Hayden Christensen Offers Support
Kelly Marie Tran has returned to social media following a barrage of harassment directed at her for her performance in The Last Jedi. While promoting his latest film, Little Italy, former Star Wars star Hayden Christensen offered Tran some advice.
Star Wars Fans’ History Of Abuse
Following the release of The Last Jedi, conversations about the film reached a fever pitch. Many fans enjoyed the film and felt it was a mature study on the futility of war. However, many others hated the film and felt it betrayed beloved characters in service of a political agenda. As a result, insults were hurled from both sides of the argument. Also, the film hit theaters in a particularly tumultuous political climate, so people were already on edge.
Unfortunately, a lot of the film’s detractors began harassing the cast directly on social media. Besides director Rian Johnson, newcomer Kelly Marie Tran bore the brunt of the criticism. Tran played Rose Tico, a Resistance pilot who helped Finn disable the First Order’s tracking capabilities.
Angry fans felt Tico’s character was an unnecessary addition to the film, and her actions were not befitting a military officer. So, they took to Tran’s Instagram page and hurled racial slurs and other derogatory statements at the actress. Following the outpouring of hate, she deleted her Instagram. Supportive fans launched the #FanArtForRose campaign, and after a lengthy break, the actress returned to social media. Sadly, Tran’s story is not unique.
Recently, Ahmed Best revealed he contemplated suicide after suffering harassment from Star Wars fans over his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks. Jake Lloyd, the actor who played young Anakin Skywalker, stopped acting and struggled with addiction in the years following his only Star Wars appearance. And Hayden Christensen took a lengthy break from acting after fans decried his performance as an older Anakin Skywalker.
Christensen’s Words of Wisdom for Tran
In an interview about Christensen’s latest film, ET Canada asked the actor what advice he had for Kelly Marie Tran while dealing with angry Star Wars fans. Christensen said the following:
“I don’t know if I have advice for that, but — just, don’t take it too seriously, ’cause unfortunately those are the ones that make the most noise, but the majority of the people don’t feel that way. So, keep that in mind.”
Participating in a franchise as large as Star Wars is life-changing. Unfortunately, life-changing isn’t always a good thing. When a franchise reaches the popularity of Star Wars, fans feel entitled to have a say in how it’s handled. The truth of the matter is that art belongs to those creating the art. Fans can like or dislike any piece of art belonging to their beloved franchise, but their entitlement is misplaced. Furthermore, they refuse to see the human being behind the character. These are real people with real feelings, and angry fans can create damaging thought patterns for these people. Hopefully, fans will recognize that, regardless of their feelings on the latest Star Wars installments.