Actors Don’t Control the Star Wars Story: Don’t Harass Kelly Marie Tran

I took two screenwriting classes in college, with the same professor who had worked on John Cusack’s debut film. This proved to be good practice for writing fiction, due to the assignments of having to hand in script outlines and pages. We also learned some important lessons: the burden of the story was on us. Writers have to make the story happen.

Actors don’t control the story. The screenwriter does. The director does with execution. Which means that if you disagree with a story in a film, it’s not the actor’s fault. They’re only portraying what is on the script, and it’s a rare occasion where they improvise and diverge far from the original intent. Exceptions include Harrison Ford and Robin Williams, but for the most part the screenwriter bears the responsibility for carrying the story.

It upsets me and annoys me that trolls succeeded in driving Kelly Marie Tran off Instagram. She plays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one of the first major female POC characters in the franchise. While lots of girls and women rejoiced, because most of the female heroes in Star Wars are white women or aliens, the MRA and so-called “Star Wars purists” didn’t.

I have my disagreements with The Last Jedi, and those are better spent for another article. Even with this, I know the actors aren’t at fault, any more than Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman were at fault for having to act out a clunky, creepy relationship in the prequels. Actors are doing their job: following the script, arriving at sets on time, and not spoiling important moments. We all have bills to pay, and for all its flaws The Last Jedi is watchable. Taking its flaws out on Kelly Marie Tran is awful and sickening.

In short . . . if you are a person in a fandom who loves a project .  . .

BE NICE

It’s not hard. You are in a fandom because you love the work. Star Wars is no exception. When you are hating others and trying to destroy them, you are doing what Emperor Palpatine wants. That wasn’t the message.

You people are not making the world a better place, if you have harassed the actors and actresses of Star Wars. They are doing a job — to entertain us — and you are despicable if you have engaged in bullying and trolling. Not everyone can be Harrison Ford and improvising lines to make their characters utterly memorable and perfect. And even Harrison Ford got a great character with which to improvise.

In short, please be nice. Fandom, as I said in a tweet last week, is a communal space. When you are mean to people in such a fashion, you are traipsing mud all over the fandom carpet and smashing a foot through the rabbit ears television or WI-Fi. Don’t do this, folks.

May the force be with you if you are a nice person who adds to fandom. And if you are one of the trolls, I’ll see you in hell, to quote Han Solo.

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