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Michael Sheen Remains Our Hero as He Defends the Fanfiction Community on Twitter

He might be an actual angel.

Aziraphale and Crowley in Good Omens

As you might’ve already noticed, we’re kind of obsessed with Michael Sheen, one of the stars of Good Omens. He’s funny, he’s charming, he cares deeply about people, and he even read Good Omens fanfic to prep for his role. Yesterday, his response to a tweet about fanfiction made us love him even more, which we did not think was possible.

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First off, I don’t know where the person came up with the idea that the fanfiction community was comprised of twelve-year-olds, but folks of all ages are writing fanfic. Twelve-year-olds, eighteen-year-olds, twenty-seven-year-olds, seventy-year-olds … there are fanfic writers of every age out there. There are kids just starting out, and there are teenagers making waves in high school and college, and there are also best-selling authors writing under pseudonyms, and professionals of all stripes. The concentration of people with Masters and PhDs in fandom is overwhelming.

But by writing off the community as a bunch of twelve-year-olds, not only is the original tweeter dismissing an important part of the community (those kids just starting out), but they’re also implying that the interests of younger people, especially young girls, are silly and frivolous. That’s just being a jerk, plain and simple.

There’s also the fact that fanfiction, as we know it today, was mostly created by women. Yes, the Star Trek fandom with their zines created the concept of modern fanfiction, and the women who wrote it back then were housewives and women in their twenties and thirties. Fanfiction is a community that’s large and inclusive and with history. It’s not something frivolous. It’s something that matters to a great many people.

From in-depth character studies to the fluffiest of alternate universe fics, fanfiction is more than just “wanting two characters to hook up.” It’s a way of engaging with the text on a creative level, of making it your own in a new way. It’s a modern mythmaking tactic, where we reshape the stories we’ve been told and re-tell them in a new fashion. It’s a powerful writing exercise, and fun to read and create.

While actors are definitely more down with fanfiction than they were at the start of the social media era, when the lines between creators and fans got thinner, it’s rare to see an actor like Sheen not only say he’s read it and drew inspiration from it in the past, but to defend it so passionately in the present. I’m hard-pressed to find a celebrity who describes the community so well.

“Positive and beautiful and connective” are gorgeous ways to talk about the fanfiction community, and they come from a place of respect. He’s not pandering, he’s being genuine.

I’m moved by Sheen’s passionate defense; I’ve never expected to hear an actor defend fandom quite so, to use a word of his, unapologetically. While fanfiction can have its own problems, like anything else out there, it is a vital resource and outlet for many people. So for Sheen to take a strong stance in defense of our creativity means a lot to those who love Good Omens and his character.

We have chosen a worthy Fandom Boyfriend, and we love him for it.

(image: Amazon Prime Video)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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