I don’t care how long you’ve been a Star Wars fan

Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved
Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved /

Earlier this summer, I thought it would be fun to do a Star Wars books AMA on Twitter. I know, I know; silly me.

It was quite fun in the beginning. Until someone quote-tweeted me asking me to name five Star Wars Legends books and all the characters in each one.

This was, of course, an account I didn’t follow trolling me by quizzing me on my Star Wars knowledge. In their mind, if I didn’t answer their questions correctly, I wasn’t a real fan.

Of course I didn’t take the bait; I have much more important things to do with my time. But the situation did spark a lot of thought on the ongoing poisonous trend of gatekeeping in fandom, and what makes someone of a franchise like Star Wars a “real” fan.

When you ask a certain segment of the fandom what t means to be a Star Wars fan, they immediately like to boast about the fact that they’ve been a fan since 1977. Good for them — my dad saw Star Wars when it came out, too. It’s cool that he got to experience that (11 times in the drive-in theater … I’m not jealous at all!). But he doesn’t look at me as less of a fan for not havng been a fan for that long. I wasn’t alive in 1977. I’d have been a fan then if I were.

The notion that you have to have liked Star Wars for a certain amount of time is unfair and it’s tiring. How lucky you were to have been there when it all began! But that doesn’t make you a better fan than someone who discovered Star Wars through The Mandalorian or The Princess and the Scoundrel.

It doesn’t matter if you just saw a Baby Yoda meme and have been a Star Wars fan for less than five minutes. There is only one requirement for labeling yourself a Star Wars fan: You like Star Wars. End of discussion.

This need for certain people to quiz other fans on how much they know or ask them how long they’ve been “around” needs to take a back seat to more important things in the Star Wars fandom. Excluding people from your club doesn’t make you cool. It never has. It never will.

A “real” Star Wars fan not only loves Star Wars, but welcomes any and every person into the space without questioning whether or not they should be there.

If you’re rude and mean, send people death threats for liking space operas and tell other people they don’t belong because Star Wars is for you and you only, you’re making Star Wars and the surrounding fandom less fun. Be kind. Open-minded. Try to understand that you are not entitled to rule over an entire fandom because of how long you’ve been here.

Next. How Spaces is giving queer Star Wars fans a place to feel seen. dark

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