for it, which none of the other rooms on that server did to me.
The third is the article behind this long intro, sparked by this op-ed at Entertainment Weekly. Apparently even when George Lucas is no longer part of the franchise he put his heart into, he’s still a bigger villain than Palpatine.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the prequels were good or underrated or anything like that. While I don’t hate them they aren’t very good and I could take an entire article or very long video explaining why. The “Special Editions” were completely unnecessary, granted, although I did like seeing the Jabba scene finally make it into A New Hope. Lucas vision changed as he got older, but there was nothing wrong with the movies as they were.
And yet there was this loud collective insisting that Star Wars had to be saved from its creator, as if somehow this was no longer George Lucas’ vision and dreams based on the classic movie serials, Japanese samurai movies, and the classic “hero’s journey” tale that existed before this franchise even though everyone thinks anyone using that tale is now a Star Wars ripoff. As a creator myself, the thought that people think they have the right to steal my vision because it went in a direction they don’t like or doesn’t match some Expanded Universe (by the way, Lucas allowed the thing, Disney isn’t, and are even ignoring Shadows Of The Empire, which Lucas DID officially recognize at the time) written by people not me is scary. I don’t care how bad you thought the prequels were, you own NOTHING! You have NO RIGHT to push someone away from what they spent a huge portion of their life-giving life and vision to. NONE! That’s fan entitlement of the highest (or lowest, depending on a certain point of view) order and a discouragement to try to reach Star Wars‘s heights as a universe.
What sparked this rant is the article I linked to in the intro. Remember that teaser? The one people were gushing over even though we learned jack beyond “it’s pretty”, which by the way so were the prequels? Someone asked Lucas what he thought aaaaaaand he didn’t see it. He didn’t put it down, he didn’t praise it. In fact, I think these “rescuers” wanted him to praise it, as some proof that he was destroyer of visions…because again his didn’t matter, only the fans did. The man was doing other things and hadn’t seen it. That’s it. That caused a fan rage. What the heck? From the op-ed:
When pushed for an explanation at the 85th anniversary party for Bloomberg Businessweek (where Page Six chatted with Lucas), the retired Star Wars master implied he’s just one of those movie geeks who doesn’t like spoilers.
Why hasn’t he watched it? “Because it’s not in the movie theater,” Lucas told Page Six. “I like going to the movies and watching the whole thing there.” He added that he doesn’t intend to keep The Force Awakens off his radar forever: “I plan to see it when it’s released.”
Not that it matters because outside of a..a…a black Stormtrooper? Run, everybody panic panic while running scream a lot..wait, what? After calling the franchise racist because of Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian (I swear to God, my friend said his college professor claimed he was a pimp), and Jar Jar you guys really flipped out over that? Were you expecting them to still use clones? Anyway, outside of him, that silly lightsaber with the guard in an “accidentally cut or stab yourself” position, and the droid with a ball for a body…and yes apparently that’s actually his body for some reason…there aren’t any spoilers. We know nothing beyond “the Sith shall rise again” and that some of the old actors are making an appearance of some kind.
This is J.J. Abrams, the guy behind the Star Trek reboot and Lost, the mystery without an answer. I don’t know how many good credits there are to his name and there may well be some, but he has his share of bad ones. You have no proof that this will be better than the prequels outside of seeing the old gang closer to joining the Force than the last time we saw them. That’s it. All we know. Let’s not jump to conclusions just because you pushed the creator out. (Geez, Star Trek fans protect Gene Roddenberry, and his vision of the future by Next Generation‘s early seasons wasn’t as rosy as he thought, and it took Deep Space 9 to point those out.)
As Anthony Breznican (which could be the name of a race in this galaxy to think of it) pointed out in his piece, Lucas was really in a no-win situation with that question.
Before pelting Lucas with those stones Luke was levitating in The Empire Strikes Back, think of the pitfalls that surround a simple question like: “What did you think of the trailer?”
1.) If he gushes, that could easily be interpreted as evidence that he’s still involved. The new leadership of Lucasfilm wants to make it clear that he’s not.
2.) If he says, “Awesome! Looked cool!” that could be interpreted as flip or dismissive—or lead to follow-ups trying to get him to talk in more detail. (Return to pitfall #1.)
3.) If Lucas says, “I’m intrigued. I’d like to see more”—well, wait a minute. So he doesn’t love it? Is George Lucas talking smack on the new Star Wars? Is there uncertainty in the Force?
4.) Let’s be honest, “I love it!” is probably not what’s in his heart. It must be painful to create a world only to be exiled from it. Think of the dad who throws a massive birthday party for his teenager, then is told, “Would you mind staying upstairs when everyone gets here?”
I don’t think this group cares. All they want is Lucas to admit he was wrong, that he was a threat to his own creation and that the fans will have the Star Wars they want, despite history showing NO fandom agrees on what they want. It’s kind of pathetic, really.
I hate to sound like an old meme, but leave George Lucas alone, guys. You won. You took someone’s dreams, his vision, his life’s work away from him. Chewbacca doesn’t die anymore. You have the old cast returning. Everything you’ve demanded is at your feet. Stop being a sore winner! And if he did anything for money and not because his vision changed as he aged, or even creating ILM wasn’t enough to get a scene exactly right, it’s his creation. Does he not have the right to bring his vision to life his way? I hate what the DC Comics is doing to characters I grew up with, but none of them created Superman or Batman, so I have no problem wanting them off. They wanted to create something else and are using the “brand name” to make it happen and remake the DCU in their image (no pun intended, as much as it might fit). That’s hardly the same thing.
This is why you people scare me; as a fan who can’t enjoy the property as much for fear of being lumped in with you guys, and as a creator worried someday something I might create will have fans like you ruining it for everyone and taking my vision, my creation, away from me. You make me ashamed to be a Star Wars fan. And what kind of fandom makes other fans ashamed?
If this blog had any kind of responses lately, I’d be counting how many times the phrase “true fan” popped up. Need to complete the bad fan bingo card, you know.