Be warned, the following is a rant. You may agree, you may disagree, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I am a Star Wars fan – have been ever since I was a kid. The first Star Wars movie I ever watched was Return of the Jedi (1983), which was released two years after I was born.

Over the years, I’ve watched the Star Wars series develop, expand, change and thrive. Today, in my opinion, we’re currently living in a golden age where new movies, games, books, comics, TV shows and so much more are all readily available.

It’s great, right?

Yes – yes, it is!

So it saddens me this week to see so much negativity emerging from the Star Wars community. Don’t get me wrong, most Star Wars fans are lovely people and enjoy the stories that are being added to the Star Wars mythology, but there are some that are not lovely people. These so-called Star Wars ‘fans’ are utter tosspots.

At Christmas time, The Last Jedi hit cinema screens to fairly decent reviews but a mixed reception from fans. The movie was very devisive, with some praising it for its bold choices and others denouncing it as the bastard offspring of the franchise.

The release of The Last Jedi caused a huge backlash, with various Star Wars fans becoming very vocal about the subject online, claiming they thought the movie was an abomination. Personally, I’m on the fence over the movie but I completely understand why some people dislike it.

Fine, if you dislike a movie, that is perfectly acceptable – no one has to blindly like everything. If you can provide constructive reasoning behind your feelings too that’s even better.

The subsequent backlash caused by The Last Jedi resulted in a boycott of Solo: A Star Wars Story and a lot of bad chatter about the movie – something I’ve previously discussed on It’s A Stampede!. This boycott and associated bad chatter I’m not in agreement with.

If you’ve seen Solo and you don’t like it then that’s fine. If you’ve opted to boycott the movie then claim it’s an abomination etc WHEN YOU’VE NOT EVEN SEEN IT, then you’re a dick.

Refuse to watch it because you didn’t like The Last Jedi? Well, if you’ve not seen it how can you claim it’s terrible.

YOUR REASONING MAKES NO SENSE!

Of course, this isn’t the biggest problem at the moment. The biggest problem is the way so-called ‘fans’ are treating Star Wars actress, Kelly Marie Tran and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.

Let’s start with Tran.

Kelly Marie Tran

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

Earlier this week, news began to circulate that Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran had deleted all of her social media content after constantly finding herself the subject of online troll abuse. According to reports, in recent months, Tran has received a tirade of abuse from ‘fans’ unhappy with the character she plays in The Last Jedi (2017).

HELL NO!

Directly attacking an actress and being abusive towards her for a part she plays in a movie is unacceptable. Fine if you want to be critical of the character, but don’t be abusive towards her, she simply did her job and played the part she was given.

Do I like the part of Rose Tico in The Last Jedi? No, not particularly. I don’t feel Rose really added anything to the movie and her storyline (which included Finn) was the weakest part of the film.

Would I blame Tran for this? No.

This week, an actress who loved being part of the Star Wars Saga and who was excited to be included in this huge generation-spanning series of movies, was made to feel bad; was made to disconnect from her genuine fans; and was left with a very sour taste in her mouth about a job that she did.

How crap is that?

And then this brings me onto Kathleen Kennedy.

Kathleen Kennedy

This week, news has also started to circulate that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy is going to step down from her role later this year. The reports – which have not been confirmed – suggest Kennedy will step down due to the financial struggles surrounding Solo.

Again, there is no confirmation that any of these rumours are true. And, as previously discussed on It’s A Stampede!, there are a number of reasons as to why Solo has been a box office flop.

I won’t repeat the reasons for Solo‘s failure here, I suggest you read my earlier post, but what you’ll see is that this situation isn’t the fault of one person. A combination of factors have caused Solo‘s struggles, including the fact that Disney – the owners of Lucasfilm – have too many A-Grade properties all chasing the same dollars!

If you own Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Walt Disney Classics and other high-profile properties and you release many of these movies at the same time, you are going to find your biggest competition is yourself!

Anyway, back to Kennedy.

Whether or not Kennedy will step down or should step down, the thing that’s started to emerge online are comments from people cheering on her possible departure. People claiming she has ruined Star Wars.

Again, people are entitled to their opinions and if that’s what they feel then that’s what they feel. But the venom with which these comments are being made is unacceptable.

In my opinion, Kennedy has been a positive influence for Star Wars. Under her watch we’ve had a new Star Wars movie every year; we’ve had better female representation in the new movies and associated media (Rey, Jyn, L3-37, Qi’ra etc); we’ve had new games, new books, new comics and new cartoons; and we’ve had the charity initiative, Force for Change.

How is any of this a bad thing?

If Kennedy goes I think it will be a huge blow to the franchise. I might not agree with every decision being made, but I’m not in charge of a billion dollar franchise, so I appreciate she has to make choices that I wouldn’t.

There is an argument that as leader of the Star Wars ship, she should step down for Solo‘s shortcomings, in the same way a football manager or any other company director might step down following a huge loss. If that’s the case, then so be it. But don’t celebrate it. Don’t shout for her resignation as the chief architect of all that is wrong with Star Wars.

Is she the reason fans didn’t like the prequels? No.

Is she the reason fans didn’t like the Holiday Special? No.

Not everyone is going to like every Star Wars movie or book or comic that is produced. That’s fine, more are on the way – perhaps you’ll like those.

You don’t? You think that Star Wars is now a train wreck and the series is in the toilet? OK then, go and revisit the era of Star Wars that you like?

enfyst-nest

Image: ©Lucasfilm/Disney

Star Wars is changing – it has to. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it has to change in order to develop.

If Star Wars doesn’t keep evolving then it will become stagnant.

If you don’t want to see it develop then stick with the films and the novels of the past. No one is taking those away from you, but don’t try and bring down a franchise because you don’t want to see more women in the series or because you don’t like the fact that Luke Skywalker got killed off.

As a fan, for years I’ve watched, listened and read comments from people who directed abuse at George Lucas because of his constant changes to the original trilogy, because of the Holiday Special, the Ewok movies or because of his direction for the prequels wasn’t what they wanted. Again, some of these things I understand – but there’s no need to abuse the guy over it!

I’m now watching this same situation play out in the Kennedy era and I’ve no doubt that whoever takes over next it’ll be the same thing again. One thing I am very certain of: Some fans will never, ever be happy.

Never. Ever.

It doesn’t matter what choices are made, what direction the series goes in or who is in charge, unless the series is exactly the way they imagined it, it is wrong.

It isn’t wrong.

I also honestly believe that some corners of the ‘fan’ community can’t accept that women are becoming a focus of the new movies. I say to this, get over it.

You don’t have to like every aspect of Star Wars. You don’t have to follow every aspect of Star Wars – I don’t, I just follow the things I want to spend my time and money on (the films & comics).

Just don’t be a dick.

Be constructive with criticism, be respectful to the people who are bringing these new stories and give them useful positives and useful negatives as to why something works/doesn’t work.

Don’t avoid criticism of things you don’t like – criticism can lead to fun things… like this playful YouTube video (see below) which you should watch after you’ve finished reading my rant. This video – a riff on Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know – mocks the changes to the saga, but it’s done in a lighthearted fashion which is a presented as a parody rather than abuse.

Criticism can help improve future projects, but hostility will ultimately bring them down.

Once again, this post is not directed at the fans who understand the importance of criticism and respect. To those likeminded individuals, I say this: Ignore the trolls, stand up for what’s important and don’t let some people ruin things for the rest of us.

May the Force be with us all.