To many, the Star Wars franchise is used as an escape. It's a place full of epic space battles, diverse environments, and, of course, laser swords (aka lightsabers). But while most simply for the series for what it is and welcome the changes that come along with it, the years have seemingly made a contingent of the fandom ever more toxic.
As of late, the Star Wars brand has come under fire from some for being too "woke", as the franchise diversifies its cast as well as the stories being told. This toxic environment has prompted action from the series' stars as well as official Star Wars communication channels like Star Wars' official Twitter account.
It has become a negative space for many, and some of the biggest names in Hollywood are taking notice.
Simon Pegg Calls Out Star Wars Fans
In an interview on SiriusXM's “Jim and Sam”, via The Wrap, Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor Simon Pegg called Star Wars fans the "most toxic" in Hollywood.
When asked to decide what fan base was the most toxic from franchises he had worked on, Pegg responded by saying the "Star Wars fan base seems to be the most toxic at the moment."
He then alluded to how he was once a toxic fan himself, making jokes about Jar-Jar Binks in early stand-up comedy routines, but has apologized since then, admitting that he "[feels] terrible about being part of that:"
“I’ve apologized for the things I said about Jar Jar Binks. Cause of course there was a f—ing actor involved. He was getting a lot of flack and…it was a human being. And because it got a lot of hate, he suffered, you know, and I feel terrible about being part of that.”
He then went on to compare Star Trek fans to Star Wars fans, saying that Trekkies have been inclusive from the beginning; whereas, with Star Wars "suddenly there’s a little bit more diversity and everyone’s kicking off about it:"
“There’s no sort of like, ‘Oh, you’re suddenly being woke.’ No. ‘Star Trek’ was woke from the beginning….This is massively progressive. ‘Star Wars,’ suddenly there’s a little bit more diversity and everyone’s kicking off about it. And it’s really sad.”
The Dark Side of Star Wars Fans
Yes, the comments by Simon Pegg are going to anger some, but he may be right. Star Wars fans have always been particularly ruthless, and in this age of trying to add some diversity to the franchise, they have become even more so.
Racist comments directed at Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram got so bad during the show's run that it prompted series lead Ewan McGregor and Star Wars themselves to comment on it. And this was not a one-off case. Back in 2017, Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran faced a similar kind of vitriol, to the point that she had to delete her social media accounts.
And surely someone will make the argument this had nothing to do with the gender or color of these two actresses' skin, but for the most part, these were direct racist and sexist attacks.
Diversity in major media like Star Wars or the MCU is a good thing. These are the most heavily consumed media properties in the world, so the ability for someone who may not usually see themselves represented on the big screen, to finally see themselves up there, is important.
The more perspectives (be it race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity) in mainstream multi-million dollar storytelling, the better. This is simply because it normalizes all of it. And with more and more people seeing things from different perspectives and backgrounds, the better they can relate with their fellow man, woman, or non-binary folk.
The entire Star Wars franchise is available to stream now on Disney+.