What is Captain Marvel doing on the front page of Jedi Temple Archives, you may ask. The reason is simple: the success of Captain Marvel is probably very good news for Disney and their Star Wars franchise. Which is why we may want to discuss how that is so. So click through for some thoughts about the fandom… and bubbles.
Captain Marvel made more than $150 million domestic on opening weekend and something like $455 million worldwide, which is more than The Last Jedi made on opening weekend back in 2017.
And I believe this is important news for Disney, for Star Wars and especially for the hardcore fanbase. And most likely very good news, when you are Disney. How so?
As you may have noticed (ok, I am kidding) Captain Marvel is somewhat of a controversial movie, in the same sense that The Last Jedi was controversial, however, in this case all the controversies started months before the movie was even released.
And I observed one thing: basically the same people who absolutely dislike The Last Jedi and much of Disney Star Wars in general also seem to dislike Captain Marvel, a lot. And much like with The Last Jedi, some of the more high profile social influencers, YouTube channels, for example, said that the movie has a political agenda and that social justice is now invading the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is basically what they have been saying about Disney Star Wars all this time.
But this editorial is NOT about any of that. It doesn’t matter whether or not Captain Marvel has an agenda, whether or not Brie Larson delivers a great performance as Carol Danvers. Or if The Last Jedi had an agenda. What does matter is a very different thing: how general audiences feel, general audiences outside the social media bubble, outside of fan websites, outside of YouTube channels. And I believe Captain Marvel shows one thing: the hardcore fandom takes itself much too seriously and believes it has much more influence on things than it actually has. Because most people, the general moviegoer, neither watches the n-th video about how terrible Captain Marvel or The Last Jedi is, nor does the general moviegoer read fan websites that post long articles like I often write them.
Captain Marvel, in my opinion, is a friendly reminder that the fandom, the hardcore fandom especially, needs a reality check. On both sides. By that I mean the “progressive” left leaning fans and websites as well as the more conservative “oldschool” fans and websites. All this infighting, the bickering and all the accusations of being a bigoted, racist, misogynist women hating basement dweller or a man-hating, blue-haired social justice harpy that wants to suck all fun out of everything apparently have little to no effect on actual box office.
When movies like Ghostbusters 2016 or Solo fail then not because of political agendas or women-hating trolls, but because general audiences just had no interest in seeing them. Ghostbusters was a remake no one needed and Solo was a Star Wars movie literally almost no one asked for either. Neither movie failed because of IMDB forists or YouTube channels.
We all need to realize that the discussions we have about social justice this, agenda that and toxic anything (not forgetting Russian bots) is taking place in a rather small bubble it seems. The bubble including the very fringes of fandom that bicker about things endlessly and forget there’s a vast universe outside the bubble, where everyone else lives and who couldn’t be bothered less by any of this. They simply don’t care. They just want to go watch a movie and have a good time, munch some popcorn and forget about real life for two hours.
So why is all that good for Episode IX? Well, Episode IX is the culmination of everything Star Wars, the conclusion (seemingly) to the Skywalker saga. What once began with two droids walking/rolling through the corridors of Tantive IV will come to an end this December. And rest assured, the (hardcore) fandom will keep re-iterating the same things all the way through. How Disney Star Wars has an agenda, how Disney is ruining everything, or how fans who are critical are either alt-right or racists – while the vast majority simply doesn’t care about any of this.
And that most likely means one thing: all the “fandom menaces” out there will have little to no effect on box office success. Episode IX will be a box office hit, it’s almost guaranteed. While Solo was a movie that general audiences didn’t really care about all that much (in a way Solo is the Ant-Man of the MCU, a movie with a moderate box office, and Solo only was a financial flop because of the expensive reshoots), they will most certainly have much interest in seeing how Star Wars “ends”, i.e. how the Skywalker saga finishes.
One more thing: all the parties involved in these endless fandom discussions should realize that the average moviegoer out there is neither a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, a misandrist, afraid of women, hating men, a Russian bot or even remotely interested in any of the discussions. They just want to see a movie and be entertained. None of the movies we talk about here are Schindler’s List or American History X either, they are big budget blockbuster movies, designed to entertain the masses. And their success entirely depends on how the average person out there feels inclined to go see it, and does not depend one bit on what hardcore fans all across the spectrum debate about.
I think it’s only wise to be reminded every now and then that the very things we deem so important and care about can be very, very niche. Be it movies, be it action figure collecting. While more general fans outside of our bubble see things very differently.
Now, does that mean we should not discuss movies or action figures and be critical and obsess over small details very few other people care about? Not at all. This is why we are hardcore fans, we obsess over these things. And it can be lots of fun to discuss these small things no one else will ever notice or even care about.
But when we do that we should not forget that the things we talk about are niche. That we are the very fringe of fandom and that what we consider the most important things in the universe are of little meaning to most other, more general fans. And finally: we should all relax a bit more. In the end it’s all just entertainment, meant to please the masses, meant to get people to buy toys.
Do you agree with my assessment? Do you think I couldn’t be more wrong? Well, leave your comment and tell us how you feel and what you think! But remember, keep it polite! Or else Captain Marvel may come knock on your door, and remember, she’s all out of bubble gum!
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