Lately I have been thinking a lot about fandom and the area of negativity. With the release of the Star Wars Blu-Rays in September, it has opened up the debate again about Star Wars and peoples feelings on how George Lucas has cared for the franchise. I am a big Star Wars fan, so I will be honest, the negative criticism bothered me. But a positive from this is that it forced me to rethink how I view fandom in general and how I approach it. I guess for me, I have decided, that I am going to hold my own negative comments to myself when I come across different things in fandom I might not enjoy. If there is a TV show or a movie I did not like, unless I have something constructive to add to an argument, I am not going to say anything, as there are people out there who might really be fans of them. It is not my right to bring someone down for enjoying something, feel like I felt when I had to go through the negative criticism for Star Wars, or even going back, all the negativity around Star Trek Enterprise years ago. To me, it is so awesome to be able to go somewhere and celebrate with others the excitement over a piece of work, it helps me appreciate it more, and really get excited about it. I understand nothing is ever perfect, and for some, debating the strengths and weaknesses is where they get their enjoyment, but that is just not for me. I guess it is a fine line, as if it is done in a way that there is a like for the material being debated, then that is cool, but if a person is coming from a point of dislike, then to be honest for me, I really do not want to hear it. Vice Versa, I am not going to inflict my own feelings on others if I did not care for something.
With Star Wars, I find there is so much more to the whole series then just the 6 movies. I get that some people only really care for the Original Trilogy, it might be something they grew up with, but for me, there is so much more. They are sort of the stepping stone to this much bigger and larger universe that I have gotten into. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie of all time, hands down, after that the rest of the movies I am not sure I could rank in any particular order, as I think I like them all as a whole. I guess since I view Star Wars as a larger piece of work then just the first 3 movies, the changes to the movies over the year have not bothered me, as it just brings the universe all together. When people say they don’t care for the EU, or even the prequels, that is fine. They don’t really need it to enjoy the original trilogy. I will buy their argument though that the movies they know have been changed for it, even though to be honest they are really only minor changes. I don’t get how a few seconds here or there can ruin a whole experience of a movie, especially when it is not really changing anything with the plot of the movie. In a sense, for me even though I do not have an issue with the changes to the original movies, I wish George Lucas would re-release a Blu-Ray cut of the Original Movies, more so the quiet all the critics. That way they can have their movies, we don’t have to listen to them anymore, and the rest of the people can go on enjoying the larger universe.
The criticism for the prequels as well baffles me. People go on and on about them, and how much they dislike them. I guess my simple answer to that is, don’t watch them, don’t pay any mind to them. Those stories don’t exist to you, and should not hold you back from enjoying the Original Trilogy. Same goes for the Clone Wars or any other story that has been put out since the Original Trilogy. I am sure when the Phantom Menace comes out in 3D in early 2012, the whole prequel debate/hate will flare up again. I hear friends tell me they don’t get all the extra content in the Star Wars universe, they feel it is to much, just leave it at the movies. Again, my answer is, leave your fandom at the movies, nothing in the rest of the EU is going to change what you see in the movies. Some people just enjoy a movie for what it is, others like to get immersed into something so much larger and more, nothing wrong with either.
I heard similar feelings about Star Trek Enterprise. People railed against it when it originally came out. They said it was an affront to the Original Star Trek series, and was messing with continuity. But I never bought that argument. If a person is just a TOS fan, then what ever happened in Enterprise, had no affect on TOS. Not one TOS episode changed because of Enterprise. If you did not like what was happening in that series, then don’t watch. Star Trek fandom for you ends at TOS, and anything past that, does not change anything with how a person views the original episodes. Like wise for TNG, Voyager or DS9, if a person liked or disliked those series, for the most part they did not affect the other series. If a person dropped Voyager, because they did not like it, nothing in that affected what happened in TNG. A person could end their fandom in Trek where ever they wanted, and what came since would not affect what they already saw.
It always bothered me that people were so vocal with Enterprise, in how it was ruining Trek and should be cancelled. Again why? If they had stopped watching, then the stories did not apply to the Trek they know. They could still come to their own conclusion on why things were in the Trek universe if they did not want to accept what was being done in Enterprise. Kirk was still Krik, Spock was still Spock. Klingons looked the way they did, the missions were still the same missions with the same outcomes. In a sense, sadly the negative people got what they wanted at the time. They said they would rather have no Trek then Enterprise, and that is what they got. Since then there has been no new Trek series, and now we are dealing with a rebooted Universe. I liked the new Star Trek, it was a great movie and looking forward to what is next, but I think my heart will always be in the Trek Prime universe. But I wonder if all those negative people pushing for the end of Enterprise ever imagined we would get what we got after it left. The old adage careful for what you wish for, it might come true. Just sadly for all us folks, who liked Trek, we got pulled along with them. But for me, Trek Prime remains alive in books, and again, a person can either accept them, or they don’t as they do not change anything to date that they have seen.
This was a bit of a rant on my part, but something I was thinking about for awhile. It has forced me to relook at things and how I relate to my own fandom. So for me, if there is something I might not like, but others do, I am just keeping it to myself, they have the right to enjoy what they like to fullest they can. Maybe it goes against the spirit of debate, and even peoples right to express themselves, but at least I know I have not put a cloud over somebody’s fandom.