Force Out Hate – A Star Wars Battle Beyond the Films

There will always be a debate as to who likes which Star Wars film more, why their opinion should be validated and what we all would have changed in whichever film. We all have different tastes and varying points of view on the movies. Honestly, I no longer feel the need to tell anyone why I love Attack of the Clones or Return of the Jedi. I’ve found such discussions often go nowhere, especially when someone says they dislike The Last Jedi because of porgs or the fact that Laura Dern’s Holdo character is in a gown. If that’s how you judge a film, I’d stay away from movies in general. However, as time has gone on, the criticism tossed around Star Wars content has gone outside of the realm of scenes or character actions. Rather, it has become nothing short of vile as some so called “fans” have verbally attacked anyone associated with the films on a grand scale.

My first exposure to this came after The Last Jedi came out.  The backlash against director Rian Johnson was pretty intense to say the least.  Hey, I’m not trying to make anyone love the film if that’s not how they felt after leaving the theater.  What I would love to do is get people to intelligently discuss why they didn’t care for it.  You know, on an educated level.  While this certainly has taken place, social media has become both a launchpad and an arsenal for angry individuals to hide behind a computer or phone and deliver their tirades, which unfortunately, tend to eclipse those more eloquent discussions.  Some of the comments I had read on Twitter against Rian Johnson were intense to say the least.  Thank God the guy has a thick skin, because he handled himself quite well, even replying directly to some of the tweets.

The criticisms and name-calling thrown at Johnson, while still inappropriate, weren’t directed toward who he his, but rather what his artistic choices were.  While many of these tweets and Facebook posts were unprofessional, they didn’t nearly cross the line that others did.  What really hit me hard recently was when I saw some of these posts directed toward Kelly Marie Tran who played the character Rose in The Last Jedi.  First, let it be known that beautiful actress couldn’t have done a better job on screen in her Star Wars debut.  Still, the haters came out and did so in small, but loud pockets.  They attacked Tran on three fronts, her gender, her ethnicity and her body.

She is a woman in Star Wars.  I fail to see an issue there.  For those who just left the womb, let me educate you in that both society and nature there are males and females.  I know, who would’ve thought, right?!  So even though Star Wars is fake, it truly is appropriate to show both genders with each holding important roles both onscreen and off.  Still, reality escapes many and the social media comments began to grow.  There were people criticizing her for being a woman in Star Wars.  There were people criticizing her for being Asian.  If the racism wasn’t enough, the barrage of insults soon grew into attacking her for her weight.  Many of these things said were nothing short of heinous.  The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not entirely true for everyone.  This became rather evident when Tran eventually shut down her social media accounts such as Instagram.

As I began to dig a little deeper, I noticed Tran wasn’t the only one catching foul comments for who they are.  There were inappropriate posts aimed at John Boyega for being of African descent.  There were volleys of tweets directed at Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy for being a woman in a role of leadership.  One thing I find absolutely confounding in all of this is how this has all manifested itself in such large outbursts in such a short time.  I do not recall anyone critiquing Lando for being black.  No one ever said get rid of Leia because she’s a woman.  Isn’t that how it should be?  Shouldn’t we just enjoy the diversity and the films?  What changed to bring us to this point of hate on such a grand scale?  Social media is one factor, obviously.  What’s the other?  Perhaps portions of society are devolving before our very eyes.  Isn’t it ironic that someone doesn’t have a problem with a three-eyed alien being a senator, but they’ll complain until the sun goes down about a human who doesn’t look like them?

I look back at some of the things said to me as an undersized kid growing up.  To this day I have not forgotten the insults or the bullying.  Words carry weight, and while some folks are able to let the negative dialogue roll off their back like water on a duck, others carry the taunts and cut-downs like excessive baggage.  I feel horrible for Tran.  Here’s a woman who probably experienced complete elation the day she discovered she was cast in a Star Wars film.  Yet that same positive brought with it the immature jabs of the negative few who were sure to make their voices heard.  However, with every negative action comes a positive reaction.

Enter the real fans of Star Wars.  People came out in droves online supporting Johnson, Boyega, Kennedy and especially Tran.  While it is unfortunate to see the ugly side of humans, it was reassuring and heart-warming to see the tsunami of love and support come crashing down on the overly aggressive comments.  One of the best and most professional retorts I had seen was from John Boyega himself.  On June 12, 2018, the actor posted the following on Twitter, “If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters, understand that there are decision makers and harassing the actors/actresses will do nothing. You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude.  Even if you paid for a ticket!”  Amen.

