The darker side of the Star Wars fandom is unfortunate, especially given the franchise’s general embracing of diversity. A backlash by certain fans against decisions, whether in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or for casting choices, has been an ugly reminder of what can happen when people get irrationally angry over pop culture. And Star Wars author Rebecca Roanhorse is now feeling the brunt of fan rage, specifically through people review-bombing her work online.
Roanhorse wrote 2019’s Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, which takes place between The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and released her novel Race to the Sun in January this year. The author, who’s black and Native American, pointed out yesterday that her other books are seemingly being targeted by a cross-section of people wanting to drive down the popularity of her work.
So my Star Wars fanboy haters have found my Native lit gatekeeping haters and it's like they've merged into a fiery ball of circle jerk angry. At this point, I just have to laugh.
— Rebecca Roanhorse still on deadline (@RoanhorseBex) July 5, 2020
Reflecting on the trend, Roanhorse wished that differences over the franchise could be put aside, saying:
“Both parties could spend their time doing so much more than allowing me to park in their brainspace rent free…I know a lot of hate comes from trying to preserve the power they fear losing. I’m a threat, I get it. But I’m not going away. So maybe go do something good & creative.”
It’s especially depressing that Roanhorse appears to be receiving this backlash for somehow representing an unacceptable voice for Star Wars, with her case echoing the sad treatment of Kelly Marie Tran. As EpicStream point out, the Star Wars publisher Del Rey are even finding it hard to recruit authors to write for their series, due to the intense reactions the works can produce. The negative attitude of some Star Wars fans has also driven Daisy Ridley off social media, although it’s led others like John Boyega to take on trolls with parody videos.
While Star Wars is always going to be an emotional subject for fans, especially when controversial decisions are being floated, it’s a shame that a vocal minority of people are making it harder for those working on the franchise to do their jobs. Let’s hope that the backlash against Roanhorse fizzles out, and her experience doesn’t further put off authors from tackling Star Wars novels.