After being mostly—though not completely—offline for the better part of five days, I had a little time to think about everything that’s been happening in our corner of the galaxy lately. Especially after taking into account what Jim Raynor had to post and some facts Derek Tate supplied about the films’ distribution rights.
I realized that there’s an underlying assumption I have about the state of Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and its fandom these days and that affects my reaction to everything. When they “postponed” the 3D releases, my reaction was based on that assumption. It didn’t help that the entertainment media was making claims based on their biases and it especially did not help that Lucasfilm’s hastily-issued press release gave a lame excuse that will forever be a running gag on SWPAS. Especially now that they’ve magically found the resources to spare on TWO new spinoff films. What was likely the main reason, though perhaps not the only reason, was the legal problems of re-releasing movies through Fox now that a rival studio owns Lucasfilm. Fox has the distribution rights on Eps II-VI until 2020. It has the distribution rights to ANH in perpetuity…or what lay people call “forever.” Apparently this wasn’t worked out during the takeover by Disney even though the plans to re-release all of the films in 3D were in the pipeline. But come on guys, we can handle the truth and if distribution rights needed to be sorted first, we’d understand.
Of course overlooking the distribution rights to the existing films stirred another aspect of my paranoia and that is my concern this whole thing, including a new trilogy and other projects, is a rush job. I know they hurried up with the deal to avoid 2013 tax consequences though nobody has come right out and said so.
Which gets back to my assumption and my worries about a new trilogy, aside from it being a rush job. Not only did I think that Abrams was a very safe and conventional choice, it also made me fearful that they’re intending to make these movies as some sort of suck up to the bashers. Not in the sense that they will retroactively toss everything that came before into the trash but that every moment will be some winky wink of “Look at how unlike the prequels this is!” It’s crazy to believe somebody out there wants to make a movie that hurts fans like me, isn’t it? Not very rational; after all a lot of basher nation really thinks Lucas deliberately set out to hurt their feelings. But I’m not alone in having those fears.
The bottom line is I have a hard time trusting official fandom. The experience of the past decade or so is the reason. Even though I wasn’t in the 501st or anything, I was very much out there doing fan events or whatever from the time of the Special Editions onward. It’s fine because it was my choice but it seemed to me that with the backlash against TPM and against Lucas, official fandom left us on the field and ran away. Worst of all, both the official and fan end of things (I’m looking at you, TFN) validated the extreme elements of this backlash to some degree or another. It went beyond being disappointed with a movie. It was all of the cruelty, bullying, and obnoxiousness that went with it. I’m still baffled as to why anybody would want to reward unkindness, but that’s what they’ve been trying to do.
As a result, beneath the sometimes cheerful surface of fandom, there’s a lot of negative energy. It’s often unacknowledged yet it has permeated everything. Especially on the internet. Instead of focusing on what’s positive, the unspoken reality is so much in fandom caters to the negative. There are a lot of really unhappy campers out there making me an unhappy camper too. What stinks is that unless I want to move into a cave in Afghanistan, I can’t avoid it while still having anything at all to do with Star Wars. I can’t avoid it on SWPAS, including when I have to deal with someone who hasn’t been very nice, or on my LiveJournal page. A lot of us limit our exposure to fandom and our participation because of the negativity, which is really a shame.
You know, for a moment last week I wondered if after 36 years it was time for me and Star Wars to call it quits. Then I found reasons to be positive about it again. Whatever the case may be, we can’t hope that Episode VII fails. We can’t become bashers ourselves. A bad turn at the box office could mean Star Wars ends up the property of some private equity firm that could do God knows what to it. So let’s just figure out, how can we do a smudging on this fandom that badly needs it?
Cross-posted on my LiveJournal.