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‘Male Fans Make Star Wars Fandom Toxic,’ Kathleen Kennedy Claims

Kennedy states that women in Star Wars often deal with harsh treatment from male fans.

Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy talked about women’s struggles when joining the Star Wars franchise.

In an interview with The New York Times, she shared that women in Star Wars often deal with personal attacks from a mostly male fanbase. Kennedy said stepping into the Star Wars world is ‘terrifying’ for female filmmakers and actors because of the expectations and negativity they get:

“Operating within these giant franchises now, with social media and the level of expectation – it’s terrifying. I think Leslye has struggled a little bit with it. I think a lot of the women who step into Star Wars struggle with this a bit more. Because of the fan base being so male-dominated, they sometimes get attacked in ways that can be quite personal. My belief is that storytelling does need to be representative of all people. That’s an easy decision for me.”

Kennedy points out that this toxic environment is particularly harsh on actresses like Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran. Ridley played Rey in ‘The Force Awakens’ and faced criticism for her character being labeled a ‘Mary Sue.’ Tran played Rose Tico in ‘The Last Jedi’ and experienced severe online harassment. This caused her character to be sidelined in later films.

‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Agrees With Her

‘The Acolyte’s Leslye Headland echoed Kennedy’s concerns. She said that she understands fans’ frustrations with certain storylines, but any form of hate speech is unacceptable:

“As a fan myself, I know how frustrating some Star Wars storytelling in the past has been. I’ve felt it myself. I stand by my empathy for Star Wars fans. But I want to be clear. Anyone who engages in bigotry, racism, or hate speech … I don’t consider a fan.”

Kennedy and Headland both believe that storytelling should include everyone regardless of gender. They hope that future projects will improve the representation of female characters and provide them with strong, well-developed roles.

‘The Acolyte’ stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, and others. The series follows a Jedi Master and a dangerous warrior as they investigate a crime spree while uncovering dark secrets along the way. Headland aims to explore the Sith’s history before the events of ‘The Phantom Menace.’

‘The Acolyte’ is set to premiere on June 4.

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