Dear Companies: We Have To Be Able To Trust You

The other day, I posted that prequel fans can learn a lot from EU fans in terms of getting what we want. I stated that companies will not produce what we want unless we ask for them and when they do listen to us, we should support them.

But there is the other side of the coin.

If companies want to be open to suggestions and requests from us, they need to reassure fans they will take us seriously and listen without judgment. For years I wouldn’t buy anything from ThinkGeek because of it put disparaging remarks about the prequels on its site. When I e-mailed the company to complain about it, I got no response. If any of you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me Tweet about something that happened at SDCC on Sunday. I had been in the exhibit hall, doing some last-minute browsing/shopping at the various booths since I was planning to leave before the con closed at five for 2016. I walked by the Harper Collins—a big time publisher—booth and Cass Sunstein’s “The World According To Star Wars” was on display. I decided for laughs and giggles to flip through it and see what the policy wonk had to say in his book. I was wearing my Super Duper Limited Edition TPM Tsum Tsum t-shirt purchased a couple of months ago from the Disney Store online. While I’m browsing, a guy walked past in a Vader suit and carrying a Jar Jar mask. I guess it got to be too hot and stuffy in the exhibit hall to wear it or something. A girl working the Harper Collins booth was asking her colleagues about the Darth Jar Jar costume, a bit confused over what it meant. One of them started to explain the whole silly Darth Jar Jar meme that started last year. Now bear in mind I was literally standing right in front of them wearing my TPM shirt, holding a book about Star Wars in my hand. The guy says, “You remember how he was in that movie and made it really bad…” I immediately slammed the book back down on the rack and left in a huff. I have no idea if they noticed or not.

Listen up, companies. This is the kind of thing that fuels the mistrust of licensees, retailers, and even Lucasfilm itself. It’s hard for us to come to you with our requests and ideas if you don’t respect our fandom or us as fans in the first place. We don’t want to be laughed at behind our backs or be spoken to condescendingly. We’re not all weirdos nor are we just a bunch of stupid kids. Here’s the deal:

1. Don’t tell us you want to hear from us but leave absolutely no way to contact anyone by e-mail, regular mail, phone, or social media. Not everybody can make it to a convention.

2. If we send suggestions, requests, or complaints, ANSWER US! I always advocate sending communications that are pithy and respectful. If someone is being sincere and respectful, I think that at least it deserves a response because someone took time out of his or her day to communicate with you.

3. Take what we’re saying seriously, especially if it’s true or at least if it’s a common perception among fans. You might say one person is wrong but if it’s coming from 100 people, then that’s an issue that needs attention.

4. Take the time to get to know the fandom better instead of making broad assumptions. There may be money you’re leaving on the table.

5. Never ever disparage our fandom or us as fans. We’re potential customers: show us some respect.

6. If you’re responding to us, do so respectfully. Don’t double-down, don’t use snark and sarcasm, and especially don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. An “I’m sorry” goes a long way. Apologies followed by corrective action go even further.

7. We care about quality. If you’re going to address what’s been neglected, do a good job.

8. Put your own prejudices aside; you might not love something but somebody out there does and that person is a potential customer.



19 Responses to “Dear Companies: We Have To Be Able To Trust You”

  1. Rebel Je'Daii (@SWForce4EU) Says:

    I can’t applaud loud enough.
    By the way, as someone writing requesting more Expanded Universe I can tell you we literally got NO answer until that billboard went up. Then we got form letters.
    Pretty sad when you have to shove a billboard in someones face to get their attention.

    We want to give them money – and for some odd reason they don’t want it if they have to put out what we like!

  2. ARAJediMaster Says:

    Well spoken! Well spoken, indeed. As Rebel Je’Daii has said, I cannot applaud this well enough.

    Now, I think you should have every member in your group send a copy of this letter, with their own modifications (with etiquette and tact) to prevent “spamming.” As an Expanded Universe fan and a Prequel fan, I too dislike the bashing our kind have received and if we can shout it out loud and long enough in the faces of Disney and Lucasfilm, we may get the respect we deserve.

    And a friend of mine tells me that the recent “movie,” “The Force Awakens,” undermines the prequels, which in turn undermine the originals. As Obi-Wan once said “You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle; what happens to one will affect the other.” And as badly as we Expanded Universe fans have been snubbed by Disney, so have you.

    Here is why: JJ Abrams bragged about maybe he’d put Jar Jar’s skeleton in a desert scene. Chuck Wendig had a series of extremely vicious anti-prequel tweets, and Hidalgo seems to mock the PT all the time as well.

    The “lowest common denominator” of fan that Disney is trying to appeal to are the kinds of casuals who repeat mindless prequel hate, so they’re definitely not going to be afraid to cater to that. I try to emphasize that we’re all on the same page; the EU and the prequels are considered “expendable” by the people running Star Wars, and we all need to make our voice heard.

    • Mike Jones Says:

      Sorry, I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you mentioned Pablo Hidalgo. Can you refer me to statements he’s made that back up your claims? If anything, he’s been respectful of the PT & George (heck, he even tweeted one time that he loves the PT and that when it comes to percentages of people who like the PT, it’s 50/50 in the US and pro-PT internationally).

      Maybe you’re confused with the type of sarcasm he uses. It takes some getting used to but you’ll notice that it’s a bit dry but he’s never mocked the PT via snarky sarcastic comments (never seen him display intent of this).

    • Captain Fordo Says:

      Remeber the PT haters are just a loud minority. There the SJWs of star wars “fandom”.

