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Toxic fan culture: A 'Star Wars' Story

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By Frankie Taggart

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"The most female-friendly release, "The Last Jedi," features women during less than half of the running time while men get two-thirds of the dialogue in "The Force Awakens."

"Yet this is enough... for these toxic fans to cry propaganda and claim 'their Star Wars' is over," added Donaldson, in an essay for the SyFyWire entertainment website. "The mere inclusion of women and people of color is enough for them to cry foul and claim they're 'taking over' the franchise."

Can we just ignore these imbecile toxic fans?

"Tran, who plays mechanic Rose Tico, wiped her Instagram account earlier this month after prolonged sexist and racist abuse by a legion of trolls."

"Ridley deleted her Instagram after being hazed following the release of "The Force Awakens" and sought therapy to cope with the stress."

Apparently not! These toxic fans need to slapped upside the head. They must not have been raised right.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

This toxic subset of devotees -- overlapping with elements of the far-right and the misogynist "incel" men's movement -- are angry that the new films are no longer targeted solely at them.

It's quite disturbing to hear these so-called "fans". If they want their sci-fi to be white, hetero and male, I'm sure there must be some author out there for them. But stop spoiling it for the rest of us women and men, straight, gay, bi, black, brown, white etc who just want a couplle of hourse of escapism without your poisonous tantrums.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I really don't care for the SJW BS between the toxic "fans" vs Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson. I just don't want Kathleen and Rian to label anyone who watched the films and found them bad or meh as racist and misogynist babies which they did. The result has caused even more toxic behavior. The only Disney SW I enjoyed was Rogue One.

The gaming community is the worst when it comes to toxic behavior and communities which is why I hardly play online with people I don't know. It seem trendy to be a toxic idiot online these days in all forms of media.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This kind of behavior is absolutely disgraceful and makes me wonder how these people are in real life. They must have serious issues if seeing different people starring on movies gets them this upset. I also find it amusing how they entirely fail at empathy, the thought that entire groups were virtually erased from fiction for decades on end does not seem to occur to them; instead they are absurdly angry over the fact that the spotlight is now shared with others.

Japan has a terrible version of this, too; virtually everything about otaku culture being a terrifying example of this.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

There is no denying the racist and misogynistic elements to this issue, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s my age or I don’t know what, but part of me keeps thinking 3 things: 1- The internet enables a lot of bad, immature and anonymous behavior, 2- giving badly behaved, immature and anonymous people attention just gives them what they want, 3- the recent media fetish of making every single thing about race and sex only gives these brats an opportunity to carry out their modus operandi. I’m willing to bet that some don’t even believe what they’re writing, they just do it because internet.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The toxicity of those fans is outrageous. Complaining about inclusive casting in a movie where everyone is an alien and a significant portion are non-human is itself weird.

I will say though that I didn't like the Last Jedi and I don't think the overall negative fan reaction should be attributed to the sexist/racist views of some: despite having its moments it just wasn't a good movie.

They really should have made these sequel movies 20 years ago (around when the prequels came out) when the original cast were middle age rather than elderly. Telling us their stories at this age is just turning into an exercise of telling us how they eventually died, which is boring and depressing, while skipping over much more interesting stuff (like Skywalker founding his Jedi academy, training Kylo, getting betrayed, etc) that happened years earlier.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I watched TLJ again, recently and I love it. The darkness, the humour, the "let the past die" vibe. Quite a gamble for Rian Johnson to take and I believe it paid off. Sure, it wasn't everybody's cuppa but he did something quite different and I applaud him for that.

If people didn't like it, fair enough. I know people who love the prequels. But the hatred and animosity from the obsessives out there was frightening.

As I've said before, the saga needs to move beyond it's narrow Skywalker/Solo family confines and either delve into the far future or distant past. Something that's still in the universe but fresher.

But, if it doesn't, I won't be starting any petitions to remake the latest instalments or bully women online!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If you follow the interviews, you can see even Hamill wasn’t a big fan of where they went with TLJ, but he could accept it as the direction the powers that be wanted to go with the characters. Long story short, he has it right with #GetALifeNerds.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As I've said before, the saga needs to move beyond it's narrow Skywalker/Solo family confines and either delve into the far future or distant past. Something that's still in the universe but fresher.

I'm kind of sympathetic to this line of argument, but to my mind it serves more as a way of criticizing rather than complimenting the current films.

For me the best part of the Last Jedi was the Rey/Kylo Ren stuff. Those felt like characters moving forward and I'm interested to see how their storylines play out.

