Star Wars 9 doesn’t come out for ten more months, but commenters are already review bombing the movie on Rotten Tomatoes. Planned as the final chapter of the current Star Wars trilogy, Episode IX is expected to wrap up the long-running Skywalker saga. How exactly that wrap-up will play out with Luke having died in The Last Jedi, and Carrie Fisher having passed way in real life, is anybody’s guess right now.
After Rian Johnson took the reins for Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams has returned to the director’s chair to put the finishing touches on the current Star Wars trilogy. Abrams of course brought Star Wars into the Disney era with The Force Awakens, setting up the trilogy’s new characters including Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn and Poe Dameron. After the generally well-received Force Awakens, the follow up The Last Jedi was met with a lot of resistance from fans, some of whom got ugly in their personal attacks against director Johnson and cast members like Kelly Marie Tran. Thanks to some Star Wars fans' behavior, a big discussion broke out about toxic fandom and how negativity has come to dominate much of the online discussion about major movie releases.
With Star Wars 9 still months away from hitting theaters, toxic fans are already at it again on the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page, attempting to torpedo the film’s "want to see" rating by posting negative comments. Of course, none of the commenters in question have seen the movie, and Rotten Tomatoes has not as yet calculated an actual audience score. Many of the comments actually focus on lingering negativity over The Last Jedi, which was itself subjected to an organized campaign of Rotten Tomatoes trolling in an effort to hurt its score. Despite the campaign, The Last Jedi still went on to gross $1.3 billion at the global box office.
Such score-manipulating campaigns, often launched via forums like 4chan or through Facebook pages, have become an unfortunate part of the movie going culture in recent years. Already in 2019, trolls have launched an attack on Captain Marvel, which is a natural target for some thanks to its female lead and obvious empowerment themes. Last year, Black Panther was subjected to a similar effort to torpedo its Rotten Tomatoes score, but trolls failed to put a dent in enthusiasm for the movie which went on to gross $1.3 billion at the box office while scoring six Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture.
In the case of Captain Marvel, Rotten Tomatoes has taken the step of removing “toxic” reviews from their commenting pages, and it’s safe to assume similar efforts will be taken to clean up the comment section for Star Wars 9. At the very least, it seems Rotten Tomatoes should make an effort to prevent such comments from being posted at all until the film in question is released. Obviously, it’s impossible to prevent all trolling and still have anything resembling an open forum for people to give their opinions. However, when there’s an obvious effort being made to deliberately torpedo a film’s rating, a site like Rotten Tomatoes is clearly justified in taking steps to block trolls. Ultimately though, such efforts never seem to affect the targeted movies’ box office returns, and it seems highly unlikely that Star Wars 9 will be adversely affected either.
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019