‘Star Wars’ author compares homophobic fans to the Empire – CNET
When it comes to debating the finer points of a galaxy far, far away and the characters that inhabit it, “Star Wars” fans are a vocal bunch.
So after author Chuck Wendig decided to make the main character Imperial Officer Sinjir Rath Velus gay in his new novel, “Star Wars: Aftermath,” some fans were less than thrilled.
Sinjir’s sexuality is established in the book, but not the focus of the story, which follows the officer’s adventures after he rejects the evil Empire following the Battle of Endor featured in the film “Return of the Jedi.” There’s also a lesbian couple who serve as background characters in the novel.
“I don’t think that his [Sinjir’s] sexuality needs to be this giant plot point, but at the same time, it’s part of who he is as a character, and I thought it was an interesting moment,” Wendig told Entertainment Weekly last week. “Especially since you don’t necessarily see it as much — not just in Star Wars but just in science-fiction.”
But not everyone was happy with Wendig’s decision to make his “Star Wars” hero gay in a new book that will be considered part of the “Star Wars” canon. Older “Star Wars” books are no longer considered part of the official Expanded Universe, but given the moniker of “Legends.” Expanded Universe, or EU, is the name given to all official “Star Wars” stories outside of the six (soon to be seven) films.
Some fans who don’t think the “Star Wars” universe has room for gay characters have flooded Amazon’s “Aftermath” page with negative, one-star reviews. In fact, 1-star reviews count for almost 40 percent of the book’s overall reviews. These negative reviews shouldn’t impact the sales ranking of the book thanks to Amazon’s ranking algorithm, which pays attention more to the quality of the reviews, rather than the quantity.
Granted, many of the one-star reviews do not comment on the inclusion of a gay character, but of the plot and writing itself. But others clearly can’t accept gay characters in their “Star Wars” books.
“We are then force fed the backstory of one character being gay and another being a lesbian. This has nothing at all to do with the story, just fitting it in because we are all supposed to be O.K. with this stuff because it is P.C.!” Amazon user RockNRollPirate posted with a one-star review.
Wendig himself commented in his blog that the onslaught of negative Amazon reviews are not only about his including a gay main character in “Aftermath,” but also “Star Wars” fans who don’t like his writing style; fans who don’t like the idea of a new set of stories to become “Star Wars” canon; and fans who are angry that his book didn’t answer all their questions of events that happen between the films “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
In a message to bitter fans, Wendig said “if your love of the EU drives you to campaigns like this, or hate-tweeting me or hate-mailing me, you’ve stopped being a fan. That’s not what being a fan is. Loving something is fandom. Hate isn’t, or shouldn’t be, part of it. Fandom is about sharing awesome things with like-minded people. It isn’t about spreading hate and forming spiteful tribes.”
And for the fans complaining about the main character being gay, Wendig had this to say: “You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the… Empire, man. You’re the … oppressive, totalitarian Empire. If you can imagine a world where Luke Skywalker would be irritated that there were gay people around him, you completely missed the point of Star Wars.”