Marvel and one other publisher has fired Chuck Wendig from future Star Wars projects. That’s right. They fired the guy that gave us some steps towards representative Star Wars. They have let the author go for essentially being an “SJW.” This cowardice from Marvel is so disappointing and I’m interested in learning what the book was he was let go from. The powers that be in this instance let us down. They have have instead championed heteronormativity in Star Wars and decided to make the universe more signal minded. They want authors without a point of view. There’s no nicer way of putting this. Star Wars is in trouble.
Star Wars in print often times struggles to remain relevant or interesting and removing Wendig show a move towards a direction that is shallow and boring. Love or hate Wendig’s style, the author brought interesting content even if it wasn’t for you. Wendig made people talk and discuss what was happpening on the page. I personally think the Aftermath Trilogy is rather brilliant, but the timing of the release and the lack of connectivity to the audience’s focus on the sequel trilogy didn’t do it any favors. Chuck wasn’t let go because of some stylistic choice you could criticize him for. He was let go because crybabies cried and they flinched. They have no backbone and we’re going to see that ripple reflected in printed Star Wars titles in the future.
In a Twitter thread Wendig cumulatively wrote:
So, here’s a thing that has happened – I just got fired from Marvel. Taken off issues 4 and 5 of SHADOW OF VADER, and taken off an as-yet-unannounced SW book. (I hesitate to talk about this, because honestly, it gives the Worst Possible People a win, something they’ve wanted for a while. But I also feel like I’ve long held to honesty and forthrightness, and I don’t feel like lying when people realize I’m not on these books anymore.)
To rewind a little bit, when SW: AFTERMATH came out, I assume most know but maybe you don’t, I put some ahh, elements in there (LGBT characters) that were not received well by a certain subset of fandom. That resulted in both a negative review campaign, found across various FB groups and other Worst Places on the Internet, that began mounting the very minute the book dropped online. I was literally at a midnight release of the book, and when I got done, there were already a pile of one-star reviews piling up – which seemed strange, obviously. And scary, too. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. And as a caveat, obviously I recognize that yes, some people just don’t like the book for the Usual Reasons, and people who hold those reasons are not to be lumped in with the more septic side of fandom. Tl;dr see also TLJ reviews.)
I also started receiving TONS of harassment – harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal. I didn’t call a lot of it out or even highlight, but it was there, a sort of… constant background noise. (Christ, for an extra special treat go search for my name and check out the YouTube videos if you want an eye-opening glimpse.) And I was worried of course because, jeez, I thought I had screwed up. I wondered for a time if the book was bad. But then it hit list and stayed on list for four weeks – and the next two books hit list, too, and EMPIRE’S END landed even higher on the list than the first book.
And privately, I was told by folks inside LFL that there was no worry here, that they valued that I spoke out both speaking up for myself and for STAR WARS, which has always honestly been a progressive brand and company.And it made me very proud to work for them, too, not just because — holy hell, basking in the glow of STAR WARS, but because the people were great, and they totally got it.
Chuck gave us interesting characters like Sinjir Rath Velus, a great character that stands on his own and is a gay man. Wendig made Star Wars a little more real for so many people there and in the process he gave us characters people could identify with. He gave a lot of gay Star Wars fans the nod that said “you exist here” and told them they were part of the dream that we all love that is Star Wars. Overall, mainstream properties like Star Wars have a sad lack of representation and I know Lucasfilm tries and I know they care. Wendig gave us characters that are not unlike the friends we have in our real lives.
Today, Disney removed one of the only people writing in Star Wars that created stories with characters in them that told people white hetero males are not the default. I think its funny because Disney itself has a makeup not unlike the people that Chuck wrote about. And as for Chuck’s politics, in my experiences with people in that corporation his “agenda” was that of their own. T
Today they’ve cowered. The powers that be decided to take the path of the least resistance. I don’t know if people who do that should be allowed to make a show called Resistance or feature Resistance fighters. Today they sent a message, don’t practice what you preach. Love or hate Wendig’s style, he practices what he preaches and that’s commendable.
If this is the new climate for Star Wars publications, I’m out. I won’t buy their books and their comics anymore. The people that complained about Wendig were angry the Expanded Universe was canceled, removed from canon and made into Star Wars “Legends.” Chuck was just in the line of fire there. The other crowd hates anything that isn’t about straight white males having adventures next to weakly depicted women characters with “big tits”. In other words, YOU NEVER HAD THOSE PEOPLE AND YOU NEVER WILL.
They catered to a group outside of their audience, outside of us. They’ve made a grave mistake. Yeah, they lost control of the PR game on those fronts but that’s their fault. They don’t play ball with discourse makers and coasted on the IP’s name thinking they were successful. It was never their plan that made this work. It was the name Star Wars. That’s a problem all too common in Star Wars today.
As a Star Wars fan I want authors with something to say. I want my fantasy and my science fiction to mean something and have a purpose. Instead with the firing of Wendig, they’ve acted like flacid meek cowards because some algorithm gaming loser whined on YouTube. If they think that’s bad, wait until their actual audience turns of them. Today was a real step in that direction.
Star Wars fans can’t accept this. This is unacceptable. Let them know. There’s more of us that want the kind of Star Wars that Chuck was giving us than those that don’t. Yeah, those people are losers with the time to use bots and write fake reviews all day because they’re pathetic. But let Disney know this is unacceptable.
Contact Marvel here and let them know this isn’t right:
And most of all do what Chuck says and vote. Young people aren’t turning out in great enough numbers. Don’t let the baby boomers decide your future.
Register to vote. Vote for the best interests of your community. Please.
P.S. Vote in November like your life depends on it. Because it just might.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018