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Admit It, ‘Star Wars’ Fanboys. You've Made a Religion of the Franchise.

Updated on July 24, 2018
Rhett Wilkinson profile image

Rhett has won 12 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists or Religion Newswriters Association. He's on Twitter @rhettrites.

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“Star Wars” is a religion of fanboys. (“Fanboy” is described on Dictionary.com as “an obsessive male fan, especially of … science fiction.”)

Perhaps this shouldn’t be a shocker since there is already a “Star Wars”-based religion. So admittedly, it may just be a matter of more “Star Wars” fanboys simply admitting what their beliefs are.

When your main income besides your essentials is going to “Star Wars” memorabilia, how is it anything but that? When your main time outside of work is spent on “Star Wars” (or interferes with work), how is it anything but that?

Then there’s the issue that fanboys created concerning Kelly Marie Tran.

No, Rose was a character that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” didn’t need.

But death threats?

In all sincerity (I’m wearing a “Star Wars” shirt while writing this), if a “Star Wars” fanboy does not want to be classified as a member of the alt-right, then they might not want to rise to the level of passion and commitment to the franchise, even emotionally, that could drive them to do such a thing.

Obviously, Kelly Marie Tran was the first woman (minority item #1) of color (minority item #2) to play a leading role in the franchise.

And if fanboys didn’t indicate a willingness to murder her over her minority statuses, doesn’t that further indicate that “Star Wars” has to be strong enough to them to be a religion?

Only something as strong as a catalyst of worldview would make them even harass Tran at that point.

It only takes common sense to realize that Tran didn’t create the character, let alone that she and the character aren’t the same people.

(No, that’s not an excuse for even more death threats against Rian Johnson, director of “The Last Jedi.”)

The religion-level passion was manifest recently at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, when a new season of the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" TV show was announced. Fanboys spoke in terms of something actually salvific having occurred -- even the hashtag #StarWarsSaved is a thing (and popular).

If at least some religions keep people from being able to think clearly about an issue pertaining to that faith, then “Star Wars” is undoubtedly a religion for many folks.

Check out “Star Wars” Facebook groups. If something is posted there that makes them question their perception of the franchise, watch out. You might just get attacked – with reasons that make hardly any sense.

It’s well-documented that Jake Lloyd quit acting, Hayden Christensen fled to a farm and Daisy Ridley left Instagram because of “Star Wars” fanboys’ treatment of them. And that there were movements to boycott “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and other “Star Wars” films. Or being called a "c---" and a "b---" and to kill herself. (They wrote their opinions of “The Last Jedi.”)

Then there are the online petitions to remake “The Last Jedi” and Facebook groups very much opposite President Kathleen Kennedy, besides Johnson.

Then there are the attacks on Johnson and Kennedy, with people literally telling them that they wish they had had never been born and wanting them dead.

An alt-right group is responsible for dragging down the Rotten Tomatoes score of “The Last Jedi.”

There’s the global fan community in the 501st Legion.

And there’s been many disagreements that are defined by passion, from the 1997 Special Edition releases of the original trilogy to the prequel films and now the films made under the Disney umbrella.

I have written that "Star Wars" fans are too conservative. Now I realize that they just don’t allow themselves to think deeply about issues in modern society, but instead, take too much time worrying about getting the next Boba Fett collectible.

Of course, this is because of fanboys’ religious approach to the franchise.

Because they cared that much. That’s how people are about religion. Because when you let something define your identity, you are going to take developments about that thing personally.

Though really, perhaps this is not that all surprising to anyone. As The Observer’s Brandon Katz wrote, “Star Wars” is "modern American mythology that has supplanted ancient Greek lore."

Katz adds: “’Star Trek’ has the same multi-generational fan base, but it wasn’t as revolutionary or as quickly embraced as ‘Star Wars.’ The original show was canceled after three seasons and only became a phenomenon years later. The James Bond series goes back even further thanStar Wars,’ but with its rotating cast of main actors and no semblance of running continuity, it never let audiences get emotionally invested enough to be revered or as closely guarded in the same way as ‘Star Wars.’”

One Christopher (Twitter handle: @cquick007) came close to the acknowledgment, tweeting that “for some, ‘Star Wars’ was almost a religion.”

It’s in the past tense because, of course, Christopher added in the since-deleted tweet that “the hopes and dreams of millions died at (Rian Johnson’s) hand. The blood of that that (sic) murder will always stain your future."

© 2018 Rhett Wilkinson

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