As a self-proclaimed lover of geek culture who has since transitioned to global fame as an actor with roles in some of the biggest movie franchises of all time, Simon Pegg is in the rare position of having been on both sides of fandom. And in a recent interview on SiriusXM, he called out one community of fans in particular whose behaviour needs to change: people who purport to love Star Wars, but then seem to hate everything about it.
Pegg, who voiced the alien junk boss Unkar Plutt in 2015's The Force Awakens, recalled how he used to be a part of the problem, even including extended jokes about The Phantom Menace in Spaced, the early 2000s comedy series which helped to launch his career.
"To be honest, and as someone who kicked off about the prequels when they came out, the Star Wars fanbase really seems to be the most kind of toxic at the moment," he said. "I mean, I'm out of it now... I've apologised for the things I've said about Jar Jar Binks, because of course there was a fucking actor involved there, and he was getting a lot of flak, and it wasn't a camp rabbit, it was a human being. And because it got a lot of hate, he suffered, and I feel terrible about being part of that."
"I've found that Star Trek fans have always been very, very inclusive," he continued, referring to his experience of playing Scotty in the big-screen reboot of the franchise. "Star Trek is about diversity, it has been since 1966, it always was, there's no 'oh you're so woke now,' Star Trek was woke from the beginning... Star Wars, suddenly there's a little bit more diversity and everyone's kicking off about it, and it's really sad."
— SiriusXM (@SIRIUSXM) July 20, 2022
While he didn't mention any specific actors or characters by name, it is likely that Pegg was referring to the harassment that John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran received after joining the franchise as Finn and Rose Tico in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi respectively. More recently, with growing awareness of some of the problems in its fandom, the Star Wars social media team preemptively discouraged any hate of actress Moses Ingram, who had a breakout role as Third Sister Reva in the Obi-Wan Kenobi prequel series, tweeting: "We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and excited for Reva’s story to unfold. If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist."
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