The Culture War Is Already Coming for Star Wars’ Rey Movie

Daisy Ridley, Kathleen Kennedy, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Photo: Jeff Spicer (Getty Images)

Somehow toxic fandom has returned and at the mere mention of Star Wars and women, no less. Nonsensical virulent misogynistic notions abound as Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and the director of the studios’ upcoming Rey film Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy have found themselves in the crosshairs of troll pundits and anti-woke platformers over women playing in the Star Wars sandbox. Mind you, the sandbox wouldn’t still be there if not for Kennedy.

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Disney and Marvel Studios’ recent handling (or throwing under the bus) of The Marvels director Nia DaCosta brings into question if the corporation is ready to step up and defend its marginalized talent against the onslaught of pundits and loudmouths, as any little thing sets them off. Most recently, as reported by the Wrap, right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro called Kennedy the “worst entertainment executive I’ve ever seen in my lifetime”—which is rich coming from the “failed screenwriter,” as the internet properly called out.

All of this was incited by Obaid-Chinoy’s enthusiasm and excitement to be making a Star Wars film, really. A woman’s joy set off the dark side of the Star Wars fandom. “I like to make men uncomfortable,” the director told Jon Stewart at the Women in the World summit, to a round of applause. “I enjoy making men uncomfortable. It is important to be able to look into the eyes of a man and say ‘I am here and recognize that, recognize that I am working here to bring something that makes you uncomfortable and it should make you uncomfortable because you need to change your attitude… it’s only when you’re uncomfortable… when you have to have difficult conversations, that you will perhaps look at yourself in the mirror and not like the reflection. And then say maybe there is something wrong with the way I think or maybe there’s something wrong with the way that I am addressing this issue.”

Matt Walsh toxic fan X

Image: X

Toxic men refusing to read past the first part just proves her point. These same fans refuse to accept they might be what’s wrong with Star Wars, or that they’ve also been made uncomfortable by recent Star Wars films made by male directors. In their eyes, those men get more of a professional pass because they’re men—and yet the woman who helped bring us all Star Wars and a director who deserves to make a movie on her own merit get dragged. That’s pathetic and as the discourse continues to get amplified on X, the unchecked cesspool of internet commentary, it’s up to Disney to prove once again it’s more than the outed performative diversity allies and the company that’s let down talent such as The Marvels’ Nia DaCosta, as well as Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, and others. Marginalized creatives deserve more protection when internet-spawned misogyny and racism swirls around their projects—and Disney, a studio with all the resources to do so, should make more of an effort to bet on them in the future.


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