The problem though is that their stories are being told as parts 7,8 and 9 in a series that is mainly about Luke Skywalker and friends. Its kind of an awkward mish-mash of two purposes - telling the end of the story of Luke and friends while at the same time telling the new story of these new characters. It is failing miserably in regards to the former and like I said in my above post I think its because its basically just telling us how those characters die decades after we last saw them, which is just kind of depressing and not very interesting. Like I am very curious to know how Kylo and Rey's stories unfold in Episode 9 but I couldn't care less about how Leia's ends even though I have a strong attachment to her character from my childhood. She (and Luke and Han) just don't feel like they belong in these movies.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A few things I don’t like when I see it in movies.

When an established character from books or film has their race or gender changed.

When it is obvious a character exists only to show “diversity” in race or sexuality.

When the actor playing a character ruins their character by their real life biases, politics or actions. (Mark Hamill, Jim Carrey, Deniro, Mel Gibson, etc)

just ruins those movies for me. I watch movies to escape real life not be further lectured about identity politics.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Child star Jake Lloyd and actor Hayden Christensen -- both white and male -- drifted out of Hollywood after relentless mockery for their performances in "Star Wars" creator George Lucas's prequel series.

As with the new actors and actresses, was it their "performances" or simply the material they were given? Star Wars already had a strong female lead in Princess Leia, maybe she was just better written than the new female characters are. When I say "better", I mean better in the sense of what works in an action movie.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Star Wars already had a strong female lead in Princess Leia, maybe she was just better written than the new female characters are. When I say "better", I mean better in the sense of what works in an action movie.

I wouldn't say that Leia was written better than Rey, who along with Kylo Ren are about the only characters in the new movies that I think have compelling storylines and well developed characters.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Last Jedi was a good film if...

...someone has never seen a Star Wars movie before 

...character development is unimportant 

...social justice is what someone wants a movie to focus on

...grating humor is a good thing

...unintimidating antagonists is not an issue for the viewer

...fully CGI characters were worth watching

...the director had not known for a year before the movie was released that a main actress, Carrie Fisher, had passed away and so had not killed off a main plot character, Luke

...and so on...

Are there people spewing hate on the Internet? Yes.

Does it then logically follow that TLJ was a good movie? No.

We have to look at the film and its merits/demerits in context. This article seems to miss this point.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hmmmm....  A few people make dumb and nasty comments on social media and we call it a "problem" for the franchise?  Seems that is what social media provokes in almost every sphere of life and on almost every topic.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Personally I liked it. The fact that it made over $1b says a LOT of people liked it.

Quality Star Wars in my eyes.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think the real issue is instead of coming up with an entirely new series and running the characters from scratch studios are just pinching old favourites, running the old story line rewritten with new mixed gender inter racial cast and better special effects - A New Hope Luke an orphan joins the Rebel Alliance to save the Universe from the Empire, doesn't seem much difference than The Force Awakens Rey a presumed orphan joins the Resistance to save the Universe from the First Order.

Same with Oceans 11 a guy gets out of jail and plans a Casino heist, Oceans 8 a woman gets out of jail and plans a jewellery heist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It was garbage. PC/SJW diktat and mindset is anathema to good story-telling.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Apparently these SJWhiners at Hollyweird have concluded that lousy films are not their fault. It must be because of "toxic" fans.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Keep in mind that the Star Wars fans who make this idiotic comments also don't have steady employment, are unable to hold a normal conversation face to face, have no gf, and spend the majority of their time in their parents basement.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

But the inclusive Disney era ushered in by 2015's "The Force Awakens" has its own Dark Side -- the vile online behavior of a vocal minority offended that their sacred cow is being stolen.

This reveals the toxic mindset at play here. Women and people of color have been Star Wars fans for decades, despite not seeing people who look exactly like themselves in all the top roles. Now that some (not even all!) those top roles are going to people aren't white men, to even suggest that something is being taken away from these fans is to justify their twisted mindset. These are fans that legitimately believe if they even see one woman or person of color in a position of top prominence in a Star Wars movie, it cannot be "for them". That's an incredible display of bigotry.

Nerd community controversies are often test-beds for far-right antagonism in the general popular culture. If Star Wars fans don't issue severe social consequences to anyone spouting this hateful entitlement, expect members of the right to start floating these ideas in general public discourse.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

TLJ was an absolute garbage script that completely sapped my interest in whatever follows.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with the cast; it was Rian Johnson's script, direction and sense of 'comedy' that did the damage for me.

I'm just baffled by what I've heard on You Tube that Star Wars fans who disliked the film on first viewing often went to see again, just to check? That's not toxic, that is stupid.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sam WhitteToday  05:27 pm JST

Keep in mind that the Star Wars fans who make this idiotic comments also don't have steady employment, are unable to hold a normal conversation face to face, have no gf, and spend the majority of their time in their parents basement.

I don't know if we can go that far, but judging by the huge number of them calling Admiral Holdo's outfit a "prom dress", we can safely conclude that very few have ever been to or seen a prom.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When an established character from books or film has their race or gender changed.

