Samuel Brace on the fan campaign to remake Star Wars: The Last Jedi…
If a movie franchise performs a heliocentric role in your life, then I’m afraid to say that you’re doing things very wrong.
There’s a fan campaign to fund a remake of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and if you’re nodding your head and thinking, “this sounds like a good idea”, you might be one of the people I’m looking to address. The Last Jedi was a good film, not a great film, but a good film. It was shot beautifully, acted well, and was replete with memorable moments. But its deviation from the course set out by The Force Awakens and its seeming disregard for any plans concocted by J.J. Abrams (director of TFA) has caused something truly bizarre to occur in many of those who call themselves Star Wars fans. A certain subgroup of the fandom feels such antipathy towards TLJ that their already laughable vituperations haven’t been enough to vent their anger. Instead of moving on with their lives they have decided to jump in with two feet, chaining themselves to this apparently miserable moment in their existence, and now demand that a remake of a fictional film be produced so that they can feel better. Yikes.
Film fans have felt entitled about their favourite properties for years and years. There’s a not insignificant swath of movie-goers who grow so attached to an IP, a book series, a franchise, a whatever, that they have arrived at a state of being where if films aren’t delivering everything they want, then they become visibly irate and will vocalise their disgust at those involved in ruining this integral part of their lives. Disappointment is a very natural phenomenon, of course, but being disappointed shouldn’t involve yelling at the sky with fire and fury, disappointment shouldn’t lead you to pour time and energy into something as colossally unimportant as this. When The Dark Tower movie released last year, a film that bore little to no resemblance to the books I hold so dear, I was certainly left feeling a longing for what could have been. But this is where it ended. I didn’t demand a do-over, I didn’t spit vitriol at filmmakers and actors who worked on the project, foaming at the mouth because I didn’t get what I want, because my dreams weren’t fulfilled by a piece of fictional entertainment. In case you didn’t get the memo: you’re not entitled to a movie that pleases you.
Last Jedi Derangement Syndrome (LJDS for short) is very real and it seems to me to shine a spotlight on a very lost and sad (I mean that genuinely) section of society that is, to put it plainly, just living life in all the wrong ways. If you’re someone who is ensconced in this campaign, if you’re someone who is spending a great amount of time on such a project, or even if you are simply still thinking about how much you hate TLJ, you need to re-evaluate your life. I don’t care who you are or how dark things have become, to hate on a piece of fiction so passionately is not just more than a little infra dignitatem, it’s categorically insane, not to mention impossibly childish. It would appear to me that anyone suffering from LJDS might not be spending enough energy on the things that actually matter and certainly has too much time on their hands. Those of us who work full-time jobs, and those who also combine this with family commitments, know how precious time is, how little of it is available, and must surely be looking at individuals such as these and be thinking: “How on earth they can find energy for such an endeavour? It’s all I can do not to fall asleep before 9 pm.”
It would seem that those who engage in Star Wars/TLJ hatred as if it’s a full-time job probably don’t have a real one and certainly don’t have families to look after, or educations to participate in. I mean, how could they? They just wouldn’t have the time or energy. It appears to me rather obvious that those who are spending their days online engaging in such nonsense are mostly children (not just in terms of emotional state), so we can forgive such younglings and hope they are encouraged into pursuing a more productive path as they mature. But it’s also clear that there is a decent percentage of their number who are adults gripped by a state of arrested development. These are the people to whom I’m really talking and these are the people who need to look in the mirror and ask themselves some tough questions about how they are spending their time. There’s so much more to life than Star Wars, there’s so much more to life than a fun but unimportant sci-fi adventure, and there’s so much more to life than movies. You can enjoy these things or not, but that’s where it stops. Go and see a film, come to an opinion on it, and then go home, move on, it’s not real, it’s Star Wars, and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t like it.
Fiction is a wonderful thing, escapism is so important, but you’re not treating Star Wars as fiction or escapism, you’re making it your life, and if you’re doing so to fill a hole where meaning, purpose, and fulfilment have never materialised for you, then do something about it, fill that vacuum with family, hobbies, friends, and spend this bountiful energy you have on something that matters. Read a book. If you don’t have a job, go get one. If you’re in education, study more. You’re better than this; your time is worth more than this, you have more to offer the world than this. LJDS has a cure and its name is life, get off the internet and go live it. Films like The Last Jedi aren’t meant to carry your hopes and dreams on their back, they are meant to entertain you for a couple of hours, and if they don’t, that’s fine; hopefully, you’ll enjoy the next thing you see a little more. However, if you can’t do any of these things, then at least keep your contempt to yourself because frankly, for the rest of us, this is all becoming insuperably dull.