Want to see a fandom moment that combines all of the worst aspects of political conspiracy theories, bogus Hollywood insiderism, venomous Last Jedi backlash, and the fanboy thirst for the “Snyder Cut”? I give you “#ReleasetheJJCut.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final film in theStar Wars Skywalker saga, was released about three weeks ago. It received a mostly negative response, as those who loved Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi disliked that it undid many of that film’s innovations, but Last Jedi haters didn’t exactly wholeheartedly embrace the film either. The Rise of Skywalker was roundly criticized for inexplicable plot turns, a storyline overly reliant on MacGuffins, and too much of a focus on fan service.
However, in the weeks that followed, it appeared most Star Wars fans came to terms with their disappointment with the new film, and moved on with their lives.
But then came one of the nuttier conspiracy theories that’s ever emerged from the fever swamps of fandom. Remember when they said every critic was on the take from Disney, and that all the ticket sales of Captain Marvel were fraudulent? That was nothing.
Cue the Conspiracy
The post, which appeared last week on the Star Wars fan subreddit Saltier Than Crait, spun quite a yarn from “a source that worked on TROS.” It alleged that the director of The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams, had had control of the film taken away from him by Disney, that Abrams had wanted to make a three-hour cut but was overruled.
It then went on to imply that Disney acted to undermine Abrams because they’re afraid the director, who reached a new production deal last year with Warner Media, will revive the DC universe, and become a legitimate rival to Disney’s MCU. There was also some nonsense about China. You can view the full post here.
…then came one of the nuttier conspiracy theories that’s ever emerged from the fever swamps of fandom…
This is all, it should go without saying, pure fan fiction. There’s zero reason to believe that any of this is true, beyond the idea of the director of a movie wanting a longer cut than his studio bosses, which is the sort of thing that happens constantly on movies.
That Disney would undermine Star Wars, just to hurt a director who on the off chance might hurt them by making Batman movies, is just pure madness. And why wouldn’t Disney just fire Abrams, if they wanted to hurt his reputation? They’ve done that with numerous directors of Star Wars films already.
This stuff is akin to QAnon, the crazy Trumper conspiracy theory, as first pointed out by DC artist Rob Sheridan. And it also hasn’t been reported by the Hollywood press, who are a much more reliable source of information than the “sources” of randos on Reddit.
This isn’t the only terrible take to emerge in the days following The Rise of Skywalker. There was the stupid dingus who decided to blame the shortcomings of The Rise of Skywalker on the “fact” that it was written by women. Even though it… wasn’t:
The women in the picture on the right are a group of female employees at various levels of Lucasfilm, who appeared together on a panel recently; they are not, in fact, the writers of The Rise of Skywalker. Meanwhile, one of the writers of The Empire Strikes Back, the late Leigh Brackett, WAS a woman.
Fandom, clearly, is broken, in a lot of key ways. There’s the ignorance, the misogyny, the entitlement, the gatekeeping. It really needs to get back to loving the movies, and getting joy out of them, and not using them as a platform for irrational hostility.