Which character in Star Wars are you referring to?

When it is obvious a character exists only to show “diversity” in race or sexuality.

Like who? Lando? Jabba? Leia?

When the actor playing a character ruins their character by their real life biases, politics or actions. (Mark Hamill, Jim Carrey, Deniro, Mel Gibson, etc)

Actors have opinions, just like the rest of us. I don't like Gibson but I still watch his films, bloodthirsty as they are.

just ruins those movies for me. I watch movies to escape real life not be further lectured about identity politics.

I don't recall any lecturing in the recent SW films. Must pay more attention!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It was garbage. PC/SJW diktat and mindset is anathema to good story-telling.

Somebody's been watching a different film to the rest of us.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My problem is that there are a lot of people like myself who did not like TLJ because of many legitimate reasons, like poor writing, out of place and waaay overused contemporary comedy, useless side plots (Canto Bight space horse adventures? Ug...) and just about every question we had after TFA getting abruptly cut off in TLJ. Who's Snoke? Who cares! Rey's parents? Nobody! Luke? Grumpy old man, get off my lawn! (and to first introduce Luke's inner turmoil with the lightsaber toss gag was just another groan inducing moment)

I have no problem with the female cast. Leia has been a strong female lead since the 1070's ("Into the garbage chute, flyboy!"). The whole rebellion was lead by Mon Mothma (in a dress!). I loved TFA and was looking forward to learning Rey's origins. I just don't like bad movies which is what I thought of TLJ.

But because I don't like a movie with women and people of color, I get lumped in as a racist misogynist because of some vocal minority on the internet. I better not mention that I thought Black Panther wasn't all that great either... Sometimes people don't like a movie because it's just a bad movie.

Side note, I do have a minor beef with the 'prom dresses', but not because of what they looked like, but because every military officer in every Star Wars movie has worn a military uniform. (Leia was still a politician in the original) Suddenly putting a general and admiral in dresses was just out of place (in my opinion). I mean, you never saw Admiral Ackbar wearing a smoking jacket on the bridge of Home One.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and just about every question we had after TFA getting abruptly cut off in TLJ. Who's Snoke? Who cares! Rey's parents? Nobody! Luke? Grumpy old man, get off my lawn!

I liked that the film subverted expectations. As for Rey's parents, do you believe Kylo Ren's claims? Remember he's not the most trustworthy of people... we still have the 3rd part of the tale to be told. I'm sure it's all been worked out long before. Plus, JJ is back.

Luke's grumpiness, imho, is down to his feeling of failure with Ben/Kylo and the loss of his trainees. Not to mention a growing realisation that the Jedi is too rooted in the simple absolute of good versus bad. It's a vanity. So he gets older, he gets disillusioned and he goes into self-imposed exile. It's not unheard of. People go through changes.

I better not mention that I thought Black Panther wasn't all that great either...

No it's an ok movie, nothing wrong with having a rational opinion. There's been better Marvel output than BP. I liked the canvas, the cast, the villain but T'challa himself was a bit bland, a bit too serious. I'll still watch a sequel, though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I really don't mean to pick on you, but 'subverted expectations' is what about 99% of fans of the film use as to why it was a good movie. But after 40 years of Star Wars, I don't want 'subverted expectations', I just want Star Wars. It's not that it didn't go in the 'directions' I expected, it just did not feel like Star Wars to me.

There were a ton of 'universe' details that were wrong, as if Rian Johnson learned about Star Wars from reading the wikipedia page instead of actually watching it, but those lists have been done to death (like the dresses instead of uniforms that I mentioned), so I won't bother getting in to that. Not to mention, it just doesn't bother some people.

I think they're going to go with the 'Kylo was lying about her parents' angle in episode IX to fix it, but with all the other abruptly ended plot threads in TLJ, I really think he intended it to be the truth.

I might have been able to accept Luke's attitude (not like it, mind you) but between them playing too much of it for laughs and it obviously not being what was set up in the first film (really, why did he leave a map if he didn't want to be found), I just couldn't. Every other scene was some sort of joke or sight gag. Like Rey slicing the huge rock with her light saber, immediately cutting to the poor space-nuns almost getting crushed by it. It was just so silly and out of place to the point that it was distracting me from wrapping my head around these unexpected story directions. I honestly think TLJ could arguably be categorized as a comedy, there was that much humor in it.

I do feel bad for Kelly Marie Tran. I honestly thing that Rose was a badly written, throw-away character, (The 'fighting what we love' line is just too cheesy) but the fans' treatment of her is absolutely disgusting. She did a fine job with what she was given and none of it was her fault.

