The difference between real life and fiction Star Wars
Film/TV

The difference between real life and fiction

A few weeks ago, actress Kelly Marie Tran deleted her instagram, after hordes of Star Wars fans harrassed her over the character she portrayed in The Last JediStar Wars fans are very passionate about their favourite franchise. Some might argue a little too much. It’s not the first time since Star Wars fans rallied together to collectively protest their discomfort. Apparently, since Disney has bought the franchise, nothing is the same! I mean, a woman actually helms the new trilogy. The thought alone! There are also more strong women involved in the films.

Let’s not forget that they changed Luke’s character. I mean, people can’t possibly change along the way, can they? It has even gone so far that some fans are planning on remaking The Last Jedi. They are very much convinced that they can raise $200 million to make this happen. It is also said that Solo’s disappointing box office numbers are due to the fact that many Star Wars fans are boycotting the film. Naturally, people are allowed to have their own opinion, but when it hurts actual people, it’s time to take a close look at what is actually going wrong.

Leaving Instagram

The fact that The Last Jedi has been rather polarising is probably the understatement of the year. While it was actually a very good film, it did not live up to many fans’ expectations. This is possible. After all, we can’t always like everything. However, some fans believed that this entitled them to racist abuse, specifically targeting actress Kelly Marie Tran, who portrayed Rose in the film. The character’s fandom page on Wookieepedia was edited to contain some of the following racist elements:

 

Tran received more abuse on Instagram, which prompted her to delete all photos on the social media website. Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill defended the actress, posting the following tweet on his profile:

 

Rian Johnson, the director of the Last Jedi responded:

While the internet has paved the way for trolls and keyboard warriors alike to harrass anyone who does anything that doesn’t please them, a line has to be drawn. While of course you can love a franchise with passion, that doesn’t mean that it is okay to harrass an actual person, just because of a character they portray. If you would not say something to someone’s face, why bother posting it on social media? What is the pleasure of bullying a person to the point where they see no other option than deleting their profile?

Personally, I feel like it is an amazing thing that Disney opted to make the cast of Star Wars more diverse. First we had Rey, who showed us she is a real bad ass. Of course there was the issue that Rey was not included in early merchandise of the Force Awakens. By the time she did show up in merchandise, it all sold out. Rose is the first POC character that has a large role in the Star Wars universe. Whether you agree with the character’s choices or not, it is undeniably a good thing that the Star Wars universe shows that white characters should not be the default.

Toxic Fandoms

This is not necessarily an issue that is part of the Star Wars franchise. I suppose it is partly inherent to the fact that we now live online for the most part. It is easier for us to share our opinions. Celebrities have become more accessible. While this can be a good thing for the most part, there are always those fans who do not see the line between reality and fiction. Their favourite francise is their reality for the most part. They’ve lived and breathed it for a long time and therefore tend to claim ownership over it.

As we saw with The Last Jedi controversy, it is easier for fans to express their dislike and rally support for their opinion, via Twitter or Reddit. While we used to just love the things that we loved back in the day, now fans have become too controlling at times. The simple fact is that fans do not own a francise. Rarely do we as fans get a say in the creation of a franchise, with good reason. Whatever one fan might want, might not be the thing another one likes to see. It is important to continue to trust the creators.

While the large majority of fans are perfectly alright, there are some fans whose rude behaviour online is fuel for the toxidity in many fandoms. It’s no longer a safe space for many, because if your opinion differs from the majority or from a vocal group, you might get harrassed. It is a sad reality and it is those fans who ruin the experience for others. Not that it actually harmed The Last Jedi. The film made over $2 billion at the box office. I for one am excited to see what Disney and Lucasfilm will do with the third instalment of the trilogy. I hope Rose will get a chance to shine. If only to shut up all the trolls.

Just enjoy it

It’s good to have a passion for something, but remember, in the end it is just fiction. It is not real life. It will always be there as a way to escape reality for a while. While every franchise will inevitably have something that you do not agree with (ahum, Cursed Child), there is no need to get aggressive about that. There is especially no need to harrass anyone who merely portrays a character. Hopefully Kelly Marie Tran will feel comfortable returning to social media soon. For those who actually bothered her, it is time to set your priorities straight. There is more to life than just fiction after all.

 

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Article written by Ingrid

Ingrid is the twenty-something owner of The Sassologist, who loves everything that has to do with pop culture. While she is one of many who is in the process of writing a novel, she is also currently in denial over not being a witch. Her Hogwarts letter has yet to arrive. In the meantime she writes about pop culture and dreams about unicorns.

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