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There seems to be a consensus on the internet that 2016 has been something of a strange year. Between the multiple celebrity deaths and the bitter US election, many of us are looking forward to a fresh start in 2017. However, in the midst of all this hostility and division, Rawstory has lifted the lid on another great disturbance, or controversy if you will, one which is awakening in the #StarWars fandom...
The majority of fans are looking forward to the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with great anticipation. As we all know, the movie is set to fill the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, investigating just how the rag-tag Rebellion recruited Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to steal the Death Star plans. Joining Jones, the cast also features #DiegoLuna, #BenMendelsohn, #DonnieYen, #MadsMikkelsen and #ForestWhitaker. But whilst the great cinematography and the diversity of its performers are being praised, it seems that some internet users have a downright disturbing lack of faith in the galactic saga.
"Anger leads to hate."
Indeed a dark force began to cloud the proceedings back in August when the white supremacist site website Infostormer, stated that:
“[Rogue One] is another Jew masturbation fantasy of anti-white hatred.”
This sort of allegation against Disney really is a strange one to make, from a white supremacist site at least. After all, Walt Disney himself has long been accused of being anti-Semitic, much like the Infostormer's writers themselves. The Magical Kingdom has only begun to shake off these accusations in recent years due to a lack of evidence. But the company is no stranger to racial insensitivity; its 1946 movie, Song of the South has yet to have a home release in the US, and their most recent hit, Moana, also suffered from controversy when the studio was forced to pull their lines of Mauri costumes.
However, Infostormer didn’t stop there.
“This film should be boycotted. Episode 7 was bad enough featuring that retarded storm trooper Negro and another empowered White female in the lead roles... It matters not how bad the movies are or what subversive messages they promote...It looks as if the Jew run company of Disney is going to pump out as many of these awful multicultural Star Wars films as possible.”
No doubt many people reading this might not be too surprised by these views, yet still remained appalled at the intolerance and ignorance that they display. Unfortunately though, it seems that many other internet users share this opinion. If only they were taken off to a galaxy far, far away...
According to Rawstory, there are an alarming number of posts on the subreddit r/altright which agree with this viewpoint and they have rallied alongside these cries for a boycott of Rogue One.
Among the comments, the user GenFrancoPepe posted:
“(((Star Wars))) Is Anti-White Social Engineering,”
This was probably in response to a Tweet from Chris Weitz, one of Rogue One’s writers, who posted a picture of the Rebellion’s Emblem with a safety pin attached to it. The safety pin is a symbol that has recently been adopted by those who wish to show solidarity with immigrants and members of the #LGBTQ community who feel threatened by the UK Brexit vote, as well as the US election. In other words, the kind of people that white supremacists and Neo-Nazis don’t like.
“The ability to speak does not make one intelligent."
This definitely ruffled a few feathers across the board, especially since both Weitz and fellow writer Gary Whitta had previously Tweeted together “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist organization... Opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women.” And the thing is - if we think about it - they aren’t wrong.
In the original trilogy, the Empire is staffed by a number of white human males, such as Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), whereas the #Rebellion features Princess Leia (#CarrieFisher), Mon Mothma (Caroline Blakiston) and a great disparity of alien life.
Many female fans even see Leia as a positive, if imperfect role model for girls. As a result of this, users such as stanicpriest13 took to the subreddit and concluded that:
“... star wars was SJW propaganda from the beginning? Good now I don’t feel as bad about not watching the new films. The new films are going to flop big league anyway. You can push the female heroes as much as you like, but even most women don’t find it interesting.”
At this juncture, it’s perhaps best to point out that last year's instalment of Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens - is now one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Additionally, the below picture shows just how many women have embraced this new wave of female heroes by cosplaying as Rey (#DaisyRidley). Surely this contradicts the “fact” that women, as well as these SJW’s don’t find Star Wars interesting?
Of course, many readers won’t be too surprised by this development. After all, this backlash follows on from last year’s outcry over the fact that a black actor,#JohnBoyega, was cast as a Storm trooper, which even ended up trending on Twitter under the hash tag 'BoycottStarWars'. And of course, whilst Star Wars is seemingly becoming a focal point for these haters, we’ve also had controversies over the casting of a black actress (Noma Dumezweni) as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the Mad Max: Fury Road boycott. So, what can we take from this?
“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
Anyone else wish there was a Starwars movie where the Empire crushes the multicultural degenerate virtue signaling rebels?
— Raptor (@AltRightRaptor) December 5, 2016
Reading these comments, articles and Tweets like the ones above, it’s safe to say that these racist and sexist writers have misunderstood the fundamental nature of Star Wars. From the moment that the first film begins, the good guys i.e. the #Jedi and the #Rebellion have always embraced the hope and unity of the Force whilst the bad guys have long been depicted as succumbing to knee-jerk prejudices. Indeed, the #Empire and the #Sith are highlighted by their intolerance, hatred and fear whilst the Rebellion strives to make the galaxy a better place for everyone to live in. Indeed, the whole series explores just how dangerous fascism and discrimination are to the survival and well-being of countless life forms!
However, it would seem that the message of Star Wars has been lost on some of these Neo-Nazis who simply choose to align themselves with the villains. Another commentator posted:
“If you’re annoyed by their allegories then don’t watch it. If you’re like me, you’ll pirate it at some point and fantasize about being a stormtrooper...”
Sure, superficially storm troopers look cool. Their armor is pretty sleek and iconic...but seriously? These guys want to fantasize about massacring innocent civilians a la the opening of #TheForceAwakens! And, scarily, this appraisal of the fictional Galactic Empire is not only limited to the internet.
Steve Bannon, the new chief strategist and Senior Counselor for the Donald Trump was recently quoted by The Hollywood Reporter giving his approval to their methods, saying:
"Darkness is good...Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power.”
It would appear that Star Wars’s dichotomy of good vs. evil is currently being reinterpreted in a nasty and unwelcome way by some truly half-witted, scruffy lookin’ nerf-herders. Like the furor over Ghostbusters, this anger or entitlement over Star Wars is coming from particular groups of people who, selfishly, apparently feel disenfranchised by the fact that film makers are looking to be more inclusive for moviegoers in America and worldwide.
Overall, as distasteful as this all is, it is best to not despair too much about the ignorance of this minority. Those who are anticipating the future of Star Wars (and boy, there seems to be a lot of them judging by these pre-bookings for Rogue One) can thankfully remain satisfied that this ignorant boycotting will probably have as little effect as it did to the takings of Fury Road or The Force Awakens.