By now you’ve probably heard of or seen the viral Twitter threads started by a new Star Wars fan watching the movies for the first time. But you might not know why these tweets are so special to the fandom.
Ever since we first introduced you to the Twitter user who live-tweeted her first-time viewing of Star Wars: A New Hope, Mar’s presence in the Star Wars fandom has — pun not intended — completely blown up.
She has now seen (and shared her real-time thoughts about) both the original and prequel trilogies. The Star Wars podcasting community is begging her to appear on their shows. The official Star Wars Twitter account even gave her a shoutout, welcoming her to the Rebellion.
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Thousands of Star Wars fans on the platform started following along with her as she experienced the progression of the Skywalker saga before our eyes. Some have even started watching the films along with her, keeping up with her commentary along the way.
At this time, she has yet to begin the sequel trilogy. But based on the number of Twitter accounts politely asking her to let everyone know when she’s ready to continue her marathon, she’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Mar’s viral journey through the Star Wars films — let’s call it a Mar Wars story (give her credit for that one) — went viral. But not because she has now posted hundreds upon hundreds of tweets over the past several days, receiving retweets, shoutouts, and prompting excited strangers, who also happen to be writers, to publish stories about her.
A Mar Wars story went viral among the Star Wars fandom because it perfectly and delightfully captured the true essence of what this franchise, these movies, these stories and characters and places, are all about.
It’s no secret that plenty of darkness has spread throughout the fanbase, especially on online platforms like Twitter where anyone can hide behind an avatar and anonymous handle and say whatever they want to strangers without consequence.
Females in particular experience alarming rates of harassment from upset “fans” who are 99 percent male — and I don’t say this just as a woman who writes about Star Wars (oh, the emails I have received …). Kelly Marie Tran still isn’t back on social media after the backlash she experienced for doing nothing other than appearing in a Star Wars movie.
Mar ran the risk of major trolling when her tweets started gaining traction. But she kept going anyway. Mostly because she had plenty of other members of the fandom supporting her, but also because something tends to happen when fans rally around each other and spread positivity and light.
When large groups of fans come together to celebrate the parts of Star Wars they love, it becomes almost impossible to hear the haters.
The same thing happened at Celebration Chicago earlier this year. And again this past week when D23’s Special Look stopped all of us from getting our work done for a good few hours because we couldn’t stop watching it on a loop.
The negativity will always still be there. That’s the case regardless of your particular fandom or online community of choice. Misery craves company, and most of the loud minority will stop at nothing to let everyone in the world know how much they dislike something other people happen to enjoy.
But hate can’t take away our love of Star Wars. It may seem like it could some days, but it won’t. We’ve seen evidence of this a lot lately. How many of your phones went wild with notifications when Ewan McGregor announced his return to the franchise? There’s so much excitement that the unnecessary darkness gets lost in all the cheering.
It’s almost as if Rian Johnson knew exactly what he was doing when he chose to convey the message that winning isn’t about “fighting what we hate” but “saving what we love.”
Firing back at those who have made up their minds to spread toxicity won’t accomplish anything. Trying to feed them counter-arguments will only result in more hostility.
But finding fans who adore Star Wars so much they’re willing to read hundreds of tweets from a new member of the family and support her through it all? That’s how we drown out the hate. That’s how we keep our love for Star Wars alive.
How do you keep your Star Wars joy burning bright? Tell us about your favorite things and why it makes you happy.