If you are a fan of Star Wars but don’t follow other fans on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media, you are probably living the good life. If you do follow those things, then you already know it is a weird place.
It amazes me when anyone turns the conversation about Star Wars away from anything but the story. Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley have left social media because of the bizarre and hurtful things being said to them. Rian Johnson gets more verbal abuse on Twitter than an Alabama fan receives in Death Valley on Saturday night.
We are not against constructive criticism. We are against non-constructive criticism. Attacking people because you are scared of social justice warriors is just weird. I mean social justice warriors aren’t very warrior-like. Also, telling a director, he ruined your childhood is silly. Your childhood is still intact. It’s kind of insulting to the actual people that were there for you as a child.
Before you fire up your keyboards in the comment section, I too was disappointed with The Last Jedi. While I feel that is easiest the most beautiful Star Wars film, it is also deeply flawed. It was badly paced and awkwardly blocked in some scenes. Some scenes, like the milk scene, were just silly and showy. Kelly Marie Tran’s character (her performance was perfect, though) for me was a huge mistake. She started off great. Her opening scenes were excellent especially when she was sciencing the situation, but then it turned her arc into just another action piece that went overlong. Poe Dameron is a hard character to like for a hero after his actions here. I was often bored watching the film. And I liked it a lot more than Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple did.
What I won’t do is tweet my problems with the movie to Rian Johnson. I made my feelings known by only seeing the movie once in the theater and writing this blog addressed to no one. I won’t also tell someone they are wrong on social media for having a different opinion. I’ll debate with them, but I’ll listen and engage with their thoughts. I was disappointed by the treatment of Luke at first, but the more I think about it, the more I liked his lapsed-catholic-Jedi arc (which I will write about more in a later blog). I think his arc his brilliant now. I definitely won’t attack someone because they are a woman, a person of color, or because they didn’t see the original movie in the theaters. I saw the original in the theaters, but the Mrs. didn’t, and she has forgotten more Star Wars than I have ever learned.
I love that a space adventure that is over 40 years old still gets people so passionate about it. I love that there are what seems to be 1000s of blogs and podcasts dedicated to Star Wars (including us!). We get tired of seeing people try to own Star Wars and what Star Wars can be. I don’t want to see Star Wars movies decided by focus groups or made for a select few fans. I want the saga to go in directions I don’t expect. I want the universe to be populated by thousands of species each with their unique ethnicities. I want good books and exciting comics made by artists, not craftspeople. This sometimes means the pieces will fail. Some will not be as good as others. But it also means we have a shot at greatness.
Think about Star Wars as a restaurant. Chain restaurants are comfortable. We know what we are going to get and we can expect to pleased and full at the end of it. But if you go into a new to you independent restaurant, you never know what you are going to get. You may get something not even Gordon Ramsey can save. But you can also get something special. Something you can get nowhere else. That’s what I want Star Wars to be.
I want them to branch out and get new exciting voices. I want them to be respectful but not always beholden to the lore. The expanded universe is nice, but it had some weird and, to be truthful, silly moments. One of the most ridiculous complaints I would read about The Last Jedi is that there was no leadup to a new power Luke enacted. Well, there was no build up to a Jedi Mind Trick before we see Obi-Wan do it nor any foreshadowing of a Force Choke before Vader did it. Stop limiting a fantasy movie (especially since the power Luke exhibited comes from the expanded universe).
We, as fans, have to face we are never going to get the Star Wars we make up in our heads. And frankly, I’m not sure I would want to. The Star Wars in my head that I want to see would be a nine-part documentary about Jocasta Nu’s methods for archiving Jedi material and running of the library.
Let’s enjoy the new material we get, obsess over it if we like it or hate it without bringing the creators into it (trust me, they will know, they look up hashtags and phrases like the rest of us), and then move on to the next thing.
May the force be with you, friends!