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Logan Director James Mangold Warns That Fandom Backlash Will Push Talent Out of Genre Films

Logan, looking at all them angry fans.
Logan, looking at all them angry fans.
Image: 20th Century Fox

Fans nowadays are angry. Oh, are they angry. And director James Mangold is worried about the effect it’ll have on the culture industry.

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Taking to Twitter, Mangold (who always has interesting, if not uncontroversial, thoughts on pop culture media) shared his thoughts about the direction fandom has taken in 2018 and what the results of that will be.

In a series of tweets, Mangold outlines his concern that fandom outrage, and the fear of upsetting an eager mob of commenters, Tweeters, YouTubers, and other variations of online fan, will drive smart, creative people out of wanting anything to do with big franchises. He likens it to a religious fervor: say or do the wrong thing, and you might be seen as a blasphemer.

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At io9, we’ve already talked about how fandom can have a detrimental effect on the industry when it gets nasty. Loving something is fine and good, but when it turns into trolling and harassment it does real material harm to the people involved in creating those things. And Mangold is right: people will leave. And people most vulnerable to this sort of treatment, women, and people of color and marginalized folk of all sorts, are going to be the ones who are driven out most quickly and easily.

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It’s refreshing to see a prominent creator point out this fact, which a lot of people in lower rungs in the culture industry are already well aware of. If we want a world of genre fiction that’s diverse, exciting, and relevant, it’s important to oppose and stamp out hateful, harassing behavior. And we need creators like Mangold to help.

[Twitter, via /Film]

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

lightninglouie
lightninglouie

To be fair, it seems to be mainly Star Wars. There have been at least a half-dozen or more disappointing Star Trek movies (conservative estimate), several less-than-great X-Men movies, and a shitload of terrible Bond movies, but I don’t remember any death threats in the aftermath of those films. Almost all of the Alien and Indiana Jones sequels have been mediocre to terrible. The DC movies have also been pretty shitty (pre- and post-DCEU), but I don’t remember anyone suggesting that Bryan Singer should have been murdered for Superman Returns. The Marvel movies go off in all sorts of weird and unorthodox directions and the fans are pretty much on board with that.

Nah, it’s mostly Star Wars. And I’d suggest there’s a good reason for that. For 22 years, there were only three Star Wars movies (no, let’s not count the Holiday Special or the Ewok things), and so the hardcore fans had to make do with their own ideas about what the universe was like. (Sure, there were comics and novels in the ‘90s, but nobody was under any illusions that they were 100% canonical.) And so any official attempts to expand that universe are going to run up against those assumptions, whether it was Lucas’s or Disney’s versions of the saga. Most franchises are immunized against that sort of thing because they’re either constantly undergoing soft or hard reboots (like Star Trek and Batman) or have multiple characters and storylines going on simultaneously, like the MCU. That’s where Mangold was dead-on. Star Wars is basically a religion in a way that other franchises aren’t. And when you add newer testaments to the canon, the true believers are gonna get testy.