'The Last Jedi' Doesn't Give Fans an Excuse to Hate Other Fans

There are a lot of people having strong feelings about Star Wars: The Last Jedi right now. So much so, that some of them even want it removed from canon. But, regardless of how you feel about that, one big fan petition is already over. It was stopped by the fan who started it and he’s already asking people to pay attention to more important things.

On December 18, a petition appeared on Change.org created by Henry Walsh t “Have Disney Star Wars Episode VIII From Official Canon.” Since then, it has received over 34,000 signatures. Which, if you think about it, sounds about right. Among the millions of people who saw the new Star Wars movie over the weekend, it makes sense that about 30,000 or so would be disappointed enough to take the tremendous amount of energy required to sign an online petition. After all, a few years ago, a few people thought it was worth their money to erect a billboard which demanded (vaguely) that Disney give them the “Legends” canon back. Does this make certain people roll their eyes? Sure. Should fans who get worked up about things (on either side) receive death threats? No. But Walsh has, and it’s deeply disturbing.

The point is simple: heated debates about The Last Jedi can be fun. But lately, they haven’t been. Which is a shame. On December 15, the managing editor of io9, Jill Pantozzi, made an excellent point. Now is the time to drop any ideas of being morally superior. Because The Last Jedi was a big deal, fans should all try to be nice to each other.

But, that’s not really what happened with the Henry Walsh petition. And as of December 20, he’s already issued a statement on the same page, asking people to focus their energies on people in need. “I still urge everyone coming here to sign petitions that are important, I urge them all to help people who are in need, because we are people and we are gathered, and it is the holidays, and that is just a decent thing to do.”

And part of the reason he did that was that he received death threats. Which is crazy. Walsh has also pointed out that he wrote the petition as a way to blow off steam, but that people shouldn’t be taking it so seriously. “That was a flight of fancy and a sarcastic statement,” he said. Walsh also didn’t level any sexist or racist criticism at The Last Jedi. Mostly, he was just disappointed on a personal level about the way “legacy characters” were treated. That’s it.

Walsh has since asked people who have come to his petition page to head over to the charity group Force For Change and donate to real charities helping to curb the calamities that happen all around us in the real world every day.

And he’s right. Hit up Force For Change today. Even if you didn’t like The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi is out in wide release now.

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