I want to start by saying I know Star Wars can’t be all things to all people. Nothing wrong with that. It’s normal. What I don’t understand is the constant drumbeat of negativity in fandom. It’s been there to some extent for a number of years, bubbling away. Most recently it’s become unglued, in my observation.
I’ll be 50 years old this November. So, Star Wars has been with me for a very long time. It means the world to me, and has given me joy during the darkest times. It has never let me down. Friends let me down, family too. Star Wars? Never. Not to any truly measurable degree, at any rate. Sure, some aspects I appreciate more than others. Everything can’t be Number One.
But it’s Star Wars, and it’s here to stay. It will outlive me. How blessed was I to be born at the time I was for Star Wars to be such an influential part of my life? Pretty darn! That’s why I find people’s recent attitudes so distressing. The attacks, not only on the films and the creatives behind them, but also on fellow fans who might feel differently, are just wrong.
For example, The Last Jedi worked for a great many people. For others, it didn’t. Guess what? That’s 100% okay! Opinions are subjective. Respect should flow both ways. It’s okay to love The Last Jedi, and it’s okay not to.
Now with Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s all about how Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t look like Harrison Ford. How dare he! Seriously? He’s not meant to be Harrison, he’s meant to be Han Solo. As great as he was in the role, Harrison isn’t really Han, and he’d be the first to tell you that. Why not give Alden the room and support to put his stamp on the character? After all, he is playing a version of Han Harrison never did. It’s okay if it’s different.
Everyone is so willing, without hesitation, to embrace Donald Glover — who will be amazing as Lando, no doubt about it — but Alden is met with seemingly nothing but skepticism. I know, were I in Alden’s shoes, I’d be feeling a bit deflated right about now. I’m sure he busted his posterior to get his performance just right, and this should be an exciting time for him. Instead, fans gripe about how he looks or sounds and how he isn’t good enough. Is that really how we want to be?
Three names: Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, and Ahmed Best.
They all deserved better from fandom.
And — in before you say it — I know Alden is an adult and he can probably handle it.
The point is — He shouldn’t have to.
Our attitude should be should be one of welcoming.
We’re all Star Wars fans. We have a lot more Star Wars on the way. Some will be pleased, others not. Fair, thoughtful criticism is healthy. Analysis and discussion is encouraged. Shouting and browbeating others isn’t. That goes for all sides! I am not singling anyone out.
Going on social media to chat about Star Wars shouldn’t be like navigating a minefield. There are only so many people you can block, mute, or unfollow before the whole endeavor just isn’t fun anymore. For many people, it’s at that point. Before it gets worse, we all need to pull back just a little. Think before you type. Would you say that to the person’s face? Whether it’s a fellow fan, someone at Lucasfilm or Disney, one of the actors, writers, directors, etc. — It does not matter. It’s become way too easy to say whatever pops into our heads, and it’s a bad habit that doesn’t do anyone any favors. (I’m including myself in this, by the way.)
Another thing to keep in mind as we head toward Solo: Reserve judgment. We’ve seen around two minutes of footage and a few photos. That’s a far cry from seeing the finished product. Give Ron Howard, the cast, and crew a chance to deliver on their promise of a fun, exciting movie experience!
Anyway, I don’t know if anyone will read this, but if you did, I hope I made some sense. The negativity is really starting to take an emotional toll on people, and it needs to be set aside. For the sake of fandom, sanity, and for Star Wars! Otherwise, it’s going to become a long, dreary road. No one wants that. Or do they? I hope it’s the former.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Coffee With Kenobi, its hosts, respective writers, or its affiliates.