The Dark Side of Modern Star Wars Fandom

The Dark Side of Modern Star Wars Fandom

Over the last few years, the Star Wars community has experienced a major divide - what's causing it?

By the time you read this, Solo: A Star Wars Story will have been released. It is the fourth Disney-era Star Wars movie, the fourth written by Lawrence Kasdan, and the first directed by Lucasfilm alum Ron Howard. That should indicate that the fan reaction would be relatively positive, right? Well, not exactly. It's one thing to question why the story of a young Han Solo should be made into a movie, but there is a small but very vocal side of the fandom that just rejects any of the Disney productions out of hand, and will make it very clear that you shouldn't like them if you're a “real fan.” I feel there is too much of a divide in the Star Wars community, not unlike the political division we see now in the country. Of course varying points of view are nothing new to the Star Wars fan community, a toxicity in it has become a very visible aspect. At the core, the series appeals to all generations – so what's the problem with the new generation having “their” Star Wars?

When the Prequel Trilogy started in 1999 with the release of The Phantom Menace, fans were split. Some liked the movie, others hated it, and in time, it became more hated than loved. Which is fair, it has its share of problems – namely, Jar Jar Binks. Attack of the Clones had a similar effect on the fans, though it is usually considered better than the previous one. This film also spawned several memes and jokes in time, focusing on the dialogue that wasn't exactly natural. In 2005, the final installment in the trilogy was released, titled Revenge of the Sith. Unlike the previous two, fans generally considered Episode III the best of the prequels, and the memes were more in fun than in ridcule. However, over time, it became the norm to hate every single aspect of the Prequel Trilogy, like they were the absolute worst thing to happen to the world. The infamous RedLetterMedia reviews didn't do much to help this, going in and nitpicking the movies, trying to find issues with them. Eventually, their opinion became the only acceptable opinion, and anybody who liked the PT were looked down upon by the fandom. Not even the Original Trilogy was safe from fandom rage however. With every re-release since 1997, George Lucas added new scenes or re-did effects on the films, and fans generally dislike these “Special Editions.” Debates have been held on whether “Han Shot First” and much hate was thrown towards the changed ending to Return of the Jedi, where the Force Ghost of Anakin Skywalker, originally portrayed by Sebastian Shaw, was replaced with Hayden Christensen (who played the character in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith). The fandom had all but turned on Lucas, who repeatedly said he didn't want to make additional Star Wars films because all the fandom was doing was saying “what a terrible person” he is. Of course the entire fandom wasn't, but it's the vocal few that become the speakers for the whole.

Fast forward to 2012, and the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney was announced, along with new movies in the series being developed. Almost immediately, fans were divided. Some felt there shouldn't be more Star Wars movies at all, and the books/video games/etc were good enough to continue the story, while others were looking forward to them, though there was a slight bit of fear that the films would be closer to say, the MCU or a “safe” Disney film than Star Wars. And I'll admit, I was concerned these new movies might not be as good, but I never said Disney would ruin the franchise. Two years later, we reached what I would consider the breaking point among the fandom. It was announced that the Expanded Universe, the title for the countless books, games, TV shows, anything that wasn't a movie or the 2008 CGI animated The Clone Wars series, would be ending and the new “Canon” would be completely unified. Groups started up, claiming the EU was the “real” Star Wars and the Canon would be “fan fiction,” that it didn't matter if the general audience didn't read thirty years worth of books, the new movies should follow the EU and if the average person doesn't understand it, that's fine because Star Wars movies need to be made for fans not for the audience as a whole. Because there is no quicker way for a franchise to die than to completely alienate the people who didn't keep up with the series because they don't have time to invest into it. And there's no shame at all in that, not everybody who likes Star Wars has to know everything about it. George Lucas himself didn't keep up with the EU, he didn't even consider it canon – his own drafts for the Sequel Trilogy were going off his own ideas, not following the books that were set after the OT. And for the record, the EU became too confusing and over the top for anyone to really follow - killing off Chewbacca for shock value, books that contradicted each other to sentient mountains (yes, Mount Sorrow was a thing), it's for the better that they unified canon and let those stories just end. Canon is more digestible, doesn't need twenty years of backstory for someone to pick up a book and read it.

