The latest episode of Star Wars Rebels provided plenty for fans to chew on, or rather, to stew over. From questions of quality to issues with story there is no shortage of opinions. More so, overwhelmingly so, plenty of opinions on opinions. This is a major complication for fandom. In its simplest form fandom concerns itself with the love of, or appreciation of, the Star Wars universe. This appreciation manifests itself in myriad of ways, from tattoos to toy collections to t-shirts. First among these, though, are discussions of facts, opinions and theories. And therein lies the dark side of fandom.
Does your Snoke theory suck? Probably. But not because your opinion is invalid, but rather because you drew erroneous conclusions from faulty or misinterpreted evidence. The problem isn’t that someone said your theory sucks (I’m not referring to the sticker here, which was a joke. I mention it as a representation of Star Wars discussion in general, so let’s not go down that rabbit hole again.), it’s that people like to, instead of talking about ideas in a fun or intellectual way, attack instead. Everyone is an expert or an authority and wields that notion like a master swordsman, cutting others down just to prove their mastery. They are as arrogant as they are wrong. Indeed, they need to watch Obi-Wan a little more closely at the end of Rebels. Respect doesn’t require other’s ideas to be perfectly sound. Obi-Wan is able to show compassion despite Maul’s faults.
When you think about it, really, there are only a few actual Star Wars experts, and even those are a bit elusive. George Lucas is one, obviously. All this shit came out of his head. He doesn’t tweet, or twitter, or whatever so we can’t ask him endless questions (poor Pablo!). Even then, the answer isn’t so clear. George, in interviews, revised his own story on the evolution of Star Wars. The protagonist kissed his sister for crying out loud. Clearly the story evolved a little as time went on. No fault to him, it was his universe to change as he saw fit and his right to remember the behind-the-scenes facts as he saw fit. Furthermore, he grew as an artist. Thought of a better story. He didn’t really seem to give a damn if he contradicted himself. The other expert, which is really a collective group of many people, are the current iteration of storytellers. The writers, artists, directors and producers working their particular slice of the SW timeline. What they say goes until the next expert moves in to take their turn. The story group has tried to keep these experts in line, but that doesn’t always work.
The point is this: we are dealing with fiction, not facts. For example, Luke Skywalker came from the planet Tatooine, which had twin suns. That is Star Wars fact (though technically he wasn’t born there…). I suppose this is pretty unmalleable, however, every second grader can tell you we don’t argue facts. So consider instead: Luke coming from Tatooine, as his father before him, means they are both the chosen one, or ones. They work in tandem to right the galaxy and bring balance. “Twin suns” of the force if you will. Am I right? Probably not, it is a pretty shitty idea. But how do we know? Do we ask a guy who has memorized the movies? Someone who has all the Luke action figures? Do we check in with a person who has a blog? Or a podcast? Maybe get a fresh perspective and ask a girl who grew up on the Clone Wars? Find someone with all these things on their Star Wars resume? Will they unlock these mysteries for me and set me straight?
Nope. At least not in a authoritative sense. Certainly ANY fan could add clarity or help you shape your opinion. Those with a long and immersive history with the franchise may be able to add more to the discussion and provide a richer dialogue about it than a casual viewer, or not. That is the fun part of fandom after all. No one, on the other hand, can tell you are wrong. If they do, they are just taking themselves or the fiction too seriously. If they judge you, then just fuck them, they’re assholes. Sorry for the harsh language, but I believe there is an expert in all of us.