Over its nearly 45-year history, Star Wars has attracted and captivated fans of all kinds with its characters, visuals, music, and more. It began with just the movies, but soon there were Star Wars books and comics, made-for-TV films, and even, eventually, more Star Wars TV shows than ever before.
With so much to watch, play, listen to, and read — so many different ways to explore a galaxy far, far away — it’s no surprise that fan discourse often gets heated. People having different opinions on a fictional universe is one thing. But things turning hostile is something completely different — and it happens more often than you might realize.
Not every troll has a villain origin story — some Palpatines are just evil for the sake of being that way. But sometimes when you see someone hung up on a small detail in a movie or TV show, it’s not because they’re seeking to complain. Instead, it might be because that particular small detail may feel extremely important to them. And badgering them for caring about something you don’t simply isn’t the answer.
Now, of course it’s possible to take these things too far — the Grand Inquisitor’s look in Obi-Wan Kenobi won’t actually make the series any better or worse, after all, and Ahsoka Tano’s montrals looking different in The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Rebels may have been a practical choice rather than a story choice and wasn’t a “mistake.”
But in the taking things too far category also falls the all-too-common practice of tearing down fellow fans who are genuinely bothered by something in a Star Wars book, movie, or show — or maybe they’re just very passionate about liking something and your instinct is to ask, “Why are you so obsessed with this?”
And it’s never OK to hurt someone for having a harmless opinion about something that’s fake and in space, is it?
When engaging with fellow Star Wars fans — especially online — always try to remember that for most people, Star Wars means something fundamental to who they are or want to be in the real world. For many, Star Wars is the thing they know best. They find irreplaceable joy in learning everything they can about it. Sometimes, Star Wars is an essential escape from a troubling reality people have no control over. And for fans young and older, Star Wars holds within it messages of hope that inspire individuals to carry on, to get through the hardest of times. To survive. Sometimes, even to thrive.
A fact or detail someone seems obsessively preoccupied with — especially when it’s something that doesn’t seem important to you — might feel very big and important to the stranger on the other side of that screen. Star Wars preaches empathy, of paying attention to how others might be feeling even in situations you yourself can’t directly relate to. Practice empathy when you’re feeling inclined to ask someone, “What’s the point? Why does it matter?”
You never know. It could matter a lot. It could mean someone’s entire world. It could be the piece of hope they are holding onto. Even if it seems small to you, remember that not everything is always about you in the end.
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