Some sad, scared little men edited almost all the women out of The Last Jedi. Their version is 46 minutes long, less than half the actual running length, cutting out most of Holdo, nearly all of Rose’s lines, and of course Luke milking the thala-siren. (No boobs allowed!) But the best part? The reaction of the actual men involved in the movie.
Yesterday, we first heard of threats from some members of the so-called ‘Bring Back Legends’ movement to spoil The Force Awakens on public Facebook pages. Apparently some of them made good on their threats, because the folks at Del Rey have deactivated their Star Wars Books page. They explain their decision – no, it’s not gone for good – on their Tumblr:
We don’t want to give people who wish to spoil the movie for others a platform to do that and we are under no obligation to do so.
The ‘Bring Back Legends’ (or ‘Give Us Legends’) movement is a rather scattered gathering of fans of older Star Wars novels and comics – almost everything published before September 2014, including several decades of storylines that continue past Return of the Jedi. Last year, Lucasfilm announced that the older fiction would stay in print as ‘Legends’ – but as an alternate universe that doesn’t count towards the new films. Most Bring Back Legends fans want the older storylines to be continued, but there is a rather wide spectrum of opinions and attitudes on how and why.
My policy has been – and remains – to not cover them, for the most part. Most of them seem rather harmless – bitter, sometimes annoying, but harmless. But this is not the first incident where they’ve crossed a very distinct line, and that I will not ignore.
This is not going to change anyone’s minds about Legends, and spoiling people for a hotly-anticipated movie may be skeevy, but this is not a matter of life and death. Still, no one should have to invoke the nuclear option because of what is and isn’t canon in tie-in fiction.
The Force Awakens’ advance ticket sales have passed the $100 million mark in North America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s at least four times as much as the previous record holder, The Dark Knight Rises.
Don’t forget that the reviews – including mine – will come off embargo tonight at 12:01 a.m. PST (3:01 a.m. EST.) Don’t worry too much, we’ve been asked not to reveal spoilers. (There’s always the Force Block browser extension if you’re paranoid.)
→ You’ll never guess what some of the internet’s most disgruntled Expanded Universe fans are threatening to do now! Oh wait, you totally will, because it’s utterly pointless and deranged. That Force Block thing is looking pretty good about now, yeah?
One panelist and moderator was stalked to a restroom by someone from Bring Back Legends. Another panelist was halted in the Marriott atrium and, again, was talked at and had a set of flyers pushed off on them even though the panelist said they didn’t want one. The Bring Back Legends folks at Dragon Con had become general nuisances, but more than once it went beyond that. I spoke with several fans and panelists who confided that they were made extremely uncomfortable by the advances of the individuals from Bring Back Legends. Others corroborated my story, that they were cornered after panels and had a difficult time escaping their speeches and questioning. The combination of forced interaction and awareness of what the general behavior of these people online proved to be an unsettling experience every time we were approached. We knew they weren’t interested in talking to us, they wanted to talk at us and recruit us to their cause.
And those are far from the only incidents he experienced or heard about – there are more at the link.
The Legends folks were, from reports, fairly courteous at SDCC – and I don’t recall any stories from Celebration at all. Did DragonCon just luck into a particularly obnoxious contingent? Did the more fan-run nature of the con make people think they could get away with this sort of thing more easily? Or are we just dealing with a few individuals who don’t understand basic social cues? In any case, this is not how you get folks on your side.
With Aftermath, the first canon Star Wars novel to tread where only Legends had been before, it’s only natural that some controversy would erupt.
Now, some of it has been people who just plain don’t like Chuck Wendig’s writing style and/or the book itself. I didn’t find the style bothersome and liked the book, but both are perfectly valid complaints.
And then, there are the… Others. Our old friends (‘friends’) the folks who are still bent out of shape that the old Expanded Universe has been decanonized. And, of course, the folks who are mad that some of Wendig’s characters happen to be gay.
Needless to say, neither group is particularly sympathetic. The Legends folks might have a case, if they weren’t so plain-out obnoxious, but if there’s a moderate part of this supremely ineffectual ‘movement’ they’re being drowned out.
