So if you hadn’t heard in the news today, Kelly Marie Tran deleted her Instagram account because of months of targeted harassment due to her playing Rose in The Last Jedi. The main rage impetus behind her harassment was the fact that Rose as a character was viewed as awful and in general many people didn’t like her plotline or her existence in the movie. Of course, rabid jerks continued the harassment well after all The Last Jedi hot takes were over for a multitude of reasons – she was Asian, she wasn’t the usual Hollywood conventionally attractive female, she was in a movie they disliked. You know, all very normal things to harass somebody for months on end about.
This isn’t the first time that Star Wars fans have made a person’s life miserable after the movie came out. Jake Lloyd was harassed after he played a ten-year old Anakin Skywalker and shattered high brow nerd’s views on Darth Vader. Hayden Christensen has been mocked eternally for his role as Anakin as well. The actor who played Jar Jar received a ton of backlash from fans despite the character intending to appeal to children. In 2016 Daisy Ridley also deleted her Instagram account – while this wasn’t specifically about Star Wars, but rather her anti-gun violence stance, she was still harassed online for it. Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has gotten tons of vitriol over Twitter. I’ve seen tweets of people threatening to kill Kathleen Kennedy – the current president of Lucasfilm. Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t even have a social media presence so we don’t really know how people would have directly treated him for being cast as Han Solo, but considering the lead-up to the release of the movie there’s a good chance he might have been targeted as well.
While a lot of people get very animated about things that they love, fans of Star Wars sometimes feel like they are on another level. The reactions to all of the recent Star Wars movies have been divisive at best and outright lunacy at worst. The Last Jedi, months after release, still gets people angry if it’s mentioned as a good movie. Discussion about Kelly Marie Tran’s harassment today was often prefaced by “Well, I hated her character, but-” as if disliking her character was an important point to add to the discussion of her targeted online abuse.
So what is it about Star Wars in particular that drives fans to total insanity when new stuff comes out for it? Why is it that nobody appreciates new Star Wars and the original trilogy has to be preserved as some holy relic of cinema?