Thursday, December 21, 2017

Star Wars, divisive pop culture and entitlement

So last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a private screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with my wife and children. I enjoyed it thoroughly. We had a great experience at a fun movie.

Then I came home and read all the comments I avoided for the previous two days. And my heart sank.

The Last Jedi goes in directions no previous Star Wars film or story goes in. It questions the importance of the Jedi, the righteousness of the battle and the meaning of sacrifice for the greater good. It challenges preconceptions and hate rolled out because of it.

I by no means think everyone should love the film. But it is a well made (if a bit long) film. Rian Johnson knows Star Wars, he loves Star Wars and he wants to make Star Wars something that can last for decades to come. The Last Jedi is very much that movie, even as it re-writes the questions fans were left asking from The Force Awakens.

The sense of entitlement among the haters of the film may have reached peak insanity however. As I write this the petition to remove The Last Jedi from canon is at almost 50,000 supporters. 50,000 people are angry enough to make up and sign this because they didn't like what path the film puts Luke Skywalker on or how it differentiates from the Expanded Universe or how porgs are literally too cute to exist or whatever. They fell betrayed somehow by a piece of cinema, even while demanding a new one from the creators.

Star Wars isn't ours. We can love it. We can hate it. But it is not ours. Much like George R. R. Martin, Lucasfilm is not our bitch. You are welcome to dislike it. You are welcome to give up on the universe you've treasured or return to the Expanded Universe you loved beforehand. But it is not my place, your place or anyone's place outside Kathleen Kennedy and her bosses at Disney to determine the future of Star Wars. Lucasfilm backed Rian Johnson's vision of where Star Wars needs to go and like it or not, that is where it went.

Talk to your friends or find like-minded folks that agree with your dislike. But don't try to rain on the parade of fans that did love it. It's time, much like Elsa, to let it go.

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