Star Wars Virtue Signaling Gets Slammed
Star Wars Virtue Signaling Gets Slammed
January 19, 2021
Anyone else remember when we didn’t have to know what our favorite soda, snack chip, or shoe brand thought about social justice? Those were the days.
Now, we get constantly “enlightened” about the wokeness of our razors, our ice cream, and popular movie franchises. This time, the official Star Wars account needed to do a social justice genuflection in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
Today, we honor Dr. King and celebrate his legacy. The Lucasfilm family is committed to the fight for justice and equality in every corner of the galaxy. Each of us keeps the dream alive! (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)
— Star Wars (@starwars) January 18, 2021
On the surface, this seems to be relatively harmless virtue signaling. Though why the Rev. King’s words would matter “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” where multiple species of aliens exist and interspecies relationships are a thing is beyond me. And certainly, this was meant to be nothing more than a regularly-scheduled acknowledgment on a federal holiday of the reason the federal holiday exists. (As a side note, this federal holiday may be a lot more controversial in six or seven years, but that’s a completely different post.)
But as we know, even the most milquetoast of virtue signaling can bring down the wrath of social justice Twitter if they think there is a fight to be had.
This you? pic.twitter.com/pUWO06HdUN
— Tom Reakes (@Tomz0rr) January 18, 2021
Yes, that would be a social justice hornet’s nest being kicked over by fans, and really, Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Disney deserve every single fan complaint that they are getting about this. You see, the Star Wars sequel trilogy, produced by J.J. Abrams, was designed to be a politically-correct panderfest of epic proportions. The first movie in the trilogy, “The Force Awakens”, was a sort-of-promising set up that had interesting character motivations, but completely trashed audience expectations of the classic characters that everyone knew and loved.
“The Last Jedi”, the most controversial film in the trilogy, has one of the largest disconnects between fan popularity and film critic approval ratings. A few elements were fixed in “The Rise of Skywalker” but it wasn’t enough to save the fans from feeling that the franchise had collapsed in on itself with a nuclear-level thud. No one walked away from the sequel trilogy with any sense of satisfaction, no matter what your political or social leanings. And naturally, the fact that the actors have bad-mouthed Star Wars fans, Lucasfilm, and Disney after the fact has only incensed the social justice warrior contingent that lives within the science fiction genre. Actor John Boyega, who played Finn in the sequel trilogy, has especially been outspoken about he felt about how Star Wars and Disney treated his character.
How does he reflect on his involvement and the way the newest trilogy was concluded?”
“It’s so difficult to manoeuvre,” he says, exhaling deeply, visibly calibrating the level of professional diplomacy to display. “You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] what I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.” He is talking about himself here – about the character of Finn, the former Stormtrooper who wielded a lightsaber in the first film before being somewhat nudged to the periphery. But he is also talking about other people of colour in the cast – Naomi Ackie and Kelly Marie Tran and even Oscar Isaac (“a brother from Guatemala”) – who he feels suffered the same treatment; he is acknowledging that some people will say he’s “crazy” or “making it up”, but the reordered character hierarchy of The Last Jedi was particularly hard to take.”
So, blame director Rian Johnson? Yes. Blame Disney for thinking they could have a racially diverse cast and they didn’t need an actual plot, just special effects and intersectionality? Yes. The problem is that John Boyega apparently feels like he was “owed” something, but what he thinks he was owed isn’t what he was REALLY owed as an actor.
He thinks that he was owed more screen time because Star Wars is supposed to be so accepting and diverse. Nope. What he WAS owed was a decent, planned out series of scripts that allowed for real character development, instead of yanking all the plot threads and characters around in support of “girl power” over an actual STORY. “The Last Jedi”‘s script is proof that no one knew what they were doing with the script, and fan reaction proves that. (Also, Finn should have been allowed to sacrifice himself in that film – it would have been a much more meaningful character arc.)
What is also proof that Disney and Lucasfilm gambled that a diverse cast and the name “Star Wars” would be enough to keep fans happy – and failed miserably – is the raging success of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.” But social justice warriors have tried to complain about that, too. Everything from female representation to the presence of Gina Carano (who DARES to not march in lockstep with the Hollywood Left – gasp!) has set off the usual complainers. But you know what Star Wars and Lucasfilm and Disney have seen? If you have a strong plot, then the fans tell the social justice warriors to get lost, because they are enjoying themselves. And sometimes, the actors say the same thing.
— I got your #Unity right here (@jtLOL) January 19, 2021
Star Wars is going to have to make a decision, and right quick. Is it going to tell good stories that the fans like watching, or is it going to keep on the politically correct social justice track that ended up making no one happy?
Now, at this point you might be wondering why an entire post has been written about Star Wars on this blog. Well, remember what Andrew Breitbart used to say? “Politics is downstream from culture.” Star Wars might not mean anything to you, but it means a whole lot to others. If we don’t have anything culturally in common any more, then we can’t come together on anything. One of the rare unifying things during this period of time has been media – whether people were binge-watching “Tiger King” or gushing over the cuteness of Baby Yoda. We need good cultural offerings to share. A less politically correct Star Wars franchise that tells good stories would be the best place to start.
Also, more Baby Yoda.
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