Updated, May 6
The announcement of the cast of the new Star Wars sequel has unleashed some pent-up backlash. Much of this backlash has been focused on the fact that the cast appears to include only one new female role, which has, in turn, reminded folks of how rotten the original series' gender representation was (see here, here, or my own take here.)
But Star Wars hate hasn't just been limited to the role of women in the series. Lewis Beale, for example, took the cast announcement as an opportunity to declare the franchise to be "the worst thing ever for the science fiction genre." He adds, "Star Wars has corrupted people's notion of a literary genre full of ideas, turning it into a Saturday afternoon serial." Beale's horror echoes Jonathan Rosenbaum's semi-infamous loathing of what Star Wars had done to film: "The success of this movie convinced studio heads that movies should be made to sell merchandise … that antisocial ten-year-old boys are the viewers to target, and that anyone who thinks otherwise about movies can take a hike." Rosenbaum concluded by wishing that every print of the film could be destroyed.
Having just rewatched the original trilogy, I can sympathize with Beale, Rosenbaum, and any and all of the series' other critics. The leads just can’t act: Mark Hamill has to be the whiniest hero ever to stand in front of a camera, while Harrison Ford manages to come off as the most charming performer in the small-town high school drama club. The script’s New Age balderdash is laughable, and the plot holes barely leave room for the plot (you can blow the Death Star apart with a single shot? Really?). This amateurish, stumbling piece of brain-dead mediocrity launched a cross-platform media juggernaut? How did that happen?