The Rise of Skywalker’ takes flight after the rise of the ‘Star Wars’ trolls
“Star Wars” has always enjoyed a strong bond with fans, which has become one of its defining features. Yet as “The Rise of Skywalker” brings the original saga to a close, the rise of trolls threatens to fundamentally change that relationship.
The backlash against “The Last Jedi,” the eighth movie in this particular series, turned inordinately vitriolic. While there are legitimate questions about how representative those voices are — and indeed, what role Russian trolls and political provocateurs played in dragging the comments into the sewer — the cacophony from social media has at times made it easier to simply tune out those voices rather than engage them.
It’s worth noting that this appraisal comes from someone who harbored plenty of misgivings about “The Last Jedi,” in contrast to much of the critical establishment. Some of the reasoned complaints about the film and the choices made by writer-director Rian Johnson, to these ears, made perfect sense.
The tone, however, became absurdly ugly, lashing out in ways that exhibited a loss of perspective — forgetting that this is a fantasy controlled by a major corporation, there to be enjoyed, debated or disappointed about as such, but one over which no fan can claim personal ownership, however much time, money and energy they invest in it.
Johnson said then — and more recently in a GQ interview — that such voices represent a small subset of the overall pool. Still, writing in Esquire last year, Matt Miller lamented that a “loud section” of “Star Wars” fans have become “tragically synonymous” with hate and bigotry.