In the time between Rogue One and The Last Jedi, there was a massive divide in belief within America, and that trickled down into the fandom as well. When The Last Jedi came out in December 2017, it quickly became a matter of loving it or hating it. Personally, I enjoyed it, I'd even say it's my third favorite installment in the saga (fourth if we're counting Rogue One). But others did not – maybe half the fandom says its the worst movie in the saga. That it ruined the character of Luke Skywalker, that the story was so unlike the others, that it should be retconned and ignored because it ruined the franchise. But it's really no different than any other film in the series. Compare the difference between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The tones are different, characters are in completely different areas that we didn't see them develop into. I'd be lying if I said I don't mind the scenes on Canto Bight, that whole sequence could have been shorter. But the fans are not in charge, these are decisions made by people who have been producing and making movies for decades. It's become an “us vs. them” type fandom, where if you love The Last Jedi you're a terrible human being and not a real fan, whereas others say if you hate The Last Jedi you're a bigot and not a real fan. Nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans, it seems. Are there issues with the movie, yes. But almost every movie has them. The movie happened, it's canon, there's no way of changing that. This is a series where Anakin Skywalker destroyed a giant military command ship at nine years old. If you won't complain about that but you'll declare certain things in The Last Jedi as the worst moments in the franchise, you might need to re-watch the movies.

The internet is filled with debate on the current state of the brand. Much critisim is put towards Disney and Kathleen Kennedy, the current CEO of Lucasfilm. An often-cited complaint is that Rey is a “Mary Sue,” a term meaning a character that can do no wrong and has no flaws, does everything perfectly. Kinda like Luke in A New Hope or Anakin in The Phantom Menace – you know, how a farmer can all of a sudden fly military-grade starships with ease. Or how “diverse” the newer films are by casting non-white actors in leading roles and introducing characters of different sexualities in the series, such as Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi. Jonathan Kasdan, co-writer of Solo, said in an interview that Lando Calrissian is pansexual, meaning he doesn't have a preface either way – and despite being backed up by his father and co-writer, Lawrence Kasdan, who also co-created Lando for The Empire Strikes Back, some fans online are claiming this is just Kennedy trying to “ruin” the brand. Even down to Kennedy wearing a shirt that said “The Force Is Female” on it, that's apparently destroying Star Wars as we know it. But it's just a shirt, George Lucas occasionally wore one that said “Han Shot First” despite being the guy who changed that. And in The Clone Wars series, the Light Side was represented by a female character known as The Daughter, but I digress. I personally don't agree with every decision Lucasfilm has made, but I'm not in charge of that. They know what they're doing, as does Disney. And despite outrage online, Disney has been able to recapture the public's love of the saga in a way rivaling the 1980s. Are there issues with the Sequel Trilogy, yes. But are they really the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars? Far from it. The absolute worst thing was those Ewok TV movies from the mid-80s – at least the Holiday Special is so bad it's good, those are just unwatchable.

Do I love Star Wars unconditionally? As a franchise, yeah you could say that. But there are things about the movies that I'm not a big fan of. I don't like Anakin Skywalker being a little kid and flirting with a teenage Padme Amidala in The Phantom Menace. I don't care for how R2-D2 is barely even in the Sequel Trilogy despite him being one of the most iconic characters from the series. Even The Empire Strikes Back, which is my absolute favorite movie of all time, has the issue of Luke Skywalker never getting lightsaber training, yet can fight Darth Vader for a good amount of time without issue. And yeah, I'm not sure if a Han Solo origin story is interesting enough to be a movie. But that's okay, I'm still seeing the movie opening night. At the core, and even George Lucas has said this, these movies are essentially made for kids. Of course it's not just kids that like the series, but it is that kid in our hearts that does. When I saw The Force Awakens, the crowd cheered when Han and Chewbacca came onboard the Millennium Falcon. For a decade, the only new content that was easy to get for the franchise was The Clone Wars television show. But now, kids are in an era where there is annual movie releases, TV shows, video games, books for all ages. To them, the Disney era is their Star Wars. Who cares if The Last Jedi isn't what "fans" wanted? This is how things are, generations change. Kids these days wouldn't care as much for a movie just like the OT. I know because at comic cons, kids are cosplaying characters like Rey, Kylo Ren, and even Sabine. When I was a kid, it was seeing Revenge of the Sith that made me want to make movies. And out there, there's another child who wants to be a filmmaker because of The Last Jedi. They are the new fans, they're the ones growing up with these characters. In time, when there's another movie in production, perhaps they won't let the divide continue.

Cover Image Credit: StarWars.Com

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.

Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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