I also hate that John Boyega was completely wasted. Watching him grow from a naive coward to becoming a hero in TFA, then just reverting to become Rose's bumbling sidekick for most of TLJ was a complete let down. I like his other work (Attack the Block is great), so this was really a bummer to see him just be 'what are we gonna do now, Rose, huh?'. And that kiss at the end between them couldn't have been more forced.

I do appreciate a nice debate about the film though, usually when fans and non-fans argue about TLJ it just quickly devolves into accusations about racism and liberal agendas, so thank you.

As for Black Panther, I'd say you are pretty much spot on. It was ok, but definitely not the best. It had everything to be great, but it just... wasn't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Solo effort turns out to be better than I expected.

In particular, Glover, Harreslson and Waller-Bridge who steal the movie whenever they appear.

It's an old fashioned adventure/heist movie and it's quite the antidote if the darker films aren't your thing.

It takes about ten minutes to accept Ehrenreich as Han Solo and he's fine. Sure, there's a bit of clunky dialogue in places but overall it's a fun adventure with some subtle nods and musical cues to the series heritage, a Lovecraft-style beastie and I'm not going to reveal any spoilers but..!

Is it an essential addition to the saga? No. But it's a pleasant surprise all the same.

I like his other work (Attack the Block is great), so this was really a bummer to see him just be 'what are we gonna do now, Rose, huh?'

Agreed, although he did redeem himself in his scenes with Phasma. I hope he's not sidelined again when JJ returns to the helm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I haven’t had a chance to see Solo yet but I think it does look good and from your description, it’s what I’m expecting.

The scenes with him and Phasma were good, but if you haven’t already, you should take a look at the alternate version of the scene. I think it’s a real shame that they changed it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The scenes with him and Phasma were good, but if you haven’t already, you should take a look at the alternate version of the scene. I think it’s a real shame that they changed it.

Will try & hunt that down, cheers!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here you go:

https://www.starwars.com/video/phasmas-end-deleted-scene-star-wars-the-last-jedi

You know, if we never bring up politics, I think you and I could have some interesting conversations :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quite an interesting scene, I wonder why it was changed?

Some changes make sense, mind. Luke Skywalker's original name was going to be Luke Starkiller!

Here's the original draft for the screen crawl:

The REPUBLIC GALACTICA is dead.

Ruthless trader barons,

driven by greed and the

lust for power, have replaced

enlightenment with oppression,

and "rule by the people"

with the FIRST GALACTIC EMPIRE.

Until the tragic Holy Rebellion of "06",

the respected JEDI BENDU OF ASHLA

were the most powerful warriors

in the Universe.

For a hundred thousand years,

generations of Jedi Bendu knights

learned the ways of the mysterious

FORCE OF OTHERS, and acted as the

guardians of peace and justice

in the REPUBLIC. Now these legendary

warriors are all but extinct.

One by one they have been hunted down

and destroyed by a ferocious

rival sect of mercenary warriors:

THE BLACK KNIGHTS OF THE SITH.

It is a period of civil wars.

The EMPIRE is crumbling into

lawless barbarism throughout

the million worlds of the galaxy.

From the celestial equator to

the farthest reaches of the GREAT RIFT,

seventy small solar systems have

united in a common war against

the tyranny of the Empire.

Under the command of a mighty

Jedi warrior known as THE STARKILLER,

the REBEL ALLIANCE has won a crushing

victory over the deadly Imperial Star Fleet.

The Empire knows that one more such defeat

will bring a thousand more solar systems

into the rebellion, and Imperial control

of the Outlands could be lost forever...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No idea why it was changed, but I really liked how it addressed Phasma's true character in front of her troops who believed her to be this elite ruthless leader. I thought if she had to die (again), it was a much more fitting end than what we got. Of course, I still believe we'll see her again...

Wow, I had not seen that original crawl before. That was...weird. I really got a 1984 Dune movie vibe from it.

There were a lot of changes from Lucas's original drafts. You know there's even concept art where Luke was a girl? I'm definitely happier with what we ended up with.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I really got a 1984 Dune movie vibe from it.

I love David Lynch but that film was so disjointed and messy. I believe there's talk of a new version, with Denis Villeneuve taking directing duties. Could be interesting.

I love the Ralph McQuarrie concept art - his C3PO looks borrowed directly from Metropolis. Wasn't aware of Luke being a woman, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I catch Dune on TV, I can't help watching it for a bit, but yeah, it's a mess. I'd love to see them do a modern take.

Here's a some of the concept art from McQuarrie of the female version of Luke. It was very early on in Lucas's drafts.

https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/111103/any-official-evidence-that-rey-is-based-on-early-star-wars-concept-art

The second (I think) and the third (for sure) picture on this page

http://exonauts.blogspot.com/2012/03/ralph-mcquarrie-1929-2012.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The second picture has a fella in it who looks remarkably like Zeb Orrelios!

Looks like all the designed weren't discarded, then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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