I’ve been on a personal quest of rewatching the old Star Wars movies and after talking with a friend (who has been encouraging me to watch it), I finally made the leap. I recently finished watching the original trilogy and I’m on my way to dive into the prequels soon. Anyways, background aside, I’ve been aware for some time now on how the core fanbase has felt about the sequel trilogies for some time now, and JJ Abrams apparently now has decided to address it himself and I wanted to take a look at it.
According to JJ Abrams in an interview with Esquire:
I think that the bigger question is: How has everything changed? The reaction to Star Wars, the increased attacks, the increased negativity, the Fandom Menace as they call it, you know, that is not unique to Star Wars, obviously. And I think we live in a time where if you’re not being divisive, if you’re not creating something that’s aversive quick-bait, sometimes you don’t quite feel like you’re playing the game. I always loved Star Wars because it’s got a huge heart. Did I always believe in and agree with every single thing that happened in every movie, whether it was the prequels or the original trilogy?
No. But do I love Star Wars? Yes. So, for me, I hope — and I’m sure naively — we can return to a time where we give things a bit more latitude. We don’t have to agree with every single thing to love something. I don’t know anyone who has a spouse or a partner or any family member or any friend, who loves and agrees with every single thing that that person is and does. We have to return, I think, to nuance and acceptance. And so I feel like, as a Star Wars fan, do I love every single thing about each of the movies? No. But do I love Star Wars? Hell yes, I do.
Now, I get where he’s coming from and that in truth most Star Wars fan do love the series and are fully aware of flaws and hiccups the whole IP has a a whole. I can relate with Sonic The Hedgehog, I’m unhappy with his recent games but I still love the blue blur nonetheless. However, I have to say that his statement does feel like he’s either deflecting the concerns of the fans or is outright just saying “look, we get it you don’t like it, let just move on from that”!
As someone who did in fact grow up watching this Star Wars franchise, I’ll admit that it didn’t click with me at all. After seeing it as a child, I moved on for years without giving it a second thought. I hadn’t built any attachment with Star Wars IP or it’s characters. Then after years of not consuming any Star Wars materials, I went and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What compelled me to go see the movie was simply out of interest to see what the buzz was all about.
Overall, I thought the movie was good, it was Star Wars alright but, admittedly I still didn’t get the hype behind the series at all. The concept of Star Wars never clicked with me then, even after seeing the Force Awakens, but I did like Finn and Rey as characters and left it at that. Of course I was oblivious, I’ve heard the rumbles of fans hating on the series, and from my point of view, it was reported as if people didn’t like the idea of a Black Jedi or Female Jedi, which in some instances was the case. You’ll always have people like that.
It wasn’t until years later when I finally rewatched the original trilogy did I realize why people had such a gripe with the new sequel trilogy. Aside from the racist and sexist remarks, most fans had genuine criticism in regards with the direction of the trilogy and felt as if there wasn’t anything new being done with the IP. It was the creative direction that people had an issue with, but unfortunately was shrouded by the small minority who hated the idea of female jedi and a Black man being the lead of a Star Wars movie. Of course, another note was that people wanted to know what happened to all the characters they’ve followed over the years too.
Which was then used by the media to paint all Star Wars fan who had an issue with the sequel trilogy as bigots and the likes. I haven’t seen The Mandalorian, but it’s been praised to high moon by fans so far, so it most doing something right. I think JJ Abrams needs to come to terms with his work and realize that perhaps he just didn’t do a good of work as he previously thought. Of course, I’m not taking away any weight from some of the fanbase either, as the Star Wars fans have a record of been one of the most toxic fanbase in the geek community, however in this specific case, their cause for concern and criticism has some merits.
That’s my take on this. Let me know what you guys think of all this!