Rian Johnson is rallying against an army of trolls who have targeted actress Kelly Marie Tran on social media, and he is not alone. The director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the latest of Tran's co-workers to come to the beleaguered actress' defense.
Tran recently left Instagram, due to the continual harassment of people who hated her character in the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise. She played the role of Rose Tico - a mechanic and member of The Resistance, who joined with Finn on an urgent mission to locate a master code-breaker, in order to shut down The First Order's tracking device. Many derided the character of Rose, reportedly due to her naivety and her thwarting Finn's efforts to heroically sacrifice himself during The Battle of Crait.
Rian Johnson commented on the controversy on his Twitter account. His comments can be viewed below. While first asserting that the trolls were a vocal minority and that the true Star Wars fans were capable of disliking things without descending into personal attacks, Johnson was quick to fight back when the trolls targeted him, noting that there was a considerable difference "between not liking a movie and hatefully harassing a woman so bad that she has to get off social media."
Johnson is not alone in his defense of Tran. Joonas Suotamo, the Finnish actor and former basketball player who took over the role of Chewbacca from Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also criticized the trolls' actions on his Twitter account. Showcasing the earthy wisdom of his character, Suotamo urged his followers to "choose not to be a part of the divisive and hateful discourse that permeates our culture today."
This is not the first time that a small but vocal group of people on-line forced a Star Wars star off of social media. Actress Daisy Ridley, who played the role of Rey in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, deleted her Instagram account in 2017 after continued harassment regarding her physical appearance following Ridley's attending a tribute to the victims of the Pulse massacre. Curiously, despite the claims of these trolls that they are not racist or sexist, their attacks have been almost exclusively reserved for racial minority actors and actresses.
Regardless of the reasons why these trolls dislike Star Wars: The Last Jedi, these attacks are petty, childish and totally contrary to the spirit of the Star Wars franchise they claim to hold in such high esteem. Clearly the films' lessons in not giving in to hatred and anger were completely lost upon them. These keyboard warriors would do well to rewatch The Empire Strikes Back and remember the wisdom of Yoda - "wars not make one great."
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019