Ahmed Best, the Star Wars prequel trilogy’s Jar Jar Binks, contemplated suicide at one point. Both Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley cancelled their respective social media accounts due to visceral, racial, and sexual harassment online. Director Rian Johnson even received death threats because of his treatment of The Last Jedi. All of this came as the result of an extreme, vocal minority of the Star Wars fandom.
True fans of the franchise, however, would never resort to such animosity and hatred. Those fans can accept the franchise’s faults and still love and appreciate it as a whole. Courtesy of this year’s Star Wars Celebration and other social media outlets, it appears that those true fans are starting to take the Star Wars fandom back.
The Positive Side of the Star Wars Fandom on Display at Celebration
Despite the fact that George Lucas declared him his favorite character, fans never particularly warmed up to Jar Jar Binks. Honestly, I didn’t care for the character at all. That being said, I still have the utmost respect for actor Ahmed Best. He was as much a victim of poor character writing as he was the vitriol of so-called fans.
At the 20th anniversary Phantom Menace panel at Celebration this weekend, fans in attendance let Best know otherwise. In an obvious show of affection, the Star Wars fandom in attendance proved that it values him as a person, and as an actor. He took the stage to a standing ovation.
Likewise, fans treatedKelly Marie Tran (The Last Jedi’s Rose Tico) to a hero’s welcome. She too arrived on stage for the Episode IX panel to thunderous applause. Again, Rose Tico was not the most liked character in the film. But does that mean Tran deserved the hate she received? Absolutely not. Ahmed Best had been relatively quiet over the years about his ordeal with so-called “fan” backlash. Conversely, Kelly Marie Tran is now fighting back. In both cases, we applaud those in attendance at Celebration for showing these two actors that the Star Wars fandom can still be the positive force it’s been throughout the forty-plus year history of the Star Wars franchise.
Fans Takes to Social Media
Groups of fans are now even banding together via various social media outlets. Their goal? To take back the Star Wars Fandom from those that would bring it down with hatred, ignorance and bigotry. One such group has taken form as the Star Warriors.
The ever-expanding Facebook group (to which you can apply for membership HERE) describes itself as follows:
Star Warriors is a group for fans that is not like any other. We strive to make a community for all fans of the franchise new and old to come together and celebrate our love of it.
We ensure the well-being and safety of all members so they can feel that they can express themselves respectfully in a safe environment without being bullied, ridiculed or having to deal with a toxic environment.
It saddens me that groups like Star Warriors have to even exist at all. Star Wars has been an integral part of many people’s lives, my own included, since 1977. The Star Wars fandom has always been rich with positive attributes, from inclusive groups like this, to the 501st Legion and their charity work. That a vocal few has tarnished that is regrettable. At the same time, it’s nice to know that fans are working hard to do something about it.
I know there is good in you, Star Wars fandom. The Empire hasn’t driven it from you fully.