Salty Star Wars fans protest by raising money for charity

Reviews and reactions to STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER are already starting to trickle in and the results seemed mixed at best. It’s unlikely that these reactions will affect the box office however, as I’m sure THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is destined to crack a $1 billion worldwide. While many fans of the space opera will be flocking to theaters this weekend (myself included) a certain contingent of the STAR WARS fanbase will not.

Now if you’ve spent any amount of time on the Internet over the last two years, you may have noticed there’s the tiniest bit of debate as to the merits of THE LAST JEDI. To say the film was divisive among fans is like saying there’s a lot of metal involved in the construction of the Death Star. Detractors of the film were upset by THE LAST JEDI’s portrayal of Luke, the seeming pointlessness of Canto Bight, Force Skyping, a story that had a plot point revolve around fuel, and a myriad of other things. Well some fans have decided to channel that anger not into Sith lightning but in giving back to charity organizations.

The Reddit page “Saltier Than Crait” (in reference to the salt planet shown in THE LAST JEDI) began as a place to bash Rian Johnson‘s THE LAST JEDI. However, the page morphed into a place where STAR WARS fans who were upset about the choices Disney has made can discuss issues through, “intelligent respectful discourse.” The site feels that, “The Disney Trilogy has caused a fair bit of ire within the fandom – many dedicated lifelong fans have felt that Disney has [eschewed] the fundamental [tenants] and characters which have made this series so beloved. And worse, the company’s attitude and actions towards upset fans has been deplorable at times, furthering the dissonance between corporate decision makers and fandom.” Now before you start yelling that these are just entitled fans who are upset that the movies didn’t match their own head canon, read on.

In a move referred to as #SaltToGold, the group is encouraging people not to give their money to Disney but instead to donate it to charity. They feel this represents “all the positive things Star Wars fans have been known for throughout the years – kindness, compassion, and good will.” For the entire month of December, the group is supporting NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) in honor of the late Carrie Fisher, who suffered from bi-polar disorder. From someone who’s struggled with mental illness for over two decades, I applaud this decision. It’s nice to see a group not be content with simply bitching on the Internet, but rather to be a force for good in the world.

When it comes to THE LAST JEDI and the Disney STAR WARS films in general, I feel like the vocal minority gets too much play. The “fans” who revel in talking about how Disney are a bunch of SJW crazies pushing a feminist agenda and forced diversity really need to take a long look in the mirror. On the other hand there are critics of THE LAST JEDI who have legitimate, thoughtful, and insightful concerns. Lumping the latter in with the former is not only disingenuous, it’s intellectually dishonest. Doing so only fractures the fandom even more and I for one don’t want to be a party to it anymore. Even if you love THE LAST JEDI and the Disney STAR WARS films, we all should be championing movements like #SaltToGold.

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER starring Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Richard Grant, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, and Dominic Monaghan drops out of hyperspeed and into your theaters December 20.

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