Ever since Solo debut in the box office, we’ve been hearing rumblings from the media about how the film was a dismal failure. Forbes came out with an article on May 27th calling it a “bomb”, following several articles across the internet where it mentioned Disney was ready for the movie to fail. In some ways, it was set up from the start with production troubles, switching teams midstream, even if there weren’t a disastrous problem with the Star Wars franchise as a whole, movie goers were tepid of this film going in.
When the movie fulfilled the prophecy where everyone agreed it was going to fail, the internet became a hotbed of analyses explaining why the movie performed so dismally. Perhaps the oddest theory was male feminist and science fiction writer John Scalzi’s tweet proclaiming the movie didn’t do well because it didn’t have a strong female lead. But the majority of the internet’s consensus was that they tuned out of Star Wars because of The Last Jedi’s slap in the face to fans, the film having destroyed the legacy of beloved characters in a train wreck of a plot.
As the mainstream media reached peak worry for the franchise’s future on Monday, June 5th, with stories of Solo’s failure reaching Drudge Report, it looked like some heads would have to roll within the franchise. After all, anyone with business sense would see that the very expensive Star Wars investment was squandered by people who didn’t understand the pulse of moviegoers.
But like clockwork, the media got involved in what appears to be a coordinated assault on Star Wars fans.
Solo Failed Because… #GamerGate?
On the same day all of the bad box office news was releasing, Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose, deleted her Instagram account. Within minutes of this, director and writer Rian Johnson made an ominous, passive aggressive tweet on the topic:
Manbabies? By the vague post, it appears as if Rian knows he screwed up with The Last Jedi, and instead of taking responsibility, blamed the fans. The timing was very odd for the Instagram account being deleted at the very least, and shortly thereafter, The Mary Sue came out with an article claiming “racist” mobs were harassing the actress which led to the Instagram deletion. NBCNews went on to liken the situation to #GamerGate and actually evoked Milo Yiannopoulos in the article, even though he’s been largely silent about Star Wars. It was strange to say the least, and with Rian Johnson’s follow up tweet, it started to look coordinated:
The Fake News Media Strikes Back
Like usual with the blogosphere, once one group set into motion, the others all joined in. Soon there were articles about how poor Ms. Tran was “harassed off the internet” popping up in the Washington Post, USA Today, Slate, The Daily Beast, all the usual suspects. Their content was all so similar in the articles that none are worth speaking about individually. This was clearly a coordinated effort. The oddest part was not one of these sources actually had a screen shot of any of the alleged harassment and/or racism on Instagram. All of the original articles only referenced Rian’s tweet on the subject and an alleged change to the Star Wars Wikipedia which is called “Wookiepedia” that referenced this about the character Rose (I’ll stress not the actress, the character in the film):
Childish to say the least, but not nearly a harassment of the actress as the media’s portraying it to be.
After scouring more than 30 articles on the subject, I was unable to corroborate any of the alleged Instagram harassment of Tran. Given that she is a star of a very prominent geek franchise, I’m certain some mean comments were left regarding The Last Jedi, but alleging “harassment” by fans and racism seems to be the playbook that’s used every time there’s a social justice failure at the box office. This happened with #GamerGate, where they claimed poorly made games were due to “sexist” fans. This happened with #ComicsGate where with horrible stories including making Captain America into a Nazi, fans were blamed for “not wanting diversity”, and now fans are being blamed for the failure of a movie.
Star Wars Creators Lash Out:
It didn’t end there. A new round of articles to keep this media cycle going hit this morning. The tactic by the media seems to be to overwhelm everyone with a blitzkrieg of articles on the topic so that the general public has sympathy for Tran and therefore for the Star Wars franchise as a whole. That way the blame can be shifted away from those who have been in charge of the franchise for the last several years as it’s sank lower with each release.
Mark Hamill even was brought into the fold, posting a picture with him and Tran with the hashtag, #GetALifeNerds. It’s not the best look for such a prominent actor to be lashing out at fans and telling them to get a life to say the least. It adds to the appearance of a coordinated attempt to blame the movie failure on fans, and with more lack of evidence in this new round of articles, it makes the entertainment media look very suspect.
Perhaps the oddest of all was Star Wars novel writer Chuck Wendig, who has been under fire the last several years for his shoddy writing in the Aftermath series. He finally lost it on twitter, lashing out at fans, blaming white male fans in particular for both his and The Last Jedi’s failure: “it’s sexism and racism. It’s sphincter-stung white dudes who are so tender, so brittle, they cannot hack that the world is now only 90% about them instead of 95%.”
Very odd comments to say the least, when the only people talking about race in the contest of the film are the filmmakers themselves and the media who’s pushing the narrative. Wendig’s rant went on for more than a dozen tweets, reported by Bounding Into Comics. How far he goes to defend this strange narrative is astounding.
Anger, Fear, Aggression, Of The Dark Side Are They
With the hard media push, the strange deletion of any potential evidence by Tran of the accusations, and the creators all lashing out in tandem, it appears as if this is a deception campaign aimed more at Disney’s executives than at fans. They’re framing an argument as if to say “if you fire us, you’re on the side of racists and sexists!” In order to shoo away any responsibility for the fans abandoning the franchise. It’s such a bizarre move that it’s only going to hurt the franchise further, as fans now have been insulted not just by a movie giving them the proverbial middle finger with its content, but by the creators they’ve been following telling them they’re horrible people and they don’t deserve to even watch the films.
Begun, the #StarWarsGate have.
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