Earlier this week a billboard went up in Los Angeles that was paid for by a bunch of angry Star Wars fans. Their gripe wasn’t about the movies, or any controversial casting choice, and it wasn’t even there to criticize the prequels (god knows George Lucas has heard it all). Instead, some perturbed fans objected to the fact that the so-called Expanded Universe, the alternate series of Star Wars stories that existed outside the main series of movies in books and video games, had been made unofficial several years ago.
In 2014, Disney, which bought Lucasfilm and Star Wars a few years earlier, made a major change by declaring all of the Expanded Universe stories, which stretched back nearly as far as the franchise itself, as unofficial. These upstart young Expanded Universe fans wanted their precious stories made pure again, and the best way they thought to make it happen was to buy a billboard.
It’s a last-ditch move, and a bit of a Hail Mary considering Kathleen Kennedy and the rest of the Lucasfilm executives are probably too busy developing new Star Wars movies and minting money to even give a thought to some niche fan complaints. It makes sense that dedicated fans would want to exert some control over the thing they love, but maybe a solitary example of an outdated mode of advertising isn’t the best way to do it. Still, it isn’t the most hopeless thing a fan’s done to try and enact change. Here are some other examples.
5. Sending things to the network
The classic move, at least for TV fans, is to send things into the network that cancelled your favorite television show. It all started when the original Star Trek series was rumored to be on the chopping block, which prompted spritely fans to do the most civilized thing possible: they wrote letters to the network — and it worked. Star Trek came back for another season… before it was cancelled. Since then, countless fans have just sent things into networks hoping to resurrect their dumb favorite show. Some of the weirded include:
- Roswell fans sent Tabasco to WB executives to save the show because one of the main alien characters loved the stuff.
- Fans of Veronica Mars sent Mars candy bars and fake money inscribed with the phrase Veronica Mars Is Smarter Than Me” to executives at The CW. (The show came back in movie form many years later.)
- Friday Night Lights fans sent Clear Eyes eye drops to NBC to bring back their favorite football drama because of Coach Taylor’s “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose speech.
4. COOP lobbies for Twin Peaks
One of the most shocking cancellations in TV history has to be David Lynch’s groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks, which was dropped in a Saturday night dead zone at the end of the second season after the main mystery driving the show — who killed Laura Palmer — was solved. Fans calling themselves Citizens Opposed to the Offing of Peaks or COOP, so named for the show’s main character Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan), started a letter writing campaign and even held a Twin Peaks fan rally to save the show. It prompted Lynch himself to lobby fans to tune in so the show wouldn’t get the axe, but their efforts went unrewarded. Lynch would have the last laugh, as he created a movie prequel called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992 and is currently creating a follow-up season to be aired on Showtime sometime in 2017.
3. Cancel their subscription to save Deadwood
In 2006, clever Deadwood fans created HBONoMo.com to pressure subscription-based TV network HBO into bringing back revisionist western TV show. If they killed it, they’d cancel their subscription, they threatened. Creator David Milch’s series had a solid, foul-mouthed three seasons, and HBO offered them a halved-fourth go-round. Milch declined, saying, “We couldn’t have done the work the way we wanted. I didn’t want to limp home.”
2. Send your nuts to Jericho
Yes, we did the whole sending-things-in thing already, and they’re all outrageous, but the case of the cancelled post-apocalyptic CBS show Jericho is too just good to not highlight on its own. The show — starring ersatz Johnny Depp, Skeet Ulrich — was dumped after a single season, which didn’t sit too well with the fans of the show. Inspired by the fact that Ulrich’s character says the word “nuts” after being asked to surrender his group, fans proceeded to mail 20 tons of peanuts to CBS. The allergy-inducing stunt worked and the show was renewed for a season before getting finally cancelled, nuts and all.
1. Bring back George Lucas
It started with Star Wars and it ends with Star Wars, mostly because fans are a rowdy bunch. They’re so passionate about the galaxy far, far away that they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. Granted, it usually never works, but Star Wars fans get an A for effort. Case in point: When Disney bought Lucasfilm and gave the gift of more Star Wars movies, fans drafted a Change.org petition to bring George Lucas back to direct one of the new episodes. It may not seem like the saddest fan move ever, but if you begin your official plea by saying, “We really want this, please,” it reeks of utter desperation. The petition specified that Lucas should helm Episode IX, mostly because fanboys were probably angry that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow already got the job, but they were also open to the series’ creator helming any of the countless Star Wars movies planned for after that one. Something, anything, all for billionaire George Lucas who stopped wanting to do Star Wars movies long ago.