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Last Jedi director hits back at toxic, misogynistic Star Wars fandom

Let's talk about the 'fanboys'

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 22 June 2018, 3:27 PM
Star Wars is not here for the BS

Star Wars is not here for the BS Image: Twitter

Star Wars is the most diverse it has ever been, but there is no pleasing its fandom. The sci-fi franchise has been subjected to some dark treatment in the hands of its fans in the last few months.

Kelly Marie Tran, the actor who plays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was run off Instagram by misogynistic and racist messages from fans who didn't like her character in the movie.

Daisy Ridley, who stars as the protagonist Rey, quit social media last year for similar reasons. They are not the first women to be hounded by bitter, mostly male fans, who didn't approve of their entry into a fictional pop-culture world that some fans feel a misguided sense of ownership of.

And The Last Jedi director has had enough. Rian Johnson, who directed the 2017 Star Wars flick, slammed a Twitter account that has been crowdfunding money to remake the film.

A Twitter page called Remake The Last Jedi says it plans to set up "an inbox for story treatment submissions" and will crowdsource the writing process, basically with the help of multiple fan-written scripts.

The funding process isn't clear but financial pledges are being requested from fans. Johnson mocked one of their latest tweets, which claimed that their 'team of producers' are offering to cover the budget of the remake.

"Please please please please pleeeeeeeaaaase please actually happen please please please please please," Johnson tweeted in response to their tweet.

The account claims that it already has $73,000 in pledges. "The plan is to make a version of TLJ that is as close to universally accepted as possible! You'll never please everyone, but at least it wouldn't be blasphemy," the account tweeted.

Through the years, the Star Wars fandom has grown to be more and more relentless in their approach and the 'toxic fanboys' have made it impossible for Star Wars to organically grow into a more inclusive franchise.

It is also important to note that this is a franchise that has been extensively male-dominated and in the last 40 years, hasn't made any substantial strides in representation. That is until 2015 when JJ Abrams made Star Wars: The Force Awakens with Daisy Ridley's Rey as the lead.

Dr Rebecca Harrison, a lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, recently undertook the incredible task of checking Star Wars for gender bias, on basis of the screen time allotted to female characters and she found out that the franchise has an enormous gender problem.

But since 2015, there have been two female leads — Rey and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and the first black female lead (Thandie Newton in Solo: A Star Wars story).

The Last Jedi, which dared to break some of the Star Wars norms, proved especially divisive among the fanboys. Other efforts to boost multiculturalism and gender equality in Hollywood blockbusters have also provoked politically-tinged responses. 

But just as other long-ingrained practices of a historically male-dominated movie industry are being reshaped, the sway of the sexist 'superfan' may be waning. 

Such toxic abuse has long been a staple of darker social-media realms and fan-group messages. It is very hard to ignore that Star Wars is a franchise fuelled by the love of overindulgent fanboys who cannot cope with the rapidly-changing tone of the franchise. 

For instance, the treatment of the 29-year-old Tran, who was a newcomer and had been overjoyed at her induction into Star Wars — sparked a backlash. She was subjected to such intense hatred that she was forced to quit Instagram.

"On social media, a few unhealthy people can cast a big shadow on the wall, but over the past 4 years, I've met lots of real fellow SW fans. We like & dislike stuff but we do it with humour, love & respect. We're the VAST majority, we're having fun & doing just fine," Johnson had said in Tran's defence recently.

Read more:

This professor ranked all the Star Wars movies based on screen time for its women

25 thoughts a Star Wars virgin had while watching The Last Jedi

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review: Generic, but important

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