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Opinion: Should Lucasfilm Be More Open With The 'Star Wars' Fandom?

You Must Do What You Feel Is Right

By Culture SlatePublished 2 years ago 4 min read

The relationship between artist and audience has always been a complicated one. Over the last few years, we've seen many positive and negative examples of creative teams interacting with their fans in a variety of ways. This has only been made easier by the global explosion of social media and the internet presence of various actors, writers, and directors on various websites. On the positive side, we've seen many fans have their own work promoted by the artists who inspired them in the first place and even had their feedback taken directly by said artists. On the negative side, we've seen numerous instances of toxicity and harassment occur when either the artist or the audience neglect online boundaries and take their relationship with a work of art in an unhealthy direction. Unfortunately, we've seen both of these occur many times within the Star Wars fandom.

The fandom surrounding the galaxy far, far away has expanded exponentially in recent years. New fans are brought in by the more current Star Wars projects, while older fans remain to see the return of their favorite characters. In addition, they each bring their unique perspectives of Star Wars into mainstream discussions. This has led to various positive interactions between the older and newer fans and helped bridge the gap between the different generations and what they see as their definitive versions of Star Wars.

RELATED: Opinion: 'Star Wars' Fans Shouldn't Ignore Constructive Criticism

Unfortunately, it has also led to waves of gatekeeping and bigotry, as certain self-proclaimed "hardcore" fans felt threatened by newer fans who wished to see new characters that represented them rather than the usual characters that Star Wars has always been saturated with. In addition, many newer fans have given constructive criticisms of the franchise itself and its many shortcomings regarding its portrayals and treatments of its more recent characters. This brings us to Lucasfilm.

To say that Lucasfilm's relationship with its fanbase has been strained would be an understatement in my eyes. Specifically, the sequel trilogy and the controversies surrounding the lackluster treatment of its newly introduced characters such as Finn, Poe Dameron, and Rose Tico. Many Star Wars fans, specifically marginalized ones, have been asking for Lucasfilm to be more socially aware and responsible with how it treats these characters both on and offscreen.

This hasn't been helped by the numerous controversies Lucasfilm has recently found itself in. Among these is John Boyega's publicly criticized mistreatment by the company while he was in their employ, the sidelining of other marginalized actors such as Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, and Thandiwe Newton, the various examples of whitewashing found in The Bad Batch, the social media meltdown and subsequent firing of Gina Carano, the allegations against other actors such as Rosario Dawson and Horatio Sanz, and the recent controversies around the sidelining of Boba Fett and Fennec Shand in what was initially pitched as their own series.

The point is Lucasfilm has been in a lot of hot water in the past few years. This has led me to ask a specific question that I'm sure has been on many other fans' minds. Does Lucasfilm need to be more open with the Star Wars fandom? Regarding the marketing and behind the scenes of its films and series, the company has been noticeably secretive. With minimal advertising and looks into the production histories of its projects, it seems that Lucasfilm is treating its own inner workings as a kind of mystery box. Without open communication with the company and how it has gone about developing, writing, and casting for its onscreen endeavors, it's hard for us to get enough of an idea of just how much of our criticisms Lucasfilm is genuinely taking to heart.

Therefore, I personally think it would be a wise decision for the company to simply be more transparent with its fans and critics, showing them just how much their policies have changed and how they've gone about improving the qualities of their products. Without proper communication, we lack any factual knowledge of Lucasfilm's steps towards strengthening itself as a company. But if Lucasfilm abandons its secretiveness and allows us to see what it's doing and how it's growing, we as fans may have a better idea of where Lucasfilm as a company is headed.

Lucasfilm is in a fascinating place right now, having made strides towards better representation in front of and behind the camera while also struggling to consistently take criticism to heart. My hope is that as the company continues to expand and evolve, we will see it become more open with its fans and create a more transparent line of communication with its critics. Keeping secrets didn't go so well for Obi-Wan or Yoda. So hopefully, Lucasfilm won't make the same mistake.

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READ NEXT: Is Lucasfilm Testing The Waters For A Full CGI Luke Skywalker Series?

Written by Zach Bernard

Syndicated from Culture Slate

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