A 7.5 Indiewire article by Zack Sharf reports that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has offered stern words to a certain sector of Star Wars fanatics. Gunn was affected by a 7.3 Wrap article in which Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar-Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, confessed that the Jar-Jar hate was so intense 20 years ago that he actually contemplated killing himself. Some fans apparently replied that George Lucas was the guilty party and not Best, as Lucas was Jar-Jar’s creator.
Gunn’s reply: “Star Wars may be important to you, but it doesn’t belong to you. If your self-esteem depends on how good you think the current Star Wars is, or if your childhood is ruined because you don’t like something in a movie, GO TO THERAPY.”
HE to Gunn: There are very few critics or columnists who feel less in league with Star Wars loonies than myself, but if you want to be fair about it two truths need to be acknowledged.
One, fanboy fervor cuts both ways. The sputtering anger that fed haters of The Last Jedi or The Phantom Menace came from the same emotional gas tank that has propelled the reputations of other fanboy flicks and made them into super-hits. Fanboy ardor can obviously turn toxic, for sure, but it’s slightly hypocritical for filmmakers to deplore fan-bile on one hand while winking at fanboy worship and profiting handsomely when the reviews are good and the winds are favoring.
And two, fans who’ve responded to certain films with crazy intensity arguably own the film as much as the filmmakers, and perhaps even more so. When The Big Lebowski was surprise-screened at Sundance in January of ’98, it was nothing more or less than an offbeat Coen brothers entry — a deadpan stoner comedy that some critics liked and others not so much. But the crazy fans of Joel and Ethan’s eccentric paen turned it into a cult phenomenon. That special popularity is owned by them, not the Coens. Ditto the fanatical love of the first two Star Wars films, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, between ’77 and ’80, and how all of that flipped into rage when the prequels came along 20 years later.
Last Jedi haters probably could benefit from a little couch therapy, but Hollywood types never allude to fan psychology when the money is pouring in.