  3. George Shot First (@georgeshot1st) Says:

    George Shot First hears you loud and clear, LP! I think we’ve passed the Tauntaun smell test on all these points, but if we haven’t we want to hear from you guys and gals at: 🙂

  4. Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

    First off… YOU WERE AT THE CON, ON SUNDAY!? Messa was there two, and dressed as the most controversial character in the world… that would be Jar Jar if someone else has claimed that title recently… shame we didn’t run into each other (I was also there on Thursday as Pepper from LEGO Island).

    Secondly, though I have not read the EU essay, these facts and tips are beneficial for fans/consumers and a reminder to product makers (Oh the times I have seen TeeFury have cruel anti-Jar Jar shirts, or even just neglect I-III in general)

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Aww. too bad we missed each other.

      These guys don’t realize they’ve lost an entire segment of Star Wars fans and how much they’re going to have to do to build a relationship with them. I don’t know I’ve ever bought anything from TeeFury.

      • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

        Yeah, maybe next time.. although If so, I most likely won’t dress as Jar-Jar (I even was going to be someone else, but because of the heat, decided to just wear the hat and vest with regular clothes)

        Exactly. In addition, it didn’t help that the companies have insulted fans by vilifying the prequels and related media and people… so a lot of rock that still needs raiding.

        I actually never bought anything from TeeFury, I just like to look at the designs 😛 … I mostly wear my own art and use VistaPrint.

  5. Jacobesico Says:

    My internet went down the other week and I decided to pass the time by having a Star Wars binge.

    I watched all 6 movies plus TFA and for me there were no Prequels or Originals. It was just one continuous story that I enjoyed.

    Then I got onto TFA and I noticed the degrade in quality. It’s an okay film but to me, it’s not a good Star Wars film. There are many shots that had me thinking “Would George have done that? It doesn’t feel right.”

    I’ve gotta say that I find Finn to be far more annoying then Jar Jar and I didn’t think Jar Jar was annoying in the first place.

    The only thing about Star Wars that I find worthwhile these days is Rebels. I’ve stopped going on the Geek Sites and reading Youtube comments and I’ve been a lot happier as a result.

    But yeah I do agree that we have to keep pestering them about getting more Prequel stuff.

  6. lovelucas Says:

    Backing up GeorgeShotFirst

    Just bought two very cool shirts and because I bought two, I received free shipping. The shirts cost a bit more but I am always willing to support those who support the prequels and George Lucas. FWIW – He was able to catch an error in size on my part immediately and wrote me back to confirm. Seems like not only a legit company but one who is sharp and cares about what I care about.

  7. solitaryidler Says:

    Well, at least this criteria helps filter out all the in it for the money companies that do it mindlessly because the Star Wars name is so big that it’s guaranteed sales with someone out there. Since if they’re just bandwagoning on there for the name brand, they’re also most likely going to have a kneejerk disdain for the prequels because “everybody hates them, right?” They likely never examined how selecting the slice of the fandom to target that will probably age out quicker might not be a good long-term strategy. Disney went for a compromise strategy in betting that they could ignore the prequel fandom and pacify the OT-only fans to hook the fandom that’s introduced through the ST. But their general lack of acknowledgement to George Lucas puts them in my no-no books.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I’m sure there are companies that think the prequels are unpopular so consumers won’t want prequel-related products. This is where the hard work comes in. It is going to take a great deal of tenacity to convince them otherwise.

      • solitaryidler Says:

        Yeah, to tell you the truth, it’s really boring to constantly see OT imagery and rehashes of it. The ST is pretty much just a redesign of OT. The prequel designs still seem Star Wars but they’re such a breath of fresh air in comparison. A lot of Padme’s stuff is really beautiful in a fandom that doesn’t have a lot of feminine beauty to begin with.

        But the companies just don’t want to risk it so stick with the oldies but goldies, not realizing that they’re shooting themselves in the foot. I feel like Star Wars merchandise is getting to the same situation with comic books where it either has to cater to increasingly specific tastes within the fandom or rely on the once in a blue moon purchase of casual fans who don’t care because it’s all stuff they’ve seen before for so many decades.

  8. Hoggle Says:

    The Phantom Menace is a Great graphic novel & story, really like it’s subtle shadings that go with and enhance the movie’s style & journey (the Gungan’s are slightly more froggy in presentation which suits the tale’s atmosphere & the Jar Jar style of humor) & i noticed a decnt few more small but additional subtle plot & different character moments to enjoy from the format which i hadn’t really picked up from in film as much, which already gives cool enjoyment. (the Dark Horse 3 set pack is also very attractive & nifty collectable, i wonder if Marvel will do a fancy keepsake binding for the newer sets also? 3D cover binding set or something to house them in)

    anyhows, Thanks for that review, SWPAS.

    Maybe another blog series to consider could be of PT’s theatrical era related books of different kinds & types (if you havn’t already done so, i don’t know) as there is a decent swag of awesome star wars prequelness to be had in that way i am sure 🎈

    • Captain Fordo Says:

      The dark horse comics were excellant! The movie ones were good, but the republic series was even better.

      Too bad marvel got the license now, as there going downhill catering to SJWs.

      • Hoggle Says:

        What’s particularly nice about the PTs graphic novel stories, are the opportunity to take in the fuller, more rounded elements to the plots of the movies (particularly with TPM & AotCs, RotS is abit thinnner & sketchy), along with the imagery from the movies and scenes, which are really well done.
        The PTs are standalone top stories & world building of themselves, & it’s nice to have their graphic novel addition without at times, the additional occasional symphonic wobbles & shortcuts in the PTs movies’ flow, as a way to experience the PTs saga.

        I like republic series also. 🍉

      • Captain Fordo Says:

        Hoggle, Very nicely said!

  9. phen Says:

    i’ve made a point of always doing feedback when the companies send surveys. Thinkgeek never responded. But Funko did, and while i don’t claim credit, their smugglers bounty boxes now include prequel stuff at regular intervals, where as the first year had nothing.

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