Together, some outspoken members of those three groups all got the idea to… Leave a whole bunch of very quick, very many one-star reviews on Amazon. Jim C. Hines and Michael Patrick Hicks have some nice breakdowns of that. Of course, there’s also a wonderful irony here. Per Wendig himself:
…A passel of negative reviews actually elevates the book’s overall sales ranking. Which in turn garners it more sales. Amazon reps have been clear with me on this point: buyers buy books with reviews, period. Not good reviews, not bad reviews. But rather: quantity of reviews impress buyers to make purchases. So, leaving a ton of bad reviews actually increases the book’s sales. Ironic, and not likely what anyone supporting such a campaign intends.
His response to the objections regarding the gay characters needs to be read in full, though.
I’m not here to tell you how to feel about anything Star Wars. We are all adults here (or so I am going to assume for my own mental health,) and I can’t believe I have to keep saying this, but: Not everything in Star Wars is going to work for everyone, and that’s fine. Feel however you like about whatever, it’s no skin off my back. But that doesn’t give you the right to be a dick, and there’s far too much of that going around. Or, to throw it to Wendig again:
Loving something is fandom. Hate isn’t, or shouldn’t be, part of it. Fandom is about sharing awesome things with like-minded people. It isn’t about spreading hate and forming spiteful tribes. That’s heinous fuckery. Do not partake in heinous fuckery.
It’s pretty ugly, this movement, so much so that even someone with a cast-iron case of trainwreck syndrome (hi) will want to look away. Yes, Eric quotes me, but I haven’t made a study of these people: What I’ve already run across in my regular travels on Facebook and Tumblr is more than enough. I love getting silly and (yes) occasionally childish with fandom (ahem, Tumblr) but the hatred and negativity of all this is just above and beyond. And I cut my fandom teeth flaming Star Wars authors for ‘bad’ books. I used to read Fandom Wank regularly, for fun. I moderated message boards during the prequel era. I can handle more than your standard amount of fannish negativity.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad, or even a little angry, about the Legends announcement. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that timeline to continue. But there is something wrong with letting things get quite this toxic over a bunch of novels, no matter how beloved they may be. It poisons the well.
I hope these folks are channeling something like the snotty, flaming 17-year-old I was once, and they’ll grow up and move on, with or without Star Wars. There’s little doubt in my mind that this will die down, regardless. But it’s beyond sad to see EU fandom, even if it’s just the fringes, reduced to such a sad state. We’re better than this. I hope.
While several of us had some objections with Mike Cooper’s orignal follow-up on the piece, he does have some suggestions today on ways to ‘contribute’ to Wookieepedia’s much-touted attention to pointless detail. I’m not sure it’ll actually do any good in the long run, but it can’t exactly hurt.
In conclusion, a few points from the 2007 vote that ended in an ‘insufficient consensus’ to delete.
…Keeping this article just plays to the worst sort of fanboy stereotype and I don’t think it’s worth the hassles. – Valin Kenobi
Wookieepedia is primarily a resource for people to find out information about Star Wars, yes? If I was thinking “hmmm, who is this Baron Fel guy that everyone keeps talking about?” I could look him up on Wookieepedia. I could read the links in his article and learn all about him, what he’s associated with, and the books he appeared in. Would I ever, though, think to myself “Hmm, what are breasts? To Wookieepedia!” ? Never. – GrandAdmiralJello
As an outsider, if I came across this article, I would basically interpret this article as being evidence of this community’s lack of professionalism and um, ogling fanboyish fanwankery by some members. I can see this now popping up on Chee’s forum over at SW.com “Mr. Chee do breasts have an entry in the Holocron? Because they have an article on Wookieepedia (link).” The eyes would be rolling for the next decade or so. – Atarumaster88
To be honest, I hadn’t planned to write more about Wookieepedia’s page on breasts. I’m already on record as disapproving, twice. Outrage fatigue happens even to the outraged, and quite honestly I don’t have the temperament or patience to continue to explain Feminism 101 to this fandom.
But the page and one of the responses ended up on Tumblr – one of those areas of fandom where you do actually see female majorities in many circles – and I remembered why it’s important that we keep speaking out.