George Lucas Isn’t God and Yes, You’re Sexist

Angry Star Wars fans are campaigning to remake The Last Jedi. They’re tired of social justice warriors shoving female characters in their faces and they’re ready to get to work. They just need $200 million, legal rights to the franchise, a director, actors, producers and screenwriters.

They could also just get over their misogyny and their racism. They could just accept that not all nerd culture is about or for them, not even their beloved Star Wars. Plenty of fellow nerds loved Last Jedi or at least agree it’s not worth a $200 million redo just to prove men are better with space swords.

This is the latest outrage at a movie that was fine. Not great, not the worst and certainly not worse than The Phantom Menace. But The Last Jedi featured a couple of female characters doing things that were important to the plot, and bros online can’t handle it. I wouldn’t call The Last Jedi a feminist treatise. Its Girl Power feminism is pretty generic and the Asian woman character Rose Tico is just fine, nothing more. But let’s be real. The remakers were never going to be satisfied, no matter how nuanced Tico or Rey were written.

RMTLJ tweeted “if you have the hero archetype it doesn’t matter what the actor looks or sounds like, everyone can identify.”

They’re using “actor” in a gender-neutral way here but it’s a significant slip-up. Rey fulfils every aspect of the hero archetype, including being a hackneyed moody orphan like Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Frodo and practically every superhero. But Rey is a woman and her inclusion in the canon was marketed to emphasize that. We could certainly argue if that marketing was good or instead patronizing, considering she was created by such a sexist industry. But of course, RMTLJ’s issue is not that Rey isn’t revolutionarily feminist enough. RMTLJ hates that she is a woman at all.

The same can be said for Tico, the Asian woman pilot. Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran had to scrub her Instagram after an onslaught of racist and sexist harassment. These are the same fans who want to remake the movie that cast her.

On its website, RMTLJ edited director Rian Johnson’s face onto Rey’s in the Last Jedi trailer. They also slapped George Lucas’ face onto Luke Skywalker’s. For those who may not know, Luke is basically Star Wars Jesus. Somewhere between the original trilogy under Lucas and the universe helmed by Kathleen Kennedy, creator George Lucas became God of the Star Wars universe. Or perhaps more accurately, he became L. Ron Hubbard. That makes Rey Eve, or any number of evil Biblical women. Rabid fans have deified George Lucas so they can justify their sexism.

The RMTLJ site includes a quote from Kennedy to Lucas himself: “The main thing is to protect these characters. Make sure that they still continue to live in the way that you created them.” The implication, in putting her quote on the RMTLJ page, is that she hasn’t stayed true to her word, but created entirely new characters that Lucas could not possibly have approved of. Characters like an Asian woman or a female Jedi.

In that Kennedy interview, she goes on to hope: “And that the universe of Star Wars continues to grow.” Of course, angry SW purists ignore that part. They also ignore the whole rest of the interview where Lucas himself basically says Star Wars can be boiled down to psychological tropes about good and evil. That the universe doesn’t need to be contained in the original characters he made.

RMTLJ says their proposed remake is purely about art and not reactionary racism or misogyny. “The characters have lost their relatability.” Compared to the original trilogy, and even the prequels, RMTLJ argues Last Jedi “fails to penetrate into the ethos of human nature (the basis for telling stories).”

Okay. The original trilogy was not groundbreaking. It is a space pirate action franchise that includes some pseudo-religious woo-woo elements. It’s characters enact a textbook rendition of the Hero’s Journey, a literary trope outlined by Joseph Campbell in 1929. The Jedi, many believe, are basically The Lensmen, from a 1928 space opera by E.E. Smith. Point is, Lucas didn’t invent space wizards or their complex emotional arcs.

It’s true that newer characters like Rey and Rose Tico don’t offer much relatability to fans like those of RMTLJ. Those fans don’t know how to empathize with a female or minority character in their beloved franchise if she isn’t wearing a slave bikini or Natalie Portman’s woman warrior crop top. Women and minorities have long been forced to imagine ourselves in the position of straight white male characters because that’s who creates and stars in stories. Characters like Rey and Tico force the dude fans to empathize with someone that isn’t like them and those dudes haven’t ever had to learn how to do that.

Not every nerd on the internet is a closeted misogynist who loves to mansplain literature. The remake account spawned numerous parody Twitter accounts, or remakes of the remake. One of my favorite remake accounts features gay fanfic of Kylo Ren, the new Darth Vader and Hux, an evil General who first appeared in The Force Awakens.

Another Tweeter suggested two hours of Finn and Poe making out. I’m here for that as well.

Author and NPR podcaster Glen Weldon wants a remake of Pitch Perfect 2 with Jedi powers and a classy orgy.

Even Seth Rogen chimed in. He wasn’t supportive of the remake, just baffled at RMTLJ’s belief that anybody would fund this project.

Screen and comic book writer Chuck Wendig, who generated controversy for including a gay character in his book Star Wars: Aftermath, had questions about the remake. “Will Luke be a cool incel?” Wendig also suggested “BUFF YODA.” Being buff is manly, so that one should satisfy the remakers.

recommendations