On Monday, Coffee With Kenobi published a an article written by Lisa Dullard titled “For the Sake of Fandom, Sanity and Star Wars.” It is yet another plea for civility and kindness in the fandom post- Lucas. On Twitter, it has 18 retweets and 39 likes.
Yes, I agree civility is very important. Rest assured I would never berate, bully or hurt another fan’s feelings for liking The Force Awakens, Rogue One or The Last Jedi (heck, I helped a grandmother look for Rey and Phasma toys at Toys R US once). I do not blame the actors working on those films for the awfulness of those films. They were just doing their jobs.
But this article made me angry in so many ways I had to write this post immediately in response.Here’s what Ms. Dullard says in the first paragraph:
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.
From 1999 to 2015 I couldn’t pick up a magazine, be it Entertainment Weekly or Starlog, and not see some SW article bashing Lucas and the Prequels. I couldn’t look at any internet video or article referencing SW without the usual swipe at the Prequels (and to a lesser extent, the Special Editions). To this day the fake media continues the lie that all Star Warriors hate the Prequels. Even when Christopher Lee passed away, an obituary on RogerEbert.com had to call the prequels “dire” despite the fact that Lee admitted himself that he enjoyed working on them. And let’s not forget (as much as we want to) that horrendous “documentary” The People Vs. George Lucas.
I can’t believe that a certain subset of the Star Wars community – particularly those who run sites and podcasts – are now stepping up to the plate to defend some fans’ right to enjoy the current crop of Disney-made Star Wars films. But for nearly 21 years these same people were nowhere to be found when Star Warriors like me had to put up continuously with SE hate, prequel hate, EU hate, even Clone Wars hate from “unglued” fans who dared, DARED to equate the ’90s/’00s era of SW to rape. Where was the call for civility then?
Where were you when I needed you?
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.
Really? Were you distressed about Simon Pegg’s long running attitude about George Lucas and the PT (F.Y.I. Full of Sith came to his defense at one time)? Did you cringe when Wil Wheaton took an opportunity to publicly trash the PT at the premier of Rogue One? Did you see this man’s tweet?
And is it really the TLJ haters who are the bullies here? Look at how the media is smearing anyone who hated their precious Disney movie:
Other’s are writing silly little “think pieces” analyzing TLJ hate because they just can’t wrap their minds around the fact that audiences disagree with critics:
Remember, these are the same people who sided with OT purists and never called them crybabies, bigots or losers.
And these “attacks” on the new films aren’t just a matter of taste, they’re a matter of principle. This trilogy has to be the most cynical trilogy in all of Star Wars history. It’s telling audiences – particularly children – that everything your heroes achieved in the first trilogy was a waste of time. The people you looked up to – Han, Luke and Leia – are failures that have to be killed off for a new generation of characters whose only personality traits are their skin color and sex. First The Force Awakens turns Han into a deadbeat dad – only to kill him off. Then The Last Jedi turns Luke into a snarky, apathetic coward – only to kill him off. A far cry from the men of Eps 4-6 who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the ones they loved. What lessons are these films teaching our kids?
What lesson will the upcoming Han Solo movie teach our children?
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?
Gee, I haven’t embraced Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Why have Lando in this movie when he still hasn’t shown up in Eps. 7-9? What happened to him after the Battle of Endor? I don’t think I want to know because they’ll just get Darth Aardvark to kill him off anyway.
Harrison Ford originated the role of Han Solo. He’s who we think of when we picture Han Solo. When we’re reading any printed SW story about Han Solo we read his lines in Harrison’s voice. If Burt Reynolds had been cast as Han, we’d feel the same way. It’s OK to cast different actors to play James Bond, Superman or Philip Marlowe because those characters began in literature. But guess what, there’s a physical requirement for those characters too. No one will accept a black James Bond (not even Idris Elba), an ugly Superman (*cough* Nicholas Cage *cough*) or a female Philip Marlowe because that’s not how the authors wrote them.
But Star Wars didn’t start off as a book. It’s a visual medium.
George Lucas cast Harrison Ford because he read the script with a mix of mercenary swagger and world weariness. Sure, I could picture someone else voicing Han in a radio program or an animated feature. But that’s because Han is drawn/ designed to resemble…Harrison Ford! The actors voicing the character mimic Ford’s voice.
Now you may be wondering how I can accept Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan or Sean Patrick Flanery as young Indiana Jones but not Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo? Because there’s a bigger age gap between the first two characters. The Phantom Menace takes place 32 years before A New Hope. There’s a 28 year gap between The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Raiders of the Lost Ark. But Solo: A Star Wars Story looks like another lead up to A New Hope. There isn’t enough of an age gap. Harrison Ford was 33 when he was cast in ANH, Alden Ehrenreich is 28. That’s only 5 years apart. Not very convincing.
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!
Well I saw the Super Bowl trailer and frankly, it looks like another forgettable Disney Star Wars project like the last three. Ron Howard’s last film (Heart of the Sea) was a massive flop. And why waste money on a film about Han’s early adventures when you could honor A.C. Crispin’s memory and pick up a copy (or copies) of The Han Solo Trilogy?
Anyway, I don’t know if anyone will read this, but if you did, I hope you’ll get comfort in knowing that it’s OK to publicly criticize The Last Jedi and Solo. I hope you’ll get comfort in knowing that it’s OK to pretend the Disney buyout never happened. The one bright spot in all this is that the days of prequel-bashing are coming to an end as more and more fans realize that Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without George Lucas.
For the sake of our fandom and our sanity, let’s uphold the Star Wars that truly matters.
May the Force Be With You.