This is a current ‘trend‘ that’s doing my noggin in.
What on Earth has possessed a section of fandom who SHOULD be some of the most progressive people on the planet, to turn toxic?
I mean…it just doesn’t make sense!
A couple of weeks ago, the new Disney+ Star Wars series landed with the first couple of episodes of Obi Wan Kenobi. It’s awesome, everything I could have wanted from a Star Wars show that delves into the background of one of the most compelling characters in the saga.
Unforunately, the release of the series was tainted by an outcry from a tiny, but vocal, part of the Star Wars community who had disparaging things to say about Moses Ingram, the actress who plays Inquisitor Reva.
Ewan McGregor immediately came to her defense on Twitter and called out that section of the Star Wars fandom. And so he should.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened to Star Wars.
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out in 2017, the film fell victim to a series of sinister online campaigns, featuring racist and misogynistic attacks on some of the actors, most notably the wonderful Kelly Marie Tran who played the Rose Tico.
Now, this is NOTHING to do with the film itself.
As a movie, I have to admit, I have issues with it from a storytelling point of view. It’s not my favorite movie by a long shot. Not even my favorite Star Wars movie. Not even close. While I admire some of the story telling choices in it (The concept of Rey being a nobody, especially not a Skywalker!) and some of the setpieces (the throne room fight) there are other parts of the film that don’t work for me. Especially the fact that this just doesn’t feel particularly cohesive with the rest of the Skywalker saga.
Anyway, that’s beside the point. I’m not here to review the movie. All that is my personal preference. Some people loved the movie.
I’m just here today to rant about the Toxic Culture idiots.
Because it feels like the only reason some of these films and TV shows are being targeted is because of their profile.
And it’s NOT just Star Wars suffering from this. It’s become rife across Science Fiction shows…
In the same year as The Last Jedi came out, Paramount released their newest Star Trek series. It was a prequel to the original 1966 series and had Sonequa Martin-Green cast in the lead. Off the back of her popular turn in The Walking Dead, I was excited to see her in this new Trek.
Again, the show had some issues for me, but none of those issues had anything to do with the actors or actresses in the role.
Other, less enlightened, people, however, DID have an issue…
I guess that they forgot that the original 60s show had a multi-racial, multi-national, multi-planetary(?) crew. Lieutenant Uhura was a staple in that show.
And then of course there’s that staple of British Science Fiction TV…
The last Doctor was cast as a woman, the more narrow minded part of fandom was immediately triggered…
The recent news that Ncuti Gatwa has been cast as the next Doctor, again triggered that vocal minority to start shouting from their soapboxes about the Beeb pandering to ‘Woke Culture’.
You want my opinion?
I mean that’s why you’re here right?
Okay, so I can understand some of this Woke Culture backlash. Not saying I agree with it, but I do get it.
I’m talking about the undercurrent of annoyance with the gender/race bending of classic characters. Even so, I get it. In the case of some comics it’s great. In the worsts cases it’s just plain lazy writing/concept.
Movies and TV are a different animal though.
Things like casting Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman in the new Batman movie. This I kind of understand (but again, let me stress, I don’t agree with it!). Fans of comic books are brought up with a particular image of a character in mind, especially if they have a particular connection to the character.
Me for example. Big Batman fan, and by association, Catwoman. From the early years of Detective Comics, to the Jim Balent run on her solo series. From Julie Newmar in the 60s TV show to Michelle Pfieffer in Batman Returns.
Some people live with an expectation of how that character should look based on their past history with said character.
They forget that Catwoman was once played by Eartha Kitt back in the original Batman 66 movie.
The precedent was already set, so I was onboard with Catwoman being a woman of colour. Zoe is an awesome actress, and I was keen to see her interpretation of the character.
Admittedly, my personal favourite comic character is Rogue from the X-Men, and honestly I would likely have a pang of disappointment if the character was gender/race bent. But mostly because there’s no precedent. Rogue has always been that Southern Belle, and in my head she’s firmly associated with the Animated X-Men cartoon and the green and yellow outfit. To me that will always be CORE Rogue.
That said, I’d soon get over it as long as the characterisation is true to the spirit of the character. Anna Pacquin’s Rogue has never hit that right note with me, despite the fact that many more narrow minded people may consider her the right ‘look’ for the role. For me it’s the characterisation that counts.
Besides, I’ll always have the comic books to read.
However, this is categorically NOT what we’re talking about here.
These characters in Star Wars and Star Trek are NOT old existing characters being twisted and bent for some nefarious woke agenda. They are NEW characters. Characters created from the ground level up to be who and what they are, regardless of where on the gender spectrum they lie or whatever colour their skin is.
There was no Commander Burnham before she was played by Sonequa Martin-Green.
There was no Rose Tico before she was played by Kelly Marie Tran.
And then you’ve got the Doctor. This is a character CONCEIVED on the fact that regeneration is possible. That in the event of death you can become something new. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Timelord arises with a new life to live. For the longest time those regenerations had operated inside a tiny box.
A male gender box. A box that as years went on, became more of a coffin to bury the series in. Doctor Who is a series that NEEDS to reboot and reset every few years. It needs that constant evolution to keep it fresh.
And (correct me if I’m wrong here, Whovians, as I’m not the biggest Dr Who expert!) was there anything ever said in the show that said the Doctor couldn’t be reborn as a new gender? A new race?
We’re talking about a fictional character that is an ALIEN! Why are we trying to apply a very human (and a narrow minded human at that) view to something that is NOT human?
Over the years Doctor Who has been an enormously progressive show, just like the other Sci Fi show talked about here… Star Trek.
I mean, you CANNOT call yourself a real fan unless you know that this is and what it represents…
This is the Vulcan symbol for IDIC. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.
This symbol and the ideology was mentioned in the first Star Trek series. Waaaaay back in the 1960s. It celebrates difference and at it’s core is a rejection of racism, sexism, bigotry…you name it.
I’ve heard some people use the IDIC principle to argue FOR racism, sexism, bigotry etc. But that misses the point. The very concept of IDIC is the antithesis of all those things. You can’t accept gender equality and be sexist at the same time. You can’t accept people of all races and still be racist.
You can’t be any of those things and still believe in the core principles of IDIC.
As Spock would say, “It’s illogical!”
Star Trek has used it’s story telling right from the start to be progressive. It featured many groudbreaking TV moments, including the first inter-racial kiss! It started a long history of SciFi shows using a futuristic backdrop to tell tales that are allegorical to real world events. The Battlestar Galactica remake was all about the reaction to 9/11 for example.
Science Fiction, including Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr Who and dozens of other shows over the decades, has brought me up to where I am today. I embrace change. I am not afraid of a female Doctor. Or a black Doctor. Or a gay Doctor. Or a transgender Doctor.
Or a black female gay transgender Doctor.
Because I’m a Science Fiction fan.
And I’m PROUD of it.
And I’m PROUD of the being part of a progressive future.
Love and Books