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The Internet Rallying to Defend a Fan’s Tearful Reaction to The Rise of Skywalker Is What Fandom Is All About

"That's how we're going to win. Not by fighting what we hate. By saving what we love."


Rey readies herself for battle in the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars Celebration was a, well, celebration of fan culture. There were no reports of evil debates or terrible fanboys. Actors who’d been bullied on social media, like Kelly Marie Tran and Ahmed Best, both got standing ovations and the crowds chanting their names. It was a moment of love, not hate, and isn’t that what Star Wars is all about?

Online, the love continued as the Star Wars fandom and other geeks rallied to the defense of Eric Butts, a YouTuber whose emotional response to the teaser for The Rise of Skywalker went viral.

Butts uploaded a ten-minute reaction video to the teaser trailer in which he gets visibly emotional. Conservatives on internet posted an excerpt of it and said that Butts had deleted his work, and the next day, conservative influencer Ashley St. Clair posted the video to her Twitter to mock Butts and call men like him “undateable.”

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. The Internet saw the reaction to Butts’s original video and took a stand with him, saying that having an emotional reaction wasn’t uncool or a sign of weakness, but rather a joyful expression of love for the franchise and being a nerd.

As fans flocked to Butts’s defense, another took a stand with them: Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.

The writer of Rogue One also chimed in with support.

It hurts that a guy was so mocked for expressing an emotional response to something, but it’s heartening to see such a response in his defense. Men shouldn’t feel like being openly emotional will lead to mockery; this is how we get a culture of toxic masculinity. Similarly, geek culture is so mainstream now that we shouldn’t be mocking people for being excited over franchise properties that rake in all of the money and have conventions dedicated to their existence.

Still, it’s nice to see the power of Celebration continue online even after the con is over. These are the stories we should see, rather than the negativity. Hopefully, The Rise of Skywalker, whatever that means, will also see a rise in positivity in fandom after a controversial stretch of time. The Force is strong with this community, and I hope that this guy has a good day knowing that the power of fandom is on his side.

(image: Lucasfilm)

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