There are two sides of fanboy culture. There are fans that go out and like to enjoy everything made for their fandom. New movies, comics, and other media that brings people joy. The other side of fanboy culture is toxic and the root of all things annoying. It is the latter that I wish to discuss. They are the problem with our current pop culture. It is amazing when one considers the sense of entitlement many fanboys feel they are given in regards to franchise movies. Now, here’s something to consider about the internet: not everyone feels the same way. Many online sites preach about how awful a film will be weeks before it comes out.

“Fanboy” culture is making the internet a toxic place. In an era of fake news, the internet is just a part of the bigger problem. We expect places like big companies like Facebook, Google, or Twitter to somehow shield us from it, however, this doesn’t stop us from jumping to those clickbait sites that say so-and-so heard fourth hand about what Avengers 4 is going to be about. It doesn’t stop there though as further provide us with their opinion about the yet-unreleased movies based on minors speculations and fan-theories. The internet loves to see things fail. People love train wrecks. However, we have to be better and realize that the internet is not the summation of people. It’s the summation of trolls, and trolls need to remain under the bridge. on Being a fan of something doesn’t mean you absolutely have to love every change that comes through, however, if you find yourself harassing celebrities online, or engaging in any kind of arguments that perpetuates misogyny, or racism, chances are you’re not actually a fan. To be clear: just because you claim to be a fan of something, does not mean that you are entitled to anything. You are not “passionate”, you are not “diehard”, you are not even “spirited”. You are simply abusive.

Solo Movie | Star Wars Story
Solo was another movie which was heavily under discussion for whether it was “necessary”

I personally feel fanboying leads to overhyping a certain movie or character and is a plague for movies. This often leads to over-excitement and enthusiasm and certain expectations from the movie. Thus when it fails to live up to its hype or the expectations created solely based off the hype, it incurs the wrath of the whole internet. Conversely, fanboying may also lead to changing the perception of a film completely. It can make people come at the conclusion that a certain film is flawless despite having problems and plot holes. Now, having plot holes certainly doesn’t mean that a movie is necessarily bad, however, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the problems and yet enjoying it despite its flaws. There a difference between loving something and crowning it as the perfect piece of creation and rejecting any form of criticism. Fanboying leads to loving something so much to the point that one overlooks all its flaws and living in a state of denial.

I will like to illustrate my points by drawing attention to one of the most recent cases of Toxic Fanboy Culture and its victims. Kelly Marie Tran, the Vietnamese-American actor who plays Rose in the movie deleted all her Instagram posts. While Tran hasn’t specifically stated that online trolling is the reason she left social media, since the release of The Last Jedi in December she’s been on the receiving end of a torrent of online abuse. Some comments voiced dissatisfaction with the character of Rose itself or deemed it necessary to attack Tran personally about her performance. Others were more concerned about her gender and her race. For an idea of what she’s been dealing with, one individual even went so far as to make changes in the Star Wars wiki which read, “Ching Chong Wing Tong is a dumbass fucking character Disney made and is a stupid, retarded, and autistic love interest for Finn. She better die in the coma because she is a dumbass bitch.”

Kellie Marie Tran & John Boyega in Star Wars: The Last Jedi movies
Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose deleted all her Instagram posts and John Boyega became a spokesperson for Black actors everywhere to address racial abuse.

If constant invective like this is the reason for her leaving social media – if she thought it was best to sever any form of communication between her and the type of person who thinks sending messages of such nature to a stranger is the right thing to do – then you can hardly blame her. Her colleague Daisy Ridley also left Instagram in 2016. John Boyega was forced to become a spokesperson for Black actors everywhere and address racial abuse before Episode VII even came out after the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII was circulated in response to the film’s “anti-white propaganda promoting #whitegenocide”, and the argument that “Jewish JJ Abrams is an anti-white fanatic”. A broiling nucleus of “fans” was also up in arms about the revelation that Lando Calrissian in Solo is pansexual. Some people went as far as to petition for the removal of The Last Jedi from canon. If I’m not wrong, This is just a movie. It’s a very good movie with lots of interesting plot twists and fleshed-out characters but a movie nonetheless.

Most of the flaws that people ascribe to this movie don’t actually exist. There are no pacing issues, no major flaws in the direction and tones. The characters are fully-developed. The action is well-executed. You can enjoy this movie on multiple levels. It gives you a lot to think about, but if you just want a fast-paced blockbuster movie with lightsabers, you’ll find that too. This is a perfectly well-executed movie despite its flaws.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars Movies
Daisy Ridley left Instagram in 2016

The first of the Star Wars movies debuted 40 years ago. The fans who grew up with it not only have kids of their own, but those kids have grown up to have their own ideas of what Star Wars is and what it should be. It’s a franchise that is torn between the lefty ideas of George Lucas and the fact that it became a major capitalist cash cow. The Force Awakens was attacked for being too slavish to the old Star Wars movies; The Last Jedi is being attacked for not being slavish enough, and it perfectly encapsulates the problem with the current fanboy culture.

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