I am not a casual Star Wars fan. I remember watching the original trilogy as a small child and even got to see Empire Strikes Back when they rereleased it in theaters. I know that the prequels are objectively bad and I will not defend them, but to a geeky preteen, they meant the world to me. I’m talking posters, I’m talking books (Jedi Apprentice fans, where you at?), I’m talking obsessing over theories so loudly and often that my friends would beg me to stop. I’ve been traveling to a galaxy far, far away for as long as I can remember.
I’ve written about Star Wars fans in the past, but it seriously feels like screaming into the void. With social media being what it is with this latest resurgence of Star Wars films, the vile underbelly of this fandom is getting even more of a platform. I suppose we should have seen this coming after the way fans treated Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, and even George Lucas himself, but the hatred aimed at stars like Daisy Ridley (who deleted her Instagram ages ago due to harassment), John Boyega, and now Kelly Marie Tran is just next level. You guys, I think these assholes *might* have issues with women and people of color.
Tran was thrust into the news cycle today because she deleted all of her Instagram posts after months of horrible abuse. I followed her, and truly she was one of my favorite celebrity voices on the ‘gram. Every post was filled to the brim with kindness, transparency, and just a general sense that she loved being a part of Star Wars. The fact that she was driven from a public sphere because some dudes couldn’t handle the fact that The Last Jedi (which is amazing and I will FIGHT anyone who says otherwise) shook up the franchise is nothing less than disgraceful.
The sense of ownership that comes from loving a thing is natural, but the feeling that you are entitled to pandering and lashing out at real-life people when you’re disappointed is another thing altogether. Honestly, if you spend this much time and energy trying to destroy something you claim to love, you don’t get to be called a fan anymore. You’re just a fucking loser.