What I found to be the most poignant reply to all of this hate, was from none other than my dear friend Dale Hopkins.  Not only is the title of this article borrowed from his hashtag (I don’t think he’ll mind), but his recent posting hit the nail on the head in regard to all this putrid dispersing of hate over the past several months.  Rather than go into some flourishing intro of what he said, I’ll just post it right here…

“Dear toxic Star Wars fan, I get it.  You’re upset because things didn’t play out the way you wanted them to and you didn’t like The Last Jedi. Some of you don’t like being called a racist, a bigot, a misogynist or even nasty and hateful.

That’s fair enough.

However, if you are making racist, bigoted or misogynistic comments or are acting in a nasty or hateful manner, you’re probably going to be called out on it.

Also, if you’re trying to prove that you’re a decent person, making threats against, harassing or trolling someone isn’t doing anything to actually help you, so you might want to knock that off.

Just talking to you, one fan to another ‘cos I care about the community to which we belong.  So please consider your actions before you put them into play.  Is that really how you wish to portray yourself to the world?


A fellow Star Wars fan.  #ForceOutHate”

I couldn’t have written a better reply to the simply idiotic comments against race or gender if I tried.  If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it occurs on a number of levels.  First, the pen is mightier than the sword.  Words can have a damning effect.  Be careful how you use them.  Second, there are strength in numbers.  A few hundred people can cause an innocent actress to shut down her connection to fans.  That does not make them right.  It makes them obnoxious.  Third, I suspect there is a lot more love out there than hate.  Don’t be afraid to show it and force out hate.  Why some people hold back the floodgates on the positive but open them for the negative is beyond me.  After all, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.


7 Responses to “Force Out Hate – A Star Wars Battle Beyond the Films”

  1. Sigrid Senko

    I couldn’t agree with you more and couldn’t any more prouder of you than I am right now for the review. It was eloquently stated and I hope the “haters” will look inward to their souls and ask themselves, “do I really want to be this hateful, this vindictive, this prejudiced person that I am projecting myself to be?” What can you gain in your life at the expense of hurting others? It’s time to turn the anger, the negativity and the bigotry into something positive in your life. There are good people out there, they just need to stand up and be heard.

  2. Brian White

    Hmm. I never once gave any thought to this at all. I know Star Wars and all movies nowadays are all about diversity and I get that. The stage was set for this way back in Force Awakens. So I don’t get why all the hate and I certainly feel bad for people who as you say do let this deter them from seeing this film or others like it. My beef with this film has only been with the story and it’s recklessness direction IMO (more so on Kennedy not outlining all three chapters ahead of time instead of letting these Directors have free reign and decisions over all). We’ll see where J.J. goes with things. Will he do just another simple story like A New Hope…err I mean Force Awakens or will he surprise the hell out of us taking what Johnson created, flipping it over, correcting wrongs (or rights depending again on how you look at it) and exceeding expectations. I’m expecting a Return of the Jedi like story, but I hope to be proven wrong because Johnson’s was anything but Empire (so credit there to him).

  3. Cash

    Well im sure it is a very small dickish minority who dislike the last jedi because of gender etc However there is a large portion who dislike it cos its one of the worst films ever made. Personally I cant see how anyone could like it. Horrible story, bad characters, horrible cgi casino planet which takes us back to teh worst elements of the prequels and the most ridiculous parody tone throughout that makes it feel like an snl skit.

  4. Cash

    I saw The Last jedi at the first midnight session available to the public anywhere in the world as I have every star wars films since attack of the clones (athough I have seen ever film at the cinema) and I came out with a real depression that still exists today. I have been a lifelong Star wars fan since the late 70’s but now i feel like it has been pretty much destroyed, I am hoping for a course correction from JJ Abrams in ep 9 seeing ep8 just shat over his film. I fear too much damage has been done to the characters.. After Last Jedi the people who would usually go see Solo 5 or 6 times , did not bother. I did not have any excitement for Solo, which I eventually saw and it was fine but the magic is gone after episode 8.

  5. Brian White

    I love you, Cash! Thanks for saying all this. I learned to accept what it is, but it doesn’t mean I have to like the ultimate teenie bopper direction TLJ took. Hoping J.J. can right the wrongs!

  6. Gregg

    Wow you just didn’t get the point of this article at all. Just totally lost.

  7. Brian White

    Who me or Cash?