The Simpsons playfully introduced the character of Comic Book Guy to serve as a parody of a certain subset of fans who are never happy with the product they are delivered, despite claiming to be a fan of something. The caricature is relatively light-hearted, though any fan of Star Wars can tell you how accurate this character really is, with the sci-fi saga's fan base regularly and passionately decrying the storyline they claim to love. In hopes of showing fans the dangers of their vitriol, one artist created an image depicting the effect harassment has had on those involved with the saga.
I think this is why a lot of “fans” don’t like SW:TLJ. They don’t like being told that what they’re doing is bad and irremediable. No matter what you think about a piece of media… NOTHING justifies this sort of harassment. Disney knows this, and they’re calling you out for it. pic.twitter.com/wpS0ocxG8K— Andrew Dobson (@ADobsonComicArt) July 6, 2018
Andrew Dobson shared the illustration depicting the targets of abuse, captioning it, "I think this is why a lot of 'fans' don't like SW: TLJ. They don't like being told that what they're doing is bad and irremediable. No matter what you think about a piece of media… NOTHING justifies this sort of harassment. Disney knows this, and they're calling you out for it."
Attending any Star Wars convention will expose an attendee to immense amounts of positivity, though, as the illustration confirms, there are incredibly dark corners of the "community."
Actor Jake Lloyd was cast as a young Anakin Skywalker in 1999's The Phantom Menace, a film which some fans didn't enjoy due to its overall lighthearted tone compared to the original films. Not only did some audiences criticize the nine-year-old's performance, but Lloyd was bullied at school for the film, leading him to retire from acting permanently. Lloyd's co-star in the film, Ahmed Best, recently revealed that he contemplated suicide earlier in his career due to the harassment he received for his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks.
Creator George Lucas distanced himself from the franchise when he sold it to Disney in 2012. When speaking to The New York Times that year, Lucas noted, "Why would I make any more [Star Wars movies]...when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?"
Stars of the Disney films haven't fared much better, with Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran both regularly being harassed with sexist insults to the point that they deleted their social media handles. The first glimpse of John Boyega in the trailer for The Force Awakens resulted in multiple online movements calling for a boycott of the film, merely for Boyega's race.
With The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson used Kylo Ren and his motivations as not just a way to move the narrative forward but also as a way to shed a light on this toxicity. Not only did the character worship Darth Vader and a long-held belief of what a ruthless Sith should be, but he also explained to Rey that, for either of them to move forward, they must destroy their past. Additionally, Luke Skywalker's own self-righteous belief in his missions led to his failure as a teacher, echoing the dangers of putting too much faith in a specific idea of a person or story.
The next film in the saga, Episode IX, lands in theaters on December 20, 2